Dissent continues over festival buildings

QUEENSBURY- In response to public concern, Warren County Supervisors voted Feb. 20 to keep their options open concerning demolition of the Cavalcade of Cars building at the former Gaslight Village.

The county board of supervisors voted to include demolition of both the Opera House and the Cavalcade of Cars in a pending state grant request - but the county board reserved the right to make the final decision on demolition.

The two buildings sit on property intended to be primarily a wetlands park to purify stormwater that has for many decades been running into Lake George untreated.

Local municipalities reserved 2.5 acres of the plot as festival grounds, and Lake George Supervisor Lou Tessier has sought to retain and upgrade the Opera House and Cavalcade of Cars as facilities to attract and host festivals and conventions.

But environmentalists would like to see all buildings razed.

Demolition of the buildings, which would cost millions of dollars to rebuild, is an idea that angers Tessier as a waste of existing infrastructure that could bring new tourism revenue to Lake George.

"Those buildings are not coming down - over my dead body," Tessier said after a lengthy debate on whether they should be demolished.

Earlier this month, the county facilities committee passed a resolution which added the Opera House building to a $1.2 million state grant, earmarked for the Lake George Association for the demolition of any building on the property, Association Executive Director Walt Lender said.

County Board of Supervisors Chairman Fred Monroe said Friday that he supported listing the Cavalcade of Cars building in the grant.

"Addingit to the grant requires no obligation to actually demolish it," he said. "Our vote is just a way to keep our options open."

Last year, the county chipped in $1.3 million dollars or 67 percent of the total cost, towards the purchase of the Gaslight Village property. The town and village of Lake George are also stakeholders in the property, but land-use control of all but 2.5 acres of the 12 acre parcel is assigned to three environmental organizations - the Lake George Association, the Fund for Lake George and the Lake George Land Conservancy.

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