By PETE KLEIN
Express News Staff
INDIAN LAKE - A series of Hamlets 3 meetings in Indian Lake, Blue Mountain Lake and Long Lake presented ideas for development that could radically change their futures.
"Hamlets 3" is a guidebook developed by Roger Trancik and Bill Johnston of Urban Design Consultants, Ithaca, for Adirondack Community Housing Trust and Essex County. It is a planning and design model for the smart growth of hamlets in the Adirondack Park.
The proposals presented Sept. 27 and 28 include alternative design plans for downtown Indian Lake, including creating a four-corner intersection where state routes 28 and 30 meet by building a new road leading north to connect with Bennett Road at Adirondack Lake. This new road could possibly spur housing development along it and end with a new Adirondack Lake public beach and park.
In Blue Mountain Lake, plans showcased the potential for a destination hotel of 100 or more rooms across Rt. 30 from The Adirondack Museum, on property now owned by the museum.
In Long Lake the plan calls for improving Jennings Memorial Pond Park, including a parking lot at the site of the current Long Lake Highway Garage, which will be closed once a new garage is built near the transfer station. The plan would enhance the nature trail, sports park and public beach, add trail links to the school and library, create a nodal trail system of boat docks and gazebo decks to potentially link the small islands and add an amphitheater and gardens to the sports area.
Trancik said these ideas were the result of surveys taken and meetings held during Hamlets 2. More surveys were taken at the Hamlet 3 meetings, with specific questions about the plans presented.
About 25 members of the public attended the meeting at Indian Lake Town Hall and about 12 attended the one in Blue Mt. Lake, held at the museum. Over 30 turned out for the meeting at Long Lake Central School.
A LENGTHY PROCESS
Trancik said the planning process in Hamlets 3 began in 2007 and looked at the hamlets as micro-urban centers. Expanding the size of the hamlets was considered as a means to foster growth, but so was "internal expansion."
"Expanding hamlets does not always mean expanding out. It can include using what is not being utilized within the current hamlet," Trancik explained.
Trancik said any economic plans should recognize how the hamlets have changed since first created in the 1700s and 1800s. "In the 18th century the hamlets had a closed but year-round economy," he said. "Now their economies are mostly seasonal."
Trancik and Johnston emphasized the ideas they presented are meant to further the thinking process. What might or might not be done with any of the plans is left to the residents.
THE NEXT STEP
While there was no strong support for any of the plans presented in Indian and Blue Mountain lakes, neither was there any strong opposition. The Long Lake group seemed supportive and very interested in continuing the conversation.
The plans now need to be discussed, tweaked or completely dismissed in favor of different ideas.
A report on the meetings is expected before the end of October. There will be a meeting of all the towns involved in Hamlets 3 at the Adirondack Park Agency in Ray Brook Nov. 12.
Copies of Hamlets 1, 2 and 3 are available online from Adirondack Community Housing Trust at www.adkhousing.org; click on HAMLETS 3 at the top right of the page.