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APA approves variance for LP bandshell project

The state Adirondack Park Agency has granted a variance for organizers behind a project to construct a new bandshell at Mid's Park in Lake Placid.

Susan Parker, a staffer with the Agency's Regulatory Programs department, told commissioners Thursday the project meets the necessary guidelines and actually makes the new bandshell a legal structure under the APA Act.

Parker says the current bandshell, constructed in 1976, was built outside of the Agency's scope.

The project's organizers, Bill Billerman and Jamie Rogers, say the new bandshell will be handicapped-accessible and its earth-toned design fits better with its surroundings.

The new structure sits snugly in one corner of the park, providing more green space, and also can fit more musicians onstage.

According to Parker, the project carries few environmental concerns. The plans required a variance because the bandshell sits within the APA's 50-foot shoreline setback.

There is space for the bandshell outside the setback, but that would take away from the natural amphitheater that exists at Mid's Park.

Rogers was village mayor in Lake Placid when the project began taking shape. He said receiving a variance allows organizers to commence with fundraising.

"With that, we can start our fundraising project," Rogers said. "If we can meet our goal by this fall it is our hope that we can remove the existing bandshell and start some of the foundation work."

Rogers says the window of opportunity for construction is slim because of winter, so it will probably take two seasons for work to complete.

The project will cost between $200,000 and $250,000, Rogers says.

"We're still working on that final number," he said. "We will have to go out to bid, we have to follow municipal law, because even though Mr. Billerman and myself are working on the project, the village is the lead agency."

Rogers says the project is being supported by the village of Lake Placid, the town of North Elba, and the Joint Review Board - he adds that the community has been engaged throughout the planning process.

If all goes according to plan, the new bandshell will be ready to use by June 2012.

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