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Progress cited in forming Lake George Business District

Visitors walk through downtown Lake George on a recent Fourth of July weekend. In an attempt to lengthen the tourist season, enhance the area's attractiveness as a destination and boost the region's prosperity, village officials are seeking to establish a Business Improvement District, make architectural standards more stringent and establish incentives to spur businesses to upgrade their storefronts.

Visitors walk through downtown Lake George on a recent Fourth of July weekend. In an attempt to lengthen the tourist season, enhance the area's attractiveness as a destination and boost the region's prosperity, village officials are seeking to establish a Business Improvement District, make architectural standards more stringent and establish incentives to spur businesses to upgrade their storefronts. Photo by Thom Randall.

— LAKE GEORGE — The initiative to form a Business Improvement District in Lake George Village moved forward this week with more than 50 merchants and property owners attending a second organizational meeting — and village officials pledging to appoint a BID steering committee.

A large percentage of attendees at both meetings expressed interest in establishing such a municipal entity, according to Anthony Capese, Executive Director of the Central Avenue BID in Albany who conducted a discussion on the formation and benefits of a Business Improvement District. Capese has also led the BID in Canandaigua, a lakeside community in western New York similar to Lake George Village.

As an outcome of the event, several business proprietors agreed to serve on a steering committee to form the BID.

A variety of questions were raised about the costs of funding the organization, as well as its interaction with local government, Capese said Tuesday April 2.

“The participants asked really insightful technical questions on membership, laws, and how businesses and individuals can work together planning and promoting to bring events into town,” he said. “They were interested in what can be accomplished, working as a strong alliance.”

A Business Improvement District is generally comprised of commercial property owners and tenants within a designated area, with an aim to promote commerce. Property owners within the district pay a special tax, which funds special events, promotions, security, cleaning and some capital projects in their zone.

After the meeting, Lake George Mayor Robert Blais said he was encouraged by the turnout and he would soon be appointing a steering committee of about a dozen individuals representing both local commercial landlords and tenants, he said.

Capese said the BID concept offered promise for Lake George, particularly if the group concentrated on marketing and event promotion.

“Lake George already has a strong brand identity,” he said. “Also, I am very impressed by the amount of support and assistant Lake George businesses receive from local government.”

It is expected the committee will meet monthly over the next year and bring a recommendation to the Village Board by late winter 2014, Blais said.

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