Tuesday, April 11, 2006

ADE Commentary - The Broadway-Depot St. Market Place

In yesterday’s Adirondack Daily Enterprise there is a commentary by Frank Casier entitled ‘The Broadway-Depot St. Market Place’. Mr. Casier suggests reviving a plan to redevelop a deteriorated area in Saranac Lake.

Mr. Casier writes:

“The area lies between Broadway and the railroad tracks, behind the fire house, Adirondack Tire, the Adult Center and other properties. It extends from Depot Street almost to Cedar Street, adjacent to the renovated Railroad Depot.”

This is the largest, mostly open, piece of property in the downtown area of Saranac Lake. It used to be a coal yard, a lumber yard, and a train yard. The property is made up of small parcels owned by at least a dozen people. It is currently hidden from the view of most passers-by except those that ride the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. It is an ideal area for re-development. According to Mr. Casier, the village board approved the re-development of the Depot Street area as long ago as August 13, 1979.

Mr. Casier goes on to say:

“It is a matter of setting better priorities and making more intelligent decisions to fulfill the community’s greatest needs. Wal-Mart on Lake Flower is not the only choice.”

Mr. Casier, a land developer in his own right, points out that “there are government agencies such as Urban Renewal that could be brought into the effort.” That is certainly a possibility. But wouldn’t it be better if Wal-Mart actually worked with village officials to develop this downtown area? The positive PR it would give Wal-Mart would probably be worth as much as they pay Edelman and Crosslink Strategy Group for one years worth of propaganda.

Wal-Mart, build a smaller store in the downtown area and you will be welcomed into Saranac Lake by at least 80% of the residents. Who knows, even the other 20% of us might come around sooner or later. However, as someone has previously pointed out in comments on this blog, Wal-Mart does not seem to be interested in doing small and they do not seem to be interested in locating in downtown business areas - Rutland, VT being at least one exception.

There is a piece of news from the WNBZ website that pre-dates this blog. As pointed out by Mr. Casier, this concerns a message delivered to the Harrietstown board by Mr. Parker, Kurtz, Drury and McCormick last February.

"Considering Wal-Mart’s plans to come to Saranac Lake are still in the initial stages, Parker said the mega-retailer might be convinced to locate in the downtown. “If we can show them the possibility of doing a downtown alternative, we could get their ear,” he said.

Parker noted that Wal-Mart has been experimenting in recent years with fitting its stores into smaller sites. He said there are at least three locations in Saranac Lake’s downtown that the company could consider. “This could be a flagship store for them,” he said."
You can read it all here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can't tell you how pleased I was to see Frank Casier's commentary in the Enterprise the other day. His idea is perfect!
I have been to many of the revitalization meetings that were held at the local library. At the last one, there was a lot of talk about developing the very property written about in this commentary. Everybody kept mentioning the Depot Street property and said it was perfect for development. And they were right.
This property really isn't visible from the street, but if you walk back there as I have done many times, it is an eyesore. But when I walk back there I envision the development that we COULD HAVE. I realize that Wal-Mart doesn't like to build SMALL. They prefer to build something HUGE on the outside of town. But I do feel that if they came into the downtown, and built it smaller, yes, they would have the support of much of this village. No, we couldn't see a 121,000 square foot store there, but do we REALLY NEED ONE THAT SIZE?
A small department store could easily fit back there. And look at the boost it would give to the village, the business district, etc. Frank Casier has given us the challenge and proposed this idea once again. If North Country Community College could obtain and get 40 pieces of property then SOMEONE should be able to work with the property owners back there.