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Preston had plenty of optimism for Wilmington

July 26, 2019
Editorial , Lake Placid News

Along with the rest of the region, we were deeply saddened to hear about the death of Wilmington town Supervisor Randy Preston on July 18, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family, particularly to his wife Michelle.

Over the years of covering local politics and community news, we found Randy to be a tireless promoter of communities in the Adirondacks, not just his town of Wilmington - the one and only home of Whiteface Mountain - but for neighboring towns as well. We knew him to be a straight shooter, criticizing the media when necessary. We knew him to be funny, witty and not afraid to get his hands dirty or have fun doing his job, which he did often.

Wilmington and all of Essex County are better off today than they were before Randy became the town supervisor. Moreover, the people who knew him are richer for the experiences they shared together. For that, we are eternally grateful for the time we were able to spend with him. Thank you, Randy.

Article Photos

Town of Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston poses with the historic Lake Placid News editorial board in May 2014.
(News photo — Andy Flynn)

On May 1, 2014, Lake Placid News Editor Andy Flynn stopped by the Wilmington Community Center to speak with Randy for the "Editorial Board" column. They talked about his current-day challenges as town supervisor and working on the county level, and his hopes for the future. Below are the answers to the last two questions from that interview.

LPN: Fill in the blank. The future of Wilmington is ...

SUPERVISOR: Going to be very bright.

I took over in 2008, and we were right at the peak of the housing market and real estate market boom, and things were really looking promising. And then the bottom fell out. Historically, we're always well behind Lake Placid in regaining ground. We're getting to the point now where it's getting better. The one thing there has been a boom in is vacation homes and vacation rentals in Wilmington. They're skyrocketing. That's a double-edged sword also because some places there are new homes going up specifically for that, which is a great product and there's a high demand. In other areas, a lot of the homes are going up for sale or being snatched up and used, so that takes away affordable housing for the locals. I'm not sure anyone knows how you fix that. I can't tell someone they can't buy a piece of property.

On the upswing, that is putting a lot of people visiting our area in this town. And the vacation rental market is unbelievable.

So I think we're heading back in the right direction again. I'm hoping the economy in the country stays stable because I think we're starting to move in a forward direction again.

We've got a brand new snowmobile trail that connects us with the outside world. You can go from the center of our town to Franklin County, Clinton County or Canada if you choose. That just opened last year. They finished cutting it on the back side of the mountain. What little snow we did have when we finally got it in March, that was extremely popular. So I think that's a positive thing.

The mountain biking is a positive thing. ...

So I think we've made the turn. ... We've still got some stumbling blocks. The eyesore at the old Wilson Farms gas station on the corner is one of them. ...

So there's always a challenge, but there are a lot of positive things happening.

LPN: Is there anything else you'd like to say?

SUPERVISOR: Basically, I think Wilmington has anything that any person could look for in outdoor recreation. And if it's not here, it's only 10 or 15 minutes away. And we have some of the most amazing views anywhere. So that I'm very proud of. I'm very proud to be a native here. I've been to a lot of places, and this is where I'm going to live until the day they plant me under.



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