SARANAC LAKE - The town of North Elba hopes to team up with the village of Lake Placid to pursue funding for a new joint comprehensive plan.
Meanwhile, North Elba councilmen approved a grant application for $435,000 through the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to develop athletic fields at a former landfill site off of Recycle Circle Lane in Lake Placid and at another former landfill in Saranac Lake. The village of Saranac Lake passed a similar resolution on Monday night.
"This is all part of a process joining the various needs of communities to make this financing a joint project and to make it more interesting to the state in terms of financing," North Elba town Supervisor Roby Politi said during Tuesday night's regular board meeting, which was held at the North Elba Town House on River Street in Saranac Lake.
The resolutions let the Essex County Planning Department submit a consolidated funding application to the state through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council.
The town and the village of Lake Placid previously agreed to spend $12,500 each to help pay for the new comprehensive plan. Tuesday's resolution means Essex County can move forward with an application for a grant not to exceed $50,000, potentially saving the town and village a total of $25,000.
Matt McNamara, an official with the county's Planning Department, said the funds for the comprehensive plan would come from the New York Department of State's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. The grant funding would cover the cost of professional consultants and planners.
Dean Dietrich heads up the Community Development Board, which has been leading the effort to draft the new comprehensive plan. The plan, which officials hope will be ratified by January 2014, will serve as a road map for future community development.
Dietrich said the potential grant funding is "really good news," especially since previous attempts at securing grant funding were unsuccessful.
"The application is stronger because it involves a number of communities and initiatives," he said. "They all kind of fit together because they plan to use things that benefit the community."
Dietrich said the Community Development Board is entering the end of phase one, during which seven committees conducted interviews with "key informants" on a variety of areas, including housing, energy efficiency, community facilities and demographic changes.
"The ideas from all of the committees will be put together in September," Dietrich said. "Then, we're going to take those to two different expert sources: One is Elan Planning in Saratoga Springs, the other is the Cornell School of Public Affairs, where some of the graduate students will look at it."
Dietrich said about half of the $50,000 in grant money would go to Elan Planning for consultant services.
"Through the winter, both groups will work with the board, and the goal is to have a draft for the spring of 2013," he said. "During the summer of 2013, we'll have public information hearings, more community input, then we'll take it to the municipalities in the fall."
As for the athletic fields grants, McNamara said he's been working with public works officials in both communities to develop the application.
"Its matching component will be fulfilled through labor," he said.
McNamara said both landfills have been capped long enough that "methane issues and settling has run its course." He said the capping systems at each site need to "maintain their integrity."
McNamara said the town should expect it will need a permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
"I'd be surprised if it were any other way," Politi joked.