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New business group's founders say infrastructure upgrades are vital

During a meeting Friday Dec. 2 of area business proprietors, Clarke Dunham (foreground), owner of the Railroads on Parade attraction in Pottersville, proposes ways to boost business activity in the towns of Chester and Horicon. Don Butler (rear), owner of the Panther Mountain Inn, listens to Dunham's ideas.

During a meeting Friday Dec. 2 of area business proprietors, Clarke Dunham (foreground), owner of the Railroads on Parade attraction in Pottersville, proposes ways to boost business activity in the towns of Chester and Horicon. Don Butler (rear), owner of the Panther Mountain Inn, listens to Dunham's ideas. Photo by Thom Randall.

— With a mission of boosting local commerce and tourism, local citizens representing area enterprises are forming a new group, tentatively called the Tri-Lakes Business Alliance.

About a dozen people interested in launching the organization met Friday Dec. 2 at the Panther Mountain Inn in Chestertown.

The organization is to represent business interests in the municipalities of Chestertown, Brant Lake, Pottersville, and Adirondack, including the settlements surrounding Friends Lake, Loon Lake and Brant Lake.

The tentative goal of the group is to generate more business activity in the towns of Chester and Horicon. Objectives to accomplish the goal were discussed at the Dec. 2 meeting.

The momentum for forming the group occurred this fall after four businesses in Chestertown closed operations – Becky's Bloomers floral shop, Adirondack Ural motorcycle dealiership, Anywheres Diner and Bagel Girls Deli. These four followed the closure of a dozen others in recent years.

Initial ideas to revive commerce in the North Warren area proposed Dec. 2 include establishing shuttle services to the train depots in North Creek and Riparius as well as communities in southern Warren County, pursuing grants that provide incentives for businesses to locate here, lining up loans and grants for downtown building renovations and upgrades, and lobbying local government for progress on infrastructure, including constructing a municipal sewer system for downtown Chestertown.

Without such a sewer system, restaurants are unable -- under state health laws -- to start up new operations in town.

Other ideas included lobbying state officials to provide exemptions to restrictive and expensive mandates and building codes that now hamper commecial development.

One idea discussed at the Nov. 2 meeting was making Pottersville more pedestrian-friendly by utilizing traffic-calming strategies such as constructing berms or islands to keep trucks and vehicles from speeding through the hamlet.

Another idea was for the town of Chester to pass a law that would prohibit truckers from using Jake Brakes – which make a loud chattering noise – when passing through Pottersville and/or other hamlets in town.

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