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New site scouted for skatepark

November 13, 2012
By CHRIS KNIGHT - Senior Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - Village trustees will consider designating a site in a village park at the corner of Ampersand Avenue and Broadway as the location for the village skateboard park at their meeting tonight.

If that sounds familiar, it should. The site is one the village had considered but ruled out in January 2007, largely due to opposition from nearby residents.

Since then, the skateboard park had been on track to be located behind the former village offices and the current police station at 3 Main St., where a makeshift skatepark has been located since the 1990s. The village now leases the offices to Myriad RBM, a biotech company that relocated to Saranac Lake from Lake Placid.

In May, the village board gave the go-ahead for village workers to prepare the site behind the police station for the pouring of a concrete pad for the park's ramps and features. That work would have included excavating a hill next to the parking area, building a retaining wall to secure the hillside, digging a trench to provide drainage and bringing in gravel from the village sand pit to use as a base.

The resolution directed village Manager John Sweeney to have the site preparation completed by Aug. 31, although there is no money in this year's budget for the work.

Meanwhile in September, the town of North Elba voted to give its skateboard park equipment to the village of Saranac Lake for use on the site behind the police station.

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The resolution the village board will consider tonight, which was added to the agenda on Monday, would designate the site of an existing tennis court in the Broadway-Ampersand park for the skateboard park. It says the park is "centrally located and can accommodate a skatepark if the tennis court is removed."

However, the resolution says it "does not constitute authorization to construct a skatepark." The Saranac Lake SkatePark Committee will still have to "submit engineering plans, professionally produced cost estimates, and a draft construction and operating agreement to the village Board of Trustees for review."

The Enterprise wasn't immediately able to determine this morning why the village is now shifting gears back to the Broadway-Ampersand Park.

Mayor Clyde Rabideau deferred questions about it to trustees Barbara Rice and Allie Pelletieri, whom the Enterprise couldn't reach as of press time.

Rich Shapiro of the SkatePark Committee said in an email that his group called residents who live around the Broadway-Ampersand Park and either spoke to them or left messages on their answering machines telling them there will be a vote on the site at tonight's meeting.

He provided the Enterprise with a two-page document the committee drafted that says the park would be a safe and ideal site because it's accessible by sidewalks, there's a traffic light at the corner, it's an open and visible location, and it's within walking distance of the French Hill neighborhood.

The SkatePark Committee, which has raised more than $42,000, says it conducted a survey of 81 nearby households in 2006 that found 89 percent of people support development of a skatepark on the site.


Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or



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