Input has been requested to make comments and submit documents from the public regarding annexing American Management Association(A.M.A.) in the village of Saranac Lake. This is my input.
I am neither for or against, but I am in favor of presenting the truth on the matter. I feel that some information printed in the local news media for the past two years is not entirely accurate.
I strongly support A.M.A. I was a graduate of their first class. Have cured tuberculosis, lived near and been associated with The Trudeau Center for 60 years. We really like and appreciate this fine institution which has been operating successfully. Why fix something which is not broken? Savings afforded A.M.A. sound good, but we fall on the back of already over burdened local taxpayers.
Currently the village of Saranac, Town of Harrietstown and Town of St. Armand do not provide basic services to millions of dollars worth of real estate which is already approved, built, and being taxed in the village.
I predict that the village will have serious legal problems to annex the 65 acres of A.M.A. land, and accept the dedication of the roads and streets which services this property. I say that because of what Clyde Rabideau told me in a letter dated Jan. 27, 2012, when I asked the village (and town) to accept streets, in fully approved, developed, heavily taxed sub divisions with upscale homes, which receives virtually no services from the village or the towns.
The dilemma of what to do with the 65 acres and 70 buildings on the Trudeau Property is not new. A research document about the Rev. Samuel Smith Family by James and Patricia Richards commencing in 1804 outlines in detail the various acquisitions from the Smith farm, now the home of Tom and Mary Hyde. It is a slice of early Adirondack history of the Saranac Lakes area. The first acquisition was 16 acres to the Paul Smith Guides for Dr. Trudeau’s Adirondack Cottage Sanatorium, now the A.M.A. property. My interest commenced about 60 years ago as an officer in the newly reorganized Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce, by the Lions Club, when we tried to establish a college there, and peaked in 2004 when a vice president of A.M.A. requested my opinions to right size their Saranac Lake plant. I made an extensive study and prepared a 70-page book of information about the A.M.A. complex. A copy has been made part of the annexing record, and furnished to the village, library, Enterprise and other places. This study is a must read for all people involved in making a decision on the annexation.
I also have heavy legal reading from the Internet, some against village interests, and some incomplete. Agreement, 21 pages — Easement, 23 pages — A.M.A. Way cost, 10 pages — Other, 23 pages and much more.
On April 11, 2013 an Enterprise headline by Mike Lynch reads: “A.M.A. annex gets final approval 3-0.” I do not think that was a final approval. This is only one small step in a very long process to conform to Article 174-46 and 47 of the village code. The process must meet the same requirements of Bruce Sapiro in his One Dewey Mountain village development off Lake Street, which were very long and very expensive. See pictures and pages 18, 37, 38, 39 and 40 of my 70 page book.
Also the village must meet the same requirements that Robert Scheefer did for his Hawk Ridge (Dewey Mountain) development near Glenwood, which included a stop work order, a cease and desist order, plus years of hard work at great cost. See pages 19, 20, 41, 42, 43 with pictures in my 70 pages book.
The annexing process may take years, and may end up a failure as is happening to the Adirondack Club and Resort in Tupper Lake.
Further, A.M.A. has enjoyed complete control, peace and reduced traffic for many years. When the gates and their streets are open to the public, there will be greatly increased traffic, cars and trucks, some at high speed, on their way to the ski hill, Malone, Bloomingdale and Plattsburgh. A.M.A. will be a much different place. No such thing that the HUD process will solve these problems, especially after the mayor moves on. If the village tries to bypass its own law and approval process, they can expect long expensive lawsuits. The Tupper Lake Adirondack Club and Resort has millions invested and after 8 years is not even close to construction. Who will carry this on after Clyde is gone?
Some of my qualifications to make these statements are: I am 94 years old, still working long hours. Came to the area fresh out of high school in 1937 from Chateaugay to help build a new highway through a wilderness to Tupper Lake. Lived on Park Avenue with the same lady, same address, almost in sight of the A.M.A. property for 63 years. Have created and developed millions of dollars worth of new homes and tax base in four towns, two counties and the village. Worked three, six-year terms, past chairman of the board and building committee that built North Country College. With a partner developed and virtually gave a 100-acre site for the new high school, now worth millions of dollars. Funded and ran a successful furniture business for 40 years. Chaired Chamber of Commerce Committee which developed River Street view park. Had 50 projects, large and small. No failures. Not a recent arrival. Graduate from college Magna Cum Laude at age 65. My accomplishments are legion. I have earned the right to speak up for over 75 years.
By Francis Casier, Saranac Lake