December 9, 2012

Skate park sites revisited in Saranac Lake

SARANAC LAKE — The village’s SkatePark Committee has run aground again in its plan to build a skateboard complex.

The members had a spot picked behind the former Village Office, which had been set aside several years ago in a resolution by the Saranac Lake Village Board.

But the parking area there is now part of a long-term expansion plan for biotechnology businesses that have moved into the village’s Main Street buildings.


Meantime, the need for a skate-park site has become more urgent.

The Town of North Elba offered the unused rails and ramps from its skate park to the committee in Saranac Lake. The high-end steel equipment was purchased several years ago with $100,000 in state grant monies. 

But, via Lake Placid’s Shipman Youth Center, North Elba was unable to maintain supervision, as required by town and school usage agreements.


Rich Shapiro has spearheaded Saranac Lake’s skate-park efforts for many years.

“Every time we seem to get close, supposedly new site locations are brought up and have to be checked out once again, and then (are) generally rejected,” he said in recent remarks to the Village Board.

“We’ve spent money on surveys and engineering studies, only to have them be useless due to the moving target of site location.”

On May 29, the Village Board voted 3-1 to provide in-kind services by pouring a concrete pad for the park’s ramps and features, Shapiro said. 

“The resolution directed Village Manager John Sweeney to have the (Village Office parking lot) site preparation completed by Aug. 31. Now, you are trying to find an alternate location due to other plans for that entire area.”


Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau said that reuse of the office building changed the plan.

“We expect (biotech research company) Myriad RBM to expand into the Police Station, and they will need the parking area for employees. That means the site is no longer viable for a skate park in the long-term.”

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