Lake George DRI Open house asks for public input

By Hannah Hughes, Chronicle Summer Staff

The Town of Lake George held an Open House on June 14 to “foster public engagement and gather valuable input from the community” as the town and village prepare to apply to New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward programs.

Lake George Chamber Executive Director Gina Mintzer and Village Mayor Ray Perry participate in the Open House.

“We’ve had this core committee, but we don’t want to operate in a vacuum,” said Gina Mintzer, Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.

“Ten million dollars, as we’ve seen, transformation is already happening, from Glens Falls to Ticonderoga…and other municipalities throughout the state. It’s a tremendous opportunity,” she said.

The Open House provided several boards for people to comment and share ideas on the proposed DRI boundary, vision statement, and more.

Many people expressed comments or concerns, with a lot of them echoing around variety, cohesiveness, and year-round visitation in Lake George.

“Not enough good restaurants with varied options” one sticky note said.

“Need better affordable housing for transient workers,” another read.

Not all was negative, with some highlighting the region’s strengths in natural beauty and arts and culture.

Dan Barusch, Lake George Planning and Zoning Director said, “We’re going after this critical grant program, we could be awarded a lot of money and we want the people to tell us what they want to see.”

“At some point in the next month or two we’ll probably roll out a list of project ideas that came out of this and came out of the committee,” he added.

The community’s ideas included more outdoor murals, a hardware store, a new amphitheater for Shepard Park, and even a skytram from the village to the top of Prospect Mountain.

Generally, people seemed interested in putting the money towards the rehabilitation of old or vacant structures, facade improvements, affordable housing and apartments, and music, arts, and cultural programming.

Lake George still has a ways to go to secure the grant, including developing an application by September.

“Detailing what other investments have been made in the area, trying to come up with ideas for how many jobs could be created from these projects, et cetera, so there’s a… lot of leg work to do,” Mr. Barusch said.

He’s confident, though. “We think we have a pretty good chance at this.”

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