Saturday, July 1, 2023

Discussion time: APA headquarters

apa headquartersAs Gwen Craig reported for Adirondack Explorer this past week:

Unless a feasibility study shows the historic Paul Smith’s Power and Light Building may fall apart or some other insurmountable issue, the Adirondack Park Agency is full steam ahead to move its headquarters from Ray Brook to the village of Saranac Lake.

APA Executive Director Barbara Rice said the 1-3 Main St. building is the agency’s “preferred site.” She ruled out further site searches or renovating the existing office building.

Read the full story here and then weigh in below. What do you think of the plan to move APA headquarters? Should the agency stay in Ray Brook?

Image at top:A rendering shows the Paul Smith’s Power and Light Building at 1-3 Main St. in the village of Saranac Lake as the Adirondack Park Agency’s new headquarters. The agency would build a 19,000-square-foot addition behind it and a new parking lot. Rendering provided by the Adirondack Park Agency

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Melissa is a journalist with experience as a reporter and editor with the Burlington Free Press, Ithaca Journal and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. She worked as a communications specialist for the Adirondack North Country Association and is currently digital editor for Adirondack Explorer, overseeing both the Explorer's website and its community forum the Adirondack Almanack. She enjoys hiking, camping and other outdoors activities, and spending time with her husband, their twin daughters, and rescue animals -- two dogs and two cats.

6 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    My comments are on the Explorer site.

    Kudos for renovating an existing structure, but new buildings and parking lot are rather insensitive and heavy-handed WRT the river and setback regulations most of us have to follow.

  2. Jim Connolly says:

    An absolute travesty and waste of money. The Power & Light Building has reached its useful life. It is integral to the water flow in the Saranac River and the dam (along with the side of the building) is definitely going to fail at some point. The Village is just looking for a way to dump a white elephant on the State (but who can blame them if the State is this stupid)?

    The real question is why the State wants to leave Ray Brook which is set aside in the State Land Master Plan for APA & DEC & State Police headquarters. If someone can figure out this nonsense, they are a lot smarter than I am. As far as I am concerned, it is a joke and a poor one at that.

  3. louis curth says:

    Hi Jim,
    Both you and Steve Erman have made pretty compelling cases for the APA to remain as part of the state campus at Ray Brook. To be sure, no one wants to discourage a well thought out plan to benefit downtown Saranac Lake. But this APA relocation idea seems to have worrisome downsides involving cost, environmental factors, and some serious public access tradeoffs.

    Among the lessons I learned during my years at DEC iin Ray Brook, was the value of regular communication between related personnel and agencies, and also to maintain public support and trust – a long standing Adirondack problem. “There’s too much grass growing between the DEC and the APA”, Ranger Captain Don Perryman used to say. Maybe Don’s common sense wisdom is still a metaphor that a lot of us might do well to consider…

  4. Stephen Erman says:

    The APA’s new headquarters building should be built in Ray Brook. The two alternatives: 1) Replacement of the “log cabin” in Ray Brook, making use of the existing circa 2004 garage & conference room/records center, vs. 2) Renovation of the Power & Light building Downtown, Construction of new 19,000 sq. ft. office building & garage, Improvements to the Riverwalk, Assumption by the State of New York of liability for the Village’s hydro power plant & the Lake Flower dam, AND improvements to the “log cabin” in Ray Brook as a visitors center for the otherwise abandoned Memorial Forest. This is all being proposed as the NYS Budget Office announces a $9 billion shortfall in the current State budget which is projected to grow to $13 billion in the next fiscal year. With minimal economic benefit to the Village and at a very high cost to the State, it is very surprising that the Governor’s Office is supporting this non-sensical proposal by the Agency. Wasn’t it Everett Dirksen who said “a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking real money.”?

  5. Mary Stepanian says:

    Follow the money….. I worked for a state agency that was colocated with their federal counterpart. All of a sudden the agency is moving headquarters to a new building being constructed. Word on the street was that the developer and political contributor lost the tenant they were originally building for. Every piece of office furniture was replaced. Big waste of money. So follow the money…..

  6. Sherri Gallagher says:

    They are showing this as a flat site. It’s a steep hill. Are they going to dig it back, condemn private property and close the road to the school? What happens to their current facilities? They are only zoned for government use. Will it be one more empty deteriorating building or will they need to increase budget to maintain it empty?

    Twenty-nine million will not do what is being proposed.

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