TUPPER LAKE — Franklin County Legislator Paul Maroun says he'll run for position of Village of Tupper Lake mayor this fall.
His top priority would be gaining the necessary state and local permits to develop the multi-million-dollar Adirondack Club and Resort project at the Big Tupper Ski area.
And while the mountain resort is at the top of his agenda, Maroun said he is also interested in improving the village's fire-protection services and helping the Village Police Department regain full-time dispatching coverage from the county's Emergency Services Center in Malone.
Maroun, 59, is retired from the U.S. Navy and works as legal counsel for Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury).
He has also served on the County Legislature for a total of 23 years.
He is chairman of the Legislature's Administrative Committee and is a member of its Public Works and Services Committee and Finance Committee.
In 2010, he sought the Republican nomination for the 23rd Congressional District seat held by Democrat Bill Owens. Maroun left the race to recover from neck and back surgery.
Maroun, a Republican, said he is able to hold both elected positions — mayor and legislator — and would continue to promote Tupper Lake as a four-season destination to boost the local economy.
"Tupper Lake is a dying community, and we if don't get the resort, I want somebody to tell me what we're going to get and how we're going to get something like this?"
He said 85 to 90 percent of the community relies on the $70 million to $75 million payroll provided at the Sunmount Developmental Disabilities Services, "but what if part of that closes? We don't have anything else.
"There would be great jobs, between 350 and 500 full- and part-time jobs, if the Adirondack Club and Resort goes through."
Maroun said the village leadership has not shown unwavering support for the project, which he says may leave an impression on Adirondack Park Agency board members that the community isn't fully behind the idea.
The APA must issue permits to resort developers in order to move it forward.
"I think this mountain project is the most important thing that's happened in Tupper Lake since the VA home was built in the 1920s," he said, referring to the original mission that has since become Sunmount.
FELT COMPELLED TO RUN
At the same time, Maroun said he will remind voters and others looking on that the joint Planning Board established by the village and town has the final say in what happens at the resort if, and when, the APA signs off on it.
"That board can propose any changes they want and negotiate," he said.
"It's not about politics, and it's not that I want another job," Maroun said of his candidacy. "I was waiting for somebody else to stand up and run."
But he felt he had to step forward to secure the future of his hometown.
As a legislator, Maroun supported the county application to become an EB-5 regional center marketed to foreign investors seeking a foothold in the United States.
Each entity must vow to invest $500,000 in tourism and recreational-related business and create at least five jobs in exchange for temporary green cards.
"I think with the Adirondack Club and Resort and the EB-5 program, we need an administration working 110 percent for that project," Maroun said, "and I'm not convinced past and present administrations have done that."
Email Denise A. Raymo at: email@example.com