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Saranac Lake goal to fill upper floors

— The Preservation League of New York State held a workshop Sept. 20 intended to help owners of downtown structures fill their often vacant or underutilized upper floors.

Workshop leaders advocated placing tenants and offices in these upper floors, and finding other mixed uses for downtown buildings, according to Erin Tobin, the Preservation League’s regional director of technical and grant programs for eastern New York.

“It’s primarily about putting people back on main street so that building owners aren’t relying solely on commercial storefront tenants,” Tobin said, adding that while the workshop was oriented toward the needs of Saranac Lake, the lessons taught at the event could be applied elsewhere.

The event is geared toward helping the community, said Amy Catania, executive director of Historic Saranac Lake, a sponsor of the event.

“It’s trying to focus on preserving and revitalizing main street,” Catania said.

The workshop, entitled “Enhancing Main Street: Making upper floors work again,” will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Saranac Laboratory Museum, 89 Church St.

This program will provide immediately useful information for property owners, developers, and preservation professionals, including historic site managers, architects, consultants and accountants dealing with preservation project financing.

This workshop — open to people from any community, not just Saranac Lake — is in high demand across New York state, and this is the only time it is being offered in the North County in 2011. While the workshop is free, seating is limited, and participants must register by Sept. 16.

The workshop will include a number of featured presenters. Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau will welcome participants to the program; Historic Preservation Program Analyst William Krattinger from the NYS Historic Preservation Office will discuss the advantages of Historic District designation; Joe Fama, architect and Executive Director of the Troy Architectural Program in Troy, will explain how New York’s building codes and preservation can work together; Karl Gustafson of NYS Homes and Community Renewal will provide information on the New York State Main Street Program; Gary Beasley, Executive Director of Neighbors of Watertown, will discuss making the best use of upper floors.

The workshop is presented by the Preservation League of New York State and sponsored by Historic Saranac Lake; Adirondack Architectural Heritage; Empire State Development Corp.; NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation; and NYS Homes and Community Renewal.

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