Village board backs Tupper Lake chamber’s plan

TUPPER LAKE – The village board on Tuesday unanimously agreed to hire someone to market Tupper Lake.

The board approved a draft of a request for proposals for a destination marketing plan. Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce Events Coordinator Michelle Clement and chamber board member Clarence Bell presented the RFP to the village board.

Bell led the discussion and kept things short, saying he didn’t want to repeat what chamber President Adam Boudreau already said at a meeting that was attended by town, village and chamber board members, and several local business owners. At that meeting, Boudreau stressed the need to begin promoting Tupper Lake and proposed contracting with an organization like the Lake Placid-based Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.

Boudreau later told the Enterprise that the RFP is open to anyone, but the chamber board favors ROOST because of the destination planning it has done throughout the region.

Members of the village board applauded the chamber’s efforts, and trustees Rick Donah and Tom Snyder both said it’s about time Tupper Lake began to think ahead.

“We’re talking about a long-term commitment and a significant financial commitment to move any kind of real destination marketing plan forward, and it does need to dovetail into other things the community is trying to do,” Donah said.

Donah said analyzing and reviewing Tupper Lake’s tourism assets is an important aspect of the RFP.

“I’ve been up to the (Big Tupper) ski area volunteering my time, and I can tell you it’s a beautiful mountain, but the infrastructure of that ski area is in a bad condition,” Donah said. “It’s tough to get tourism built around an infrastructure that’s deteriorating like that. Those are the issues that we to think about. If we spend $75,000 or $100,000 a year for tourism destination marketing and they can’t get up on that mountain and ski, then we’ve got a problem.”

Donah added that improving existing resources and economic development aren’t subjects Tupper Lake can avoid discussing any longer. Bell agreed.

“It’s time to start addressing what we have here and what we can do to improve it,” Bell said.

Bell said the golf course is in a similar condition as the ski area and is in dire need of attention.

“It is so behind the times,” Bell said. “I’ve been there for two years. If you had asked me two years ago to make a list of the things I want to do there, I haven’t checked one thing off that list yet because I’ve spent my time trying to bring that place up to speed. We’re finally getting to the point now where we can start moving forward a little bit.”

Donah said the town and village boards also need to have a conversation with the Franklin County Tourism Advisory Council to see if it’s including Tupper Lake in their plans.

“When I did a search online for Franklin County golf courses, I got 400 responses for Malone golf courses, so who’s representing us?” Donah asked Clement, who is on the TAC board. “Our golf course was buried on the 10th page back. Who’s doing the search engine optimization for the county?”

Clement said TAC has been working with Adworkshop of Lake Placid to address concerns like that. She said TAC also recently developed a destination master plan for all of Franklin County.

Looking over the RFP, Snyder said he’d like to discuss initiatives that can begin happening right away.

“All we do is talk ourselves to death,” Snyder said. “We never move forward, but there are a lot of things here that we’ve identified that we can move forward on. Are there any plans of taking action on any of the smaller things that we can make better? It’s time to get out of the meetings and start taking action.”

Bell explained that the goal of the chamber is to do just that. He said the chamber will outline its new initiatives at an open-to-the-public winter social at The Wild Center. The event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28.

“The chamber wants to step back and begin working for the betterment of Tupper Lake,” Bell said. “We want to start taking care of some of these little things, like cleaning up trails. We’re a group of volunteers. A lot of this stuff, especially the marketing, that needs to be taken care of by professionals.”

The village board’s resolution was the third of its kind in a week. The Tupper Lake town board passed a similar resolution, and the Piercefield town board also passed a resolution last week to pay the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce $5,000 annually for the next three years to help fund their tourism marketing efforts.

Town Supervisor Patti Littlefield was at the village meeting. She suggested that the town and the village work jointly to set dates and send notices out to potential bidders, and said town Clerk Laurie Fuller could also help with those responsibilities. Members of the village board agreed to discuss that further.

Contact Shaun Kittle at 891-2600 ext. 25 or