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Villages receive Environmental Protection grants for projects

SARANAC LAKE - Getting money from the state is nothing to scoff at these days.

That's why Jeremy Evans, Village of Saranac Lake community development director, is excited about the latest round of grant money awarded to the village by Governor David A. Paterson.

The governor, accompanied by Secretary of State Lorraine Cortes-Vasquez, announced last week that upwards of $23.3 million in funding had been released for 88 projects throughout New York State. The money will be used for planning, design and construction of projects focusing on community, environmental and economic improvements.

Saranac Lake received $40,000 to draft a bicycle and pedestrian trail master plan that will create an inventory of existing infrastructure available for recreational purposes. According to Evans, the village plans to hire a consultant to compile information and highlight potential linkages between existing trails, identify land that could be used for new trails, and to develop a maintenance plan.

"The idea has been out there for several years," said Evans. "An application was submitted a few years ago that addressed recreation planning on the whole, and this proposal is more specific in scope."

Evans noted that the village needs to better utilize its existing infrastructure.

"Something that I noticed when I got here was that we needed to create linkages between all of our different recreational aspects - we need to take our resources and physically connect them so we have one big network," he said. "This is one great way to bring in some expertise and map our thoughts and have a plan as we move forward.

"And of course, it always helps to get funding like this," he added.

The Village of Tupper Lake also received funding totaling $195,000, to be used for the Racquette River waterfront project. Specifically, the money will be used to train a new community development director for the village.

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