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Capital Region Economic Development Council and Secretary of State Join Local Officials to Unveil Plans for Charles R. Wood Lake George Environmental Park

(July 30, 2013)

Capital Region Economic Development Council and Secretary of State Join Local Officials to Unveil Plans for Charles R. Wood Lake George Environmental Park

The Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC) and Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales today joined with officials from Warren County and the Village of Lake George to unveil construction plans for the Charles R. Wood Lake George Environmental Park. The nearly $6 million project, which is moving forward on the strength of a $1,131,000 award through Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative, will create a 12-acre Environmental Park in the Village of Lake George and has the potential to create more than 100 construction jobs.

“We commend the Village of Lake George, the Lake George Association and the FUND for Lake George and the Lake George Land Conservancy for transforming this abandoned amusement park into a vibrant open space,” said Capital Region Economic Development Co-Chairs James Barba, President and CEO of Albany Medical Center and Robert Jones, President of the University at Albany. “The project connects the unique cultural and historic landmarks of Warren County while stimulating economic vitality, protecting the environment and expanding tourism.”

Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales said, “I am proud that the Department of State could be a part of this effort, and pleased that the Environmental Protection Fund’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program is a partner in the revitalization of Warren County and the Village of Lake George, while also contributing to the economic development of the region”

The Village of Lake George and Warren County will construct the Charles R. Wood Lake George Environmental Park, a 12-acre park on the site of the former Gaslight Village Amusement Park in the heart of the village. The new Park will include interactive exhibits that teach visitors about the way water shapes people’s everyday lives. Park design also focuses on elements including festival space, nature trails, fitness walks, interpretive signage, an interactive water fountain and playground area for children, and a skateboard park. Additionally, the Park will include sidewalks connecting to the Beach Road and the Warren County Bike Path.

“This project is one of the largest initiatives undertaken in Lake George” said Lake George Village Mayor Bob Blais. “By enhancing the Village of Lake George, we are protecting our most valuable economic asset in the region. We would not be able to accomplish this without the assistance of Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council and the Department of State.”

The Lake George Environmental Park is a joint project of the Village of Lake George, Warren County, and three Environmental organizations including the Lake George Association, The FUND for Lake George, and the Lake George Land Conservancy. The project has been overseen by a Project Management Executive Committee (PMEC) that has worked various stakeholders, the general public and a consulting team to prepare a concept plan for the development of a new 12-acre public open space – the Lake George Environmental Park.

The environmental park will be constructed on the site of the former Gaslight Village Amusement Park, an abandoned amusement park in the heart of the Village of Lake George that has been closed to the public since 1989. The project will open the 12 acres to the public and provide a unique and beautiful open space with recreational and educational elements designed to entertain visitors of all ages and abilities. The PMEC has secured additional access through a land swap that will connect this site to Beach Road, which in turn will increase connectivity between the Environmental Park and the Central Business District, village docks and shoreline walk. This momentous new park project together with the local attractions such as Lake George itself, Fort William Henry, Lake George Battlefield, and Million Dollar Beach will stimulate economic development at both the local and regional levels.

This project will help to revitalize the downtown while acting as an economic driver for the region and demonstrating environmental, scenic and economic improvements to the Lake George watershed. In addition, the project will advance local and regional goals for protecting water quality and expanding lake related tourism.

In 2011, Governor Cuomo redefined the State’s approach to economic development by establishing 10 Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) across the State. The REDC and Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process have transformed economic development in New York State, creating a statewide framework for bottom-up regional economic growth.

The Lake George Environmental Park was awarded a $381,000 Environmental Protection Fund Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (EPF LWRP) grant as part of the first round of the CFA process in 2011 and it received a $750,000 EPF LWRP grant as part of the second round process, for a total of $1,131,000 from the New York State Department of State’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. Additionally, the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) has awarded the project $400,000 through the REDC for “stabilized turf” within the Park, which is designed to sustain heavy equipment and vehicle use.

The Department of State works in partnership with more than 300 communities across the State through the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, from Sag Harbor on Long Island’s east end to Buffalo along Lake Erie to address numerous waterfront issues, such as economic development, protecting natural resources and enhancing public access opportunities.

The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s transformative approach to State investment and economic development. The Councils are public-private partnerships composed of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. As a result of the first two rounds of awards, $1.5 billion in investments has been awarded to support more than 1,400 regionally significant economic development and community revitalization projects that are creating or helping to retain an estimated 75,000 jobs across the Empire State and generating investments to grow the economy. For more information on the regional councils, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

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