In the News  Archive

Adirondack Council wants to work with Franklin Co. board

March 20, 2015
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

By Tom Salitsky

MALONE - Willie Janeway wants you to know the Adirondack Council is ready and willing to work with local government to create vibrant, successful communities in the North Country.

Janeway, the executive director of the Elizabethtown-based council, addressed the Franklin County Board of Legislators at their meeting Thursday.

"You've got these two corners, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake, tucked into the corners of your county that are pretty active, but those are both great examples of communities that have stuff going for them, but are also struggling," Janeway said. "For the whole (Adirondack) Park to ultimately succeed, I have always felt, and the council has reached the point where we feel, too, for those communities to succeed, the backcountry and the clean water has to be protected."

Janeway explained the council advocates for protection of wilderness, the economic revival of struggling communities, clean water and air, and protecting private forests and private farmland.

"We also are interested in expanding the constituency that are promoting the Park," Janeway said. "We think of the Adirondacks as an asset for this region, an asset for the state, an asset for the country. That's why we go to Washington and urge people to help us on interstate pollution rules, so we have less pollution coming in from the Ohio valley.

"We want to engage more with you and figure out how can we better help the communities here in your county be successful. That's not easy, and to say that is a lot easier than actually doing it, so I'd love to hear some of your ideas and thoughts."

Janeway said the council often tries to balance the concerns of the Adirondack Park's environment with the economic concerns of its citizens.

"When we help a community economically, it takes the pressure off development of the backcountry, so I get a win-win," Janeway said.

"He's well respected in Albany," county Legislator Paul Maroun, R-Tupper Lake, said of Janeway. "The governor respects what he says and what his group says. This is one of the groups we worked with on the Adirondack Club and Resort.

"I used to call some groups 'obstructionist.' These folks are real environmentalists, and they really are working with us and worked before on the project to make sure it came together properly.

"He's not one of the ones where I stand up here and yell about all the time as the 'bad guys' and the obstructionists."

As an example of the type of work the council performs, Janeway explained some of the council's history with the ACR project.

"On the ACR, the council was very involved with the initial work," Janeway said. "There were parts we liked and parts we didn't, and in the end, the project was approved. "At that point, we recognized the (Adirondack Park Agency) had the authority to make the decision they made ... and it was time to move on. We didn't join with others in challenging it and tying it up."

Janeway spoke about the future of Tupper Lake and how the council can assist in its economic revival.

"Tupper Lake needs help," Janeway said. "It needs more than the ACR. It needs some world-class lodging accommodations because we're in the middle of this world-class tourism destination. It needs funding invested in the (railroad) in one way or another to make sure that's an asset rather than just sitting there ... underutilized.

"It's no one thing - the ACR, the Wild Center - that's going to help a community like Tupper Lake. ... Are there ways that we can be adjusting our advocacy in Albany for tax cuts and things?

"Can we have a small-scale biomass plant in Tupper Lake? We're kicking around different ideas and things that we can do. I want to help the community. I also want to make sure we're not just talking about helping the community but we're delivering on things, and that's where I could really use your help in identifying things."

Janeway explained that, when environmentalists and local government unite on an issue, it greases the wheels of progress.

"Sometimes, it's really helpful for the governor to hear from your county chair about something, and then to hear from an environmentalist saying, 'Actually, this is a project we support.' Because then it turns his head, and that's the kind of thing Andrew loves."

The Adirondack Council is currently involved in three projects in Franklin County: a clean water project in the village of Tupper Lake, a wastewater project in the town of Harrietstown and a wastewater project in the village of Saranac Lake.

"For example, in the village of Tupper Lake, there is a $6.2 million project for new-source water wells as part of clean water project," Janeway told the Enterprise. "It will serve about 5,500 people."

Janeway also explained the council's work on the state budget.

"We are working hard in Albany on the state budget, trying to get it finished by April 1, and working to make sure there is funding included in the budget to help upstate Adirondack North Country communities to close the gap on what they can afford on clean water-wastewater projects in terms of loans and what they need to complete the project," Janeway said, adding that communities often cannot afford to pay pay back the loans they receive for these projects. "What the council is working on right now in Albany, along with a few other projects, is trying to make sure there is dedicated money in the final budget for smaller, rural, Adirondack North Country ... communities, capital money to help with this kind of infrastructure. It's environmentally smart, it's public health and it's jobs."

"We're hoping some significant number comes out of this, given the hard work our delegation is doing."

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