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Lake George mayor: ‘No deal’ on returning partial park ownership

Lake George Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson reacts when he hears Aug. 1 from Lake George Village Mayor Robert Blais (foreground) that the village is unwilling to sell back any of its shares in the Charles Wood Park — shares that it obtained from the town last year.

Lake George Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson reacts when he hears Aug. 1 from Lake George Village Mayor Robert Blais (foreground) that the village is unwilling to sell back any of its shares in the Charles Wood Park — shares that it obtained from the town last year. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Turning away from a tentative agreement made two months ago, Lake George Village leaders don’t want to give up any portion of the 38 percent of the Charles Wood Park they own to allow the town to regain ownership, Mayor Blais announced Wednesday Aug. I.

His announcement — that the village was backing off its earlier pledge to redistribute ownership in even thirds between the county, town and village — surprised and irked county leaders, as well as Lake George Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson.

“I’m disappointed and upset,” Dickinson said. “We all should be equal players in the project.”

Glens Falls Ward 5 Supervisor Bill Kenny characterized the apparent lack of cooperation as “childish.”

Blais made the announcement soon after county Administrator Paul Dusek detailed what the shares were worth, and how much money the three municipalities would exchange to reallocate the shares and settle up lingering inter-municipal debts.

The one-third-each financial settlement called for the town pay $529,770 to purchase 33 shares from the county, and for the village to pay the county $103,184 to give up 5 shares to the town.

Mayor Blais said that for the village to pay to give up its shares – which it obtained at a hefty discount – was a bad deal for village citizens.

“We’ve made some very good business decisions — we got a good deal, and we don’t want to spend any money to decrease our ownership position,“ Blais said.

The discord over ownership has roots in the Town of Lake George’s action, under a previous administration, to sell its 19 percent portion to the village for $210,000, after a dispute erupted about what buildings in the park’s festival space should be demolished.

Since the project’s inception, Warren County has owned 62 percent of the park, with the town and village each starting out with 19 percent. The village’s share doubled to 38 percent with the sale, was underwritten by environmental groups.

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