The highlighted portions of this map show some of the 69,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn paper company land the state of New York will be purchasing from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy. The sale was announced in August 2012 and will be handled in phases over several years.
In late December, New York state closed on the purchase of about 18,000 acres of land previously owned by the Finch, Pruyn paper company, which includes the Essex Chain of Lakes parcel, located in the towns of Minerva and Newcomb, according to Minerva Town Supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey.
The purchase — using the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy as the middle man — is the first in a multi-year acquisition of 69,000 acres throughout the Adirondack Park, including OK Slip Falls and the Boreas Ponds. They will al become part of the state Forest Preserve.
The next step in the process will be the classification of the parcel. After that, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will be deciding how to utilize this land under the Unit Management Plan, according to Corey. The Minerva Town Board has already met with representatives from the DEC to share their ideas of how this land could be used to benefit the town, local residents and tourism. After the classification process, the town expects to have further opportunities to work with the DEC on this issue.
Verizon cell tower permit
Supervisor Corey recently told the Minerva Town Board that Verizon had asked to postpone a meeting with the Planning Board in January until they answer some additional follow-up questions the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) had about the company’s cell tower application.
Once the application is accepted, Verizon will follow up with the Planning Board. Corey said it is typical for the APA to have some additional questions for applicants. Corey has been in communication with the attorney for Verizon and will keep the town updated on the application process. She said that she, the Town Board, and the Planning Board, have been working diligently to support and facilitate the cell tower project since its inception. The proposed site is behind Sporty’s Iron Duke Saloon on Route 28N.
“The tower will provide coverage for the whole town of Minerva and the portion of Route 28 North that runs through it,” Corey said.
Verizon’s APA application and the service coverage map are available for public viewing at the Town Hall.
Block grants for residences
The town received a $400,000 to repair residences for income-eligible households. The monies were provided by the New York State Community Block Grant. Corey noted that the Housing Assistance Program of Essex County was helpful in securing the grant.
“At the time that we submitted the grant application, we listed 30 income-eligible homes, and we will now be working with those households to re-verify their information and home repair needs,” Corey said.
There will be a public meeting to discuss the details of the grant opportunity.
Discontinuation of cable service
The discontinuation of cable service on Dec. 31 by Chain Lakes Cable was discussed during the Town Board’s Jan. 3 organizational meeting. Chain Lakes cable had provided cable service to Minerva and surrounding areas.
Supervisor Corey said she has been in touch with the FCC to find out what rights the Town has in the given circumstances. A major concern is that the infrastructure be maintained and secured to ensure public safety — a common practice when dealing with utilities. In addition, Corey had been looking into the possibility that Time Warner Cable might take over as a service provider. However, they made it clear that they are not interested in taking over. As of right now, Corey noted that best option for residents would be either Direct TV or Dish.
“I wish we were able to take over ourselves, but given the budget and the tax cap we are simply unable to take on a major piece of infrastructure like this,” Corey said.