Lake Placid village government wins NYCOM award

LAKE PLACID – The village government won a second-place award from the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials this Sunday at a conference in Albany.

The village received the award for its Chubb River dam removal and trunk sewer line project. The project was included in the local government category for populations with 10,000 people or less. The village of Great Neck in Nassau County received first place for combining sewer plants with another local municipality, saving $10.5 million.

Lake Placid Treasurer Peggy Mousaw and Electric Superintendent Peter Kroha accepted the award on behalf of the village.

“The Village of Lake Placid is to be commended for this excellent program,” wrote NYCOM President Richard Donovan in a press release. “This award recognizes that local officials have been and are continuing to work diligently to improve their communities and the quality of life for their residents in efficient and innovative ways. I would like to congratulate Mayor (Craig) Randall on a job well done.”

Peter Baynes, the executive director of NYCOM, said after reviewing the many applications, the judges were impressed with Lake Placid’s efforts to save money by not repairing the dam at Lower Mill Pond and then by redesigning the sewer line’s path.

“The village’s leaders took an innovative and collaborative approach to replacing the sewer trunk line.” Baynes said. “By doing so, they avoided significant capital cost and sewer rate increases.”

“It’s an honor for Lake Placid,” Randall said.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation issued an order to the village in 2004, directing it to begin planning for the replacement of the sewer line. When Randall took office in 2009, the engineering study needed an extra $100,000 to move forward.

“The first thing I did was get the money for the engineering plan,” Randall said.

The project later gained significant momentum when a $1 million grant was approved by the Environment Facilities Corporation. Mousaw wrote the grant application with the help of village engineer Ivan Zdrahal.

The village also received low-interest financing for the sewer line replacement, which Mousaw said will save taxpayers in the long run about 20 percent on their sewer rates.

Mousaw said there were a number of state agencies, local groups and leaders she wanted to thank for their support in helping get the grant.

“This was a massive show of support to get this project together,” she said.

After the study, it was determined, given the cost of a new turbine and limited water flow in the river, it was not going to be a practical investment to repair and upgrade the dam.

“The very little bit of water going through there, it would be over 1 million dollars to get it up to snuff and take 100 years to pay it back,” Kroha said.

The dam was torn down, and the pond was emptied. Public Works Superintendent Brad Hathaway and Zdrahal then redesigned the trunk sewer line. The new path across the pond is a more direct route to the treatment plant. Randall estimates the redesign saved the village $1 million.

“This is Brad’s project,” Randall said. “A lot of those costs that saved the village money is because of Brad.”

Village Trustee Jason Leon said the news was fantastic.

“If it wasn’t for Brad and Peggy, I’m not sure if the project would have been developed the way it had.”

Kubricky Construction recently started to work on the state Route 73 portion of the sewer line. They closed the road yesterday at 3 p.m. The road is expected to be closed for about 2 and a half weeks, but it will be opened intermittently during that time.

After the replacement of the trunk sewer line is complete this fall, it will then shift phases. The pond will be turned into a park. Nearby trails will be connected to trails in the town of North Elba and a pair of wood bridges will be built.