Dam’s fate still in limbo

TUPPER LAKE – The fate of the 7-acre Setting Pole Dam parcel is still undecided.

The topic came up at Thursday night’s town board meeting when Councilwoman Kathy Lefebvre told the board that ECOsponsible Inc. Vice President Dennis Ryan contacted her by email to say his company is still interested in purchasing the property.

ECOsponsible placed the sole bid on the property last fall, but Ryan pulled the bid in November when the dam’s sale became a talking point between candidates during the town’s election. ECOsponsible bid $400,000 on the property, plus an annual $12,000 donation for 50 years to support the town’s amateur youth sport and summer day camp program.

“My intent is to renew the public debate and let it be put before the people to see if they want to sell,” Ryan told the Enterprise by phone Friday. “The economic benefits, the concerns related to the maintenance and the potential cost of power to Tupper Lake homeowners, should they keep the dam, is a lot of money.”

The November election yielded some changes to the town board: a new supervisor, Patti Littlefield, and two new councilmen, Mike Dechene and Rick Skiff.

In January, the town board agreed to have the property assessed and to put the sale of the dam out to public vote once the assessment was complete.

Advanced Appraisals, a Saratoga Springs-based company, completed the assessment in May, saying the property is worth $700,000. The previously assessed value was $436,000. The board agreed that the $6,450 cost of the assessment would be tacked onto the price of the dam if it went out to bid.

The town board has yet to make a decision on its next step regarding the property.

“The town board said they were going to put this out for a vote once they received an appraisal,” Ryan said. “Now it seems to me like they’re having a change of heart. My perspective is, let’s let the people decide.”

Lefebvre brought the issue up during the board’s May meeting. She reiterated her stance on Thursday.

“We said we’d put this put to a vote, and I think we need to do that,” Lefebvre told the board. “I think the people should be the ones to decide if we’re going to keep it or sell it.”

Town Supervisor Patti Littlefield said the topic wasn’t “dead in the water,” but she wanted to wait and put it on the agenda when the full board was present. Councilmen Skiff and John Quinn were not at the last meeting.

“I just think we should be thinking about it,” Lefebvre said. “We could really use that money for projects. I don’t want it to die, and I don’t want it to be just pushed aside. We need to revisit it.”

Lefebvre then suggested using money from the sale for projects, like improving trails in the area, including at the town-owned Tupper Lake Golf Club.

Littlefield agreed that the money could help the town.

“I think before we put that on the referendum, we should look at all of the other town property and see if there’s any excess property we have that we might want to consider putting up,” Littlefield said.

Contact Shaun Kittle at 518-891-2600 ext. 26 or skittle@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.