To the editor:
Please allow me to comment on your recent article regarding the Harrietstown board's resolution to the state to remove the railroad tracks. Reporter Chris Knight states that Supervisor Bob Bevilacqua said there was no one present to speak on behalf of preserving the railroad tracks, but trail advocates (Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates) were there to speak. Mr. Bevilacqua goes on to state that the resolution was NOT on Thursday's meeting agenda, yet strangely ARTA representatives were there to speak. I suggest there is a rush to judgment here, where somehow the Adirondack Scenic Railroad was overlooked in the notification process. Perhaps they thought a reasonable argument against the resolution might change some board votes? If notified, I would have been there in a heartbeat to suggest deferring the resolution until the New York State Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Conservation make their recommendation later this year.
More learned voices than ours on both sides of the issue have already made their points at four in-depth hearings conducted by the state recently. Nothing can transpire until the state's ruling, so what is gained by pushing through this unannounced resolution under cover of darkness? Their brethren on the Saranac Lake Board of Trustees recently had a public comment period before its board vote on a similar resolution, and it only garnered one vote, as the board felt it should let the state finish its review, as it had been asked to do.
I also would like to remind the Harrietstown board that the railroad extended their layover time in Saranac Lake to help the downtown businesses, and the results were well appreciated by the merchants. These same merchants, especially our new Adirondack Carousel, will suffer business if the train ceases to run. Any decision for track removal and new trails would mean environmental reviews, bids and construction that most likely could take three to five years to complete, and supposedly supplant the train riders with bicycle riders for those businesses still waiting for the extra volume. When was the last time you saw bicycle riders carrying shopping bags filled with new merchandise back home, the way today's train riders are doing? Just some items to ponder while "supporting" your local businesses.
Wayne W. Tucker
Adirondack Scenic Railroad
Schenectady, Rainbow Lake