TUPPER LAKE-The L.P. Quinn Elementary School cafeteria was packed the afternoon of March 16 during a public hearing over the proposed Adirondack Club & Resort project in Tupper Lake.
Dozens of community members, business owners, politicians and other leaders from throughout the Adirondacks spoke during the afternoon and evening hearings. The overwhelming majority were in support of the Adirondack Club and Resort project proposed for the Big Tupper Ski Area.
Melissa McManus of the Tupper Lake Revitalization Committee asked the state Adirondack Park Agency to send a message that "appropriate development can happen here, that Adirondacks are still open for business and that there is in fact hope for Adirondack communities like Tupper Lake."
APA Chairman Curt Stiles and several commissioners attended the meeting, as did lead developer Michael Foxman and his partners.
Many of the speakers at the hearing cited the economic woes in Tupper Lake, including the lack of jobs, the decline of once thriving industries and the closure of many local businesses in their appeal for a speedy APA approval of the project.
Supporters argued that the resort, which would include a revamped ski area and a subdivision, would bring in hundreds of jobs and reverse Tupper Lake's declining economic trends.
Others speakers emphasized the need for increased private sector investment in the region to replace government jobs that have or will be slashed as a result of the state's fiscal problems.
Ricky Dattola, a speaker who said he was in favor of the resort proposal, asked everyone who supported the project to stand up. Nearly everyone who was seated rose to their feet.
Dozens of ACR supporters wore homemade signs on their shirts that read, "Yes ACR," while others brandished homemade posters and flags in a show of support.
Mary Sparks is a former principal of L.P. Quinn Elementary and a lifelong resident of Tupper Lake.