AdkAction and the Village of Saranac Lake recently announced that AdkAction is transferring its $411,000 Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant awarded in 2018 for a new Whitewater Park in downtown Saranac Lake to the Village of Saranac Lake.
The transfer comes following several years of work by AdkAction on the Whitewater Park project. After suspending work on the project in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the project team–Steve Maikowski of AdkAction, former AdkAction Board member Scott McKim, Tyler Merriam of the Ausable River Association, and past AdkAction Executive Director Brittany Christenson–resumed work on the project in 2021.
A Request for Proposals for Design and Permitting of the Whitewater Park was issued, and a company with extensive experience in whitewater park design and construction was selected for the project.
With the assistance of outside legal counsel, AdkAction conducted due diligence on the contract with that firm and the DRI contract with NYS Department of State. The project team also researched various operational and permitting challenges, analyzed increases in the costs of materials and construction management capacity, and explored potential partners for ongoing operation of the Whitewater Park.
“Ultimately, AdkAction decided that we did not have the necessary staff capacity, construction management expertise, or insurance coverage necessary to continue as the sponsor of the project,” stated AdkAction’s Board Chair Steve Maikowski.
With a goal of ensuring that the DRI Whitewater Park grant would stay in Saranac Lake, AdkAction initiated discussions with the Village of Saranac Lake in late 2021 about the possibility of transferring sponsorship of the grant project to the Village of Saranac Lake. The Village Board voted on February 28, 2022 to become the new sponsor of the Whitewater Park DRI grant.
The Whitewater Park will add recreational value and support increased economic activities in downtown Saranac Lake. Whitewater parks have become very popular in river towns where they act as magnets that draw paddlers, anglers, and tourists.
This Whitewater Park will modify a section of the Saranac River in the area south of the Route 3 La Pan Bridge and will be accessible to canoes, kayaks, inner tubes, rafts, and SUPs. The Park will feature a single riverwide standing hole or wave that can be played in and around at various river levels throughout the year.
Construction on the single feature Whitewater Park is expected to begin in summer 2024 with an anticipated completion date of Fall 2024.
The Village resolution in support of the transfer states that the new Whitewater Park will be named the Tom Boothe Whitewater Park, named after Tom Boothe, the late AdkAction Board Chair and paddling enthusiast. Mr. Boothe spearheaded the Whitewater Park project at AdkAction and secured the DRI grant for AdkAction.
A “Tom Boothe Whitewater Park Friends” group has been formed, led by Tyler Merriam and Scott McKim, original project team members, as well as many members of the local paddling community. The Friends group will promote, market, and raise funds for the new Whitewater Park.
“The Tom Boothe Whitewater Park will be an amazing asset to Saranac Lake, and greatly enhance the recreational options for paddlers of all skills and abilities,” said Merriam. “We’re thrilled that the Village of Saranac Lake is building on the momentum of AdkAction and our past efforts, and we’re so excited to realize the vision of this educational, recreational, and economic boon to Saranac Lake.”
According to Maikowski, AdkAction will continue to play a significant role in the Tom Boothe Whitewater Park project, including promoting the park as part of its community revitalization project work, and assisting in the Friends group in raising funds for expenses not covered by the DRI grant.
For more information about AdkAction and the Whitewater Park, or to donate to the project, visit: www.adkaction.org/project/saranac-lake-whitewater-project
Photo at top: AdkAction website photo.