Village of Saranac Lake forms Downtown Advisory Board

SARANAC LAKE – The village has created a seven-person advisory board to make recommendations on projects and policies that will improve and support Saranac Lake’s downtown.

The Downtown Advisory Board’s purpose is to “improve economic vitality by enhancing the experience, image and lifestyle of Downtown Saranac Lake,” according to a draft of its bylaws. Its membership, which has yet to be named, must include downtown residents, property owners, business owners or representatives of downtown events.

The village Board of Trustees approved creation of the advisory board in a 4-0 vote with no discussion at its meeting Monday night. Trustee Barbara Rice told the Enterprise after the meeting that the new panel is modeled after the Healthy Infrastructure Advisory Board, which the village created in 2009 and makes recommendations to the village on policies and projects that support healthy lifestyles. Among other things, the HIAB helped craft the village’s recently completed Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail Master Plan.

“We’re not reinventing the wheel here,” Rice said. “We’re pretty much borrowing the same structure and just applying it to the downtown. I think the downtown deserves a special designation. I’m really excited about it. I think it will work well.”

Rice, who co-owns a downtown business, Rice Furniture on Main Street, said the advisory board will also build on the work of a Downtown Saranac Lake Committee that has put on outdoor movies in Berkeley Green and spearheaded other downtown promotions.

“It’s the next step in legitimizing the downtown committee and our downtown efforts,” Rice said. “It will allow us a clear way to communicate with the village board, continue efforts we’ve been working on and build upon that. It will be a board of invested individuals, stakeholders in the downtown.”

Rice said the village will soon “put a call out” to see who’s interested in serving on the Downtown Advisory Board. Its members have to be appointed by the village Board of Trustees and will each serve two-year terms. They won’t be paid and can’t be employees of the village. The advisory board will have three officers: chairperson, vice chairperson and secretary. A member of the village Board of Trustees will serve as a liaison between the two boards.

The advisory board’s bylaws say it will be required to act in advisory capacity on issues, policies and actions that affect downtown Saranac Lake; assist in planning and implementation of downtown events, promotions, beautification, fundraising, infrastructure improvements; act as a liaison between downtown stakeholders and the village board; and advocate for implementation of plans and policies related to downtown.

The Downtown Advisory Board will be subject to the state’s Open Meetings Law and will be required to meet at least once a month, according to its bylaws, which are posted with the agenda for Monday’s village board meeting on the village’s website,