Saranac Lake is looking good

The Saranac Lake area represents the best of the Adirondacks and is one of the most special places in the world, thanks to our lakes and thousands of acres of “forever wild” forests and mountains surrounding us. At the heart of it all lies the village of Saranac Lake. There is no place like Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks. All of us in the Saranac Lake area, permanent residents and “lake folks,” have a role in Saranac Lake’s future.

We have a downtown filled with family-owned businesses, a community store, great restaurants, a carousel and a vibrant arts community. Saranac Lake is still a place where our children and grandchildren can walk around on their own safely, and where store owners know customers by name. Our village is unique in the Adirondacks, and most of America, for having a strong, local downtown, and it is a characteristic we must celebrate and retain for people who live and visit here.

For a hamlet in the Adirondack Park, we also have a fairly solid economic base. We have several major employers including North Country Community College and the Adirondack Medical Center. The addition of two biotech companies to the village over the past two years has created a small biotech cluster with Bionique and the Trudeau Institute. Earlier this year, the 69-acre American Management Association campus was annexed into the village at the company’s request, creating a significant opportunity for economic and residential development in Saranac Lake.

The Saranac Lake area is also remarkable for its incredible volunteers who come together to organize a farmers market, Art Walks, concerts and downtown movie nights in the summer, fill our parks with flowers, and offer many other great events throughout the year, including the second oldest (and by far the best) winter carnival in the United States. We even had an outdoor movie night during Winter Carnival this year, earning our brand as “the Adirondacks’ Coolest Place.”

All in all, there is so much positive going on, but it is my personal belief that Saranac Lake is at a watershed moment in its history and we all must act now to do everything we can to facilitate new development and businesses in our community, and to support existing businesses, whether by simply buying locally or through targeted assistance to help businesses grow, or to encourage improvement of existing commercial properties. Everything that we do can contribute to making Saranac Lake a better place to live and visit, providing more jobs and keeping our taxes in check. If we all do our part and always keep our minds open, Saranac Lake will thrive and be a place where more people come to stay for vacations or to live. For all of us that already live here, it will be a better place to live and to raise our families.

Paul Van Cott lives in Saranac Lake and is a member of the village Board of Trustees.