Computer-generated animation of the Jennings Pond Park in Long Lake
Five Adirondack hamlets — including three in Hamilton County — were chosen to adopt smart growth concepts as part of the state-funded Hamlets 3 project, and residents are invited to explore these community development ideas and offer their suggestions during a set of workshops Sept. 26-28.
The three hamlets in Hamilton County are Indian Lake, Blue Mountain Lake and Long Lake. One is from Fulton County — Caroga Lake. And one — Au Sable Forks — straddles two counties, Clinton and Essex.
The workshops will be led by Roger Trancik, of Urban Design Consultants in Ithaca. He is a professor emeritus of landscape architecture and city and regional planning at Cornell University and the developer of the Hamlets 3 project.
“The whole idea is to plant these ideas,” Trancik said. “We’ve had workshops previous to identify the sites, and now we’re coming back with design proposals that we want the community to evaluate.”
During the workshops — designed for interested citizens, planning boards, and public officials — Trancik will have a worksheet and breakout groups where people can sketch out their own ideas based on some of the concepts, and evaluate alternatives.
The workshop dates are listed below.
•Caroga, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26, Caroga Town Hall
•Au Sable Forks, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26, Jay Town Offices
•Indian Lake, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., Friday, Sept. 27, Indian Lake Town Hall
•Blue Mountain Lake, 3-6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 27, Adirondack Museum
•Long Lake, 9 a.m. - noon, Saturday, Sept. 28, Long Lake Central School
This is the second phase of the Hamlets 3 project: selecting five hamlets in the Adirondack Park to conduct a series of workshops to try to generate some projects based on the model of smart growth principles outlined in the Hamlets 3 book published in December 2010. The book, “Hamlets 3: Planning for Smart Growth and Expansion of Hamlets in the Adirondack Park,” written by Trancik, was the first phase of the project. It built upon two studies from the 1980s: Hamlets of the Adirondacks 1 and 2.
“In other words, we’re trying to put the book into action,” Trancik said. “The upcoming workshops are the final series of workshops in those hamlets.”
With the help of community leaders, Trancik has identified specific sites in each of the five hamlets to develop a project based on the principles and the planning model they developed in the first phase.
“Each hamlet has a very different set of problems and conditions, and we’re trying to illustrate that,” Trancik said. “You know these principles can apply in a lot of different contexts given the regulatory environment in the Adirondack Park. There are a lot of possibilities for sound, sustainable economic investment and good planning and design that can help these communities in the future.”
The overall goal of the second phase is to “revitalize and empower Adirondack hamlets through direct training and example.”
In Caroga Lake, an illustration of the Hamlets 3 proposal show a view of central green space toward the historic carousel, lakefront and reused dance hall. A proposed hotel is to the right of the carousel.
In Indian Lake, the Hamlets 3 proposal includes extending the ‘T’ intersection of State Routes 28 and 30 into a crossroads and channeling growth northward toward Adirondack Lake.
“This design creates an attractive greenway or boulevard leading to new housing development and a new Adirondack Lake public beach,” states the proposal. “This design opens future opportunities for more growth along the new corridor while still concentrating the highest density at the hamlet core.”
The main goal in Indian Lake is to create an improvement district in the hamlet center.
“Indian Lake has this problem of vacancies at the intersection,” Trancik said. “So we’re trying to show, by redoing the infrastructure and extending the infrastructure in a way that could generate new development sites for residential, how that, along with commercial revitalization, in these vacant buildings.”
Blue Mountain Lake
In Blue Mountain Lake, Hamlets 3 proposes building a new hotel on Adirondack Museum property, across the highway from the museum.
“We’ve got a couple alternatives for this new sort of cultural/recreational hotel development,” Trancik said, adding that the museum includes a lot of property beyond the museum campus. “So we’re showing how trail systems can be connected to wilderness lakes, and they want to put a boat livery on Middle Pond. There are a lot of different ideas that fall under this.”
The hotel concept is not a museum project, according to Adirondack Museum spokesman Todd Happer. However, the museum could provide assistance in making land available and designing uniquely Adirondack features, such as exhibits and programs for hotel guests that interpret the region’s history.
In Long Lake, the Hamlets 3 proposal shows a rendering depicting the proposed Jennings Pond Park. The plan proposes a nodal system of traditional Adirondack-style gazebo-decks at the water’s edge linked by a nature trail. The nodes provide resting areas, fishing spots, educational plaques and small boat docking.
“We’ve developed a scheme for increasing the variety and level of activities in the open spaces,” Trancik said. “It’s a circular trail system, what we’re proposing, and small boat access.”
Au Sable Forks
“Au Sable Forks has got a very special problem,” Trancik said. “Hurricane Irene wiped out a huge part of that hamlet, so we’re showing how they can expand very close to the hamlet, still within walking distance or a short drive, on to higher ground.”
The project in Au Sable Forks will show a new residential cluster or what they call a “pocket neighborhood” development above the flood plain.
The Rolling Hill Mill Road site offers a variety of housing types enabling diverse income levels and multi-generational living arrangements, according to the plan.
“With ample common space, a site for a community garden, and some housing units in clusters or ‘pocket neighborhoods,’ the site arrangement engenders an open sense of community while preserving privacy,” the plan states. “The site also features walking trails connecting with nature as well as other areas of the hamlet.”
“What’s happened in these hamlets is they’ve all gone through this transformation from an extraction resource-based industry that has provided economic life for these places — paper industry, timber, metals, tanneries and so on — to a seasonal economy, from a year-round to a seasonal economy,” Trancik said. “Many of these (hamlets) are trying to extend the season so there’s more economic activity for a longer period of time.”
Developing smart growth around existing hamlet centers has two major benefits:
- It enables the community to integrate land suitable for development into the fabric of the existing hamlet.
- It complements the protection of open space by discouraging visually unappealing and inefficient sprawl and strip development.
“Hamlet communities should both meet basic resident needs and provide a focal point for culture, recreation, public amenities and businesses providing goods, services and employment,” states the project literature. “Hamlets 3 provides a process to revitalize hamlets through inward growth into under-utilized sites and responsible outward expansion.”
Smart growth principles include: form and place; boundaries; walkability and human-scale; access to nature; compact centers; energy and sustainability; jobs and housing; travel choices; visual quality; resource preservation; and collective decision-making.
Trancik and Urban Design Consultants studied more than 125 Adirondack hamlets in the 1980s, which produced two widely circulated, award-winning publications. Hamlets 1 described the Adirondack Park’s centers of population, services, and commerce, as well as their needs for revitalization and investment. Hamlets 2 outlined strategies for hamlet revitalization using examples of successful projects within the Adirondacks.
Hamlets 3 received funds from the Smart Growth Initiative of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Results from these workshops are expected to be available online. Later in November, representatives from the hamlets will be invited to an implementation symposium at the Adirondack Park Agency offices in Ray Brook to exchange ideas and support for moving forward.
For more information about Hamlet 3, visit online at www.apa.ny.gov/Documents/Reports/Hamlets/index.html.