My first impression, as I pulled into the agency’s parking lot, in Ray Brook, early on a bone-chilling, Adirondack morning, were the protesters, or rather, the lack of them.
A portion of the lot was cordoned off with barricades to corral the expected protesters, but there was just one, lone soul standing in the cold, holding a placard. He was masked against the cold rather than for anonymity, and his sign read, ‘Save the Adk’s’, ‘There’s too much development’.
Something didn’t sit right. But when I interviewed him, and discovered he was from Long Island, it all began to make sense. Development wears a different mask on Long Island.
Entering the conference room, I noted it was surprisingly empty, with less than half the available seats occupied. I wondered, “Does this reflect a lack of interest after eight years, or is it a signal of capitulation for what many believe, is a foregone conclusion. ”
Although there were a few of the regular APA followers, and the advocacy group members in attendance, it seemed that there were far more media types than concerned citizens.
Following preliminaries, including the introduction of Dan Kelleher, the agency’s new Special Assistant for Economic Affairs, the meeting got off to a quick start.
Kelleher was soon on deck, providing the board with a comprehensive financial analysis of the proposed development, complete with projections for the estimated sale of properties, work force development opportunities and a full spectrum of associated economic impact issues.
Commissioners scrutinized these economic projections and promptly questioned Kelleher about issues involving the complex financing, PILOT’s, sales projections, labor costs and other financial issues surrounding the mega-resort project.
Commissioner Booth expressed his belief that the stated sales projections were unrealistic and inflated, and will result in undue adverse impact. Although Mr. Kelleher eventually explained the analysis to the satisfaction of most of the board, he often had the appearance of a deer caught in the headlights. Welcome to the APA, Mr. Kelleher.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.