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Saranac Lake, North Elba to turn landfills into playing fields

The village of Saranac Lake and town of North Elba are applying for a state grant to build recreational fields on top of their landfills, which closed in the 1990s. Above is the Saranac Lake village landfill.

The village of Saranac Lake and town of North Elba are applying for a state grant to build recreational fields on top of their landfills, which closed in the 1990s. Above is the Saranac Lake village landfill. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— The village of Saranac Lake and town of North Elba are joining forces to turn their old landfills into recreational fields.

Both municipalities are listed on a state grant written by Matt McNamara, junior planner at the Essex County Office of Community Resources and Planning. The grant deadline is Monday, July 16.

Saranac Lake Village Board members July 9 approved a resolution supporting the grant application. North Elba Town Board members were expected to approve the grant application during their July 10 meeting at the North Elba Town House in Saranac Lake. The town of North Elba is the applicant.

McNamara and Saranac Lake Community Development Director Jeremy Evans were at the Village Board meeting to answer questions about the project.

“This was an opportunity that came up because the town of North Elba was looking to do something similar … and since the landfill is in the town of North Elba, we saw an opportunity to join up and have one stronger application,” Evans said.

McNamara agreed that this application has a better chance of being successful because North Elba and Saranac Lake are working together.

“You will basically have a more compelling application if you have some collaboration between municipalities on projects,” McNamara said. “In this case I think there is a very strong case for a tourism component that is coming from rugby games and lacrosse games, and we’ve gotten a lot of feedback from the organizers saying that if there is more space available, more teams are coming, we can guarantee you that.”

During an interview before the meeting, Evans said the village would like to eventually build three playing fields at the old landfill, which is located off McKenzie Pond Road. The landfill was capped in 1996.

“There really is a shortage of fields in the community, not only for the local youth programs but for things like rugby,” Evans said.

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