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Parking negotiations begin

After eminent domain fails, Lake Placid looks to buy museum lot

September 8, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - This village is negotiating the purchase of two parcels of land on Main Street from the Adirondack Historical Association, which will lead to more parking spaces.

The two parcels are located across from the NBT Bank and next to a municipal parking lot. Currently, the land is empty aside from a few picnic tables for the Big Mountain Deli and Creperie.

An idea that has been tossed around for years is to build a parking garage on the land, but village Mayor Craig Randall said there are no plans yet as to what might go there.

"The intention of the village is to acquire the property and level it," he said. "We'll be able to use the additional space for immediate parking, possibly even starting this winter."

Leveling the parcels would add about 25 to 30 parking spaces.

This acquisition will help displace cars during next year's Main Street reconstruction project, which involves updating waterlines, storm drains and the streetscape. Imagine the impact of Main Street project earlier this year, but a lot bigger.

During the Tuesday, Sept. 4 board meeting, Randall said Main Street is getting busier with more workers, visitors and residents.

"We're seeing less retail stores on Main Street and more bars and restaurants," he said. "Where a retail store might have two or three employees in it throughout the day, a restaurant would have more like 10 or 15."

He also mentioned how some of the buildings have added or are currently in the process of adding vacation rentals in upstairs spaces.

"Most of these locations don't have on-site parking," Randall said.

The Adirondack Historical Association, which operates the Adirondack Experience (formerly Adirondack Museum) in Blue Mountain Lake, has owned the land for the past 11 years but hasn't done any construction there. The association bought the parcel from the Church of the Nazarene, demolished the church and its manse, and intended to build a satellite museum designed by David Childs, the architect who conceived One World Trade Center in Manhattan. However, in 2008 those plans fell through because of increased construction costs, fundraising difficulties, a strained economy and the potential effects of high gas prices on museum visitation. Informational signs of what the museum would have looked like are still attached to a retaining wall on the land.

Randall didn't say what the price for the acquisition is because the association is still writing up a contract, but he did say it is substantially less than what the association offered two years ago.

"They originally talked about $1.5 million," Randall said, "and it's obviously well under that now."

Village Attorney Janet Bliss said the village should close on the land by the beginning of November.

The village tried to use eminent domain to acquire the land in the spring, but the state Supreme Court denied it, saying Lake Placid didn't have an up-to date-traffic study. The village is still having Creighton Manning Engineering do such a study, even though it's no longer needed for obtaining the two parcels, so village leaders can decide what structure would be best and if there are any other places in the village that would benefit from parking reconfiguration.

"With parking in Lake Placid, there is a necessity that we add more spaces," Randall said, "but the spaces should be balanced so that the impacts on traffic flows are improved, not made worse."



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