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Local group is putting ideas into action

The Tiki Torch Zumbathon, an event that raised money to build a handicap-accessible treehouse along the Saranac River Trail, drew more than 100 people to the City Beach June 29.

The Tiki Torch Zumbathon, an event that raised money to build a handicap-accessible treehouse along the Saranac River Trail, drew more than 100 people to the City Beach June 29. Photo by Shaun Kittle.

“The effort is to show there is vision and conversion to action,” said Bob Smith, chairman of Vision 2 Action. “We want to make this a vibrant community and show people that they can be a part of this greater force to make change.”

Smith has been involved from day one and said that V2A, with the help of the Clinton County Development Corporation, was set up to facilitate conversations between individuals and grassroots organizations on how to bring people to Plattsburgh, and keep them there.

Evaluating projects that were close to completion was the first step.

“Sometimes when you take on a new project, it can seem overwhelming,” Smith said. “What we’ve done is identify specific things that are close to a positive tipping point so we can help finish them and build momentum.”

Two years ago, the Saranac River Trail could only be seen as a blue print, carefully drawn from the minds of those who had envisioned it.

Through volunteerism, fund raising and community involvement, V2A has helped the first phase of the much-used river trail become a reality, and has also raised money for ongoing repairs to the Strand Theatre.

More recently, on June 29, the inaugural “Take Pride in Plattsburgh Tiki Torch Zumbathon Fundraiser” at the City Beach attracted more than 100 participants to raise money to build a handicap-accessible treehouse along the river trail.

Local zumba instructor and V2A member Ashley Cousens helped lead the movements of the participating zumba-holics, who were accompanied by thumping music, flickering tiki torches and a bonfire for making

s’mores.

Cousens was wearing her workout attire and standing barefoot in the sand when she made a sweeping motion toward Lake Champlain with her arm.

“Just look at this beach, it’s beautiful,” she said. “What other area has this? We need to invest in our community and attract people to the area.”

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