Grant funding sought for downtown buildings

SARANAC LAKE – The Saranac Lake Local Development Corporation is seeking $150,000 in state grant funds to help renovate and upgrade a trio of Main Street buildings.

Village Trustee Paul Van Cott said the projects are designed to build on the momentum from the Hotel Saranac’s restoration, which won $5 million in state funding last year, as well as make the area along the Saranac River more attractive.

“Our focus is on getting Main Street ready for the Hotel Saranac when it opens and enhancing our connection to the river and the River Walk,” Van Cott said. “We have three projects along Main Street that we selected based on those criteria.”

Part of the money would be used for facade improvements to 81 Main St., home to Blue Line Sports, and 77 Main St., the site of the Main Street Exchange.

“For Blue Line, it’s to return the building’s historic facade,” Van Cott said. “We’ve been working with Historic Saranac Lake on that. One of the things we’ve been looking at is when you come out of the Hotel Saranac, that’s one of the first views you have of Main St., that white facade.

“At Main Street Exchange, the owner of the building is a gentleman from Pennsylvania, and he has experience renovating historic properties. He’s going to be doing a lot there anyway, and he’s looking at renovating the facade on the front and the rear.”

The third property is the Blue Moon Cafe at 55 Main St. Van Cott said the project would involve expanding the cafe off the back of the building, toward the river.

“There’s a streetscape component we’re looking at as well,” Van Cott said. “It’d be about $15,000 for park benches, lighting and things like that along the River Walk.”

The LDC is submitting a Main Street grant application through the state’s Consolidated Funding Application process. The village Board of Trustees passed a resolution Monday endorsing the application. Van Cott said letters of support have also been submitted by the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, Franklin County, the town of Harrietstown, Trudeau Institute and St. Joesph’s Addiction Treatment and Recovery Centers, U.S. Rep. Bill Owens and state Assemblywoman Janet Duprey. Sen. Betty Little hasn’t been asked to endorse the project because she’s a voting member of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, Van Cott said.

In the past, grants like this have been sought by the village itself. Asked why the LDC is behind this application, Van Cott said it’s partly because village Community Development Director Jeremy Evans has so much on his plate. He also said it’s part of the LDC’s focus on revitalizing downtown. The organization is fundraising to start its own downtown revitalization grant program.

“It’s basically to leverage private investment in downtown,” Van Cott said.

The LDC was formed four years ago. Its mission is to bring jobs and economic development to the community.

Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or