Historic Saranac Lake sent the following letter to the Editor of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise on July 14, 2011 regarding the village's plan to rent the Power and Light Building and the Water Department building to biotech businesses.

July 14, 2011

To the editor:

Historic Saranac Lake congratulates Mayor Rabideau and the Village Board of Trustees on the recently announced plan to bring two biotech firms to Saranac Lake. We are particularly pleased that the project involves rehabilitating and finding new use for two historic downtown buildings. This is a special opportunity to revitalize downtown by pursuing the complementary goals of job growth and historic preservation.

Of particular importance is the Paul Smiths Power and Light Building, now the location of the village offices. Built in 1927, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this was the headquarters of Paul Smith's major operations. The building is architecturally significant for its outstanding neo-classical design, its rare and distinctive terra-cotta exterior, and its gracious large steel frame windows. These distinctive windows should be restored, or if need be, replaced with accurate replicas. To quote the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, “…where historic windows are individually significant features, or where they contribute to the character of significant facades, their distinguishing visual qualities must not be destroyed."

We are encouraged by early signs that the village intends to preserve the historic character of the buildings. Mayor Rabideau has stated that the village is committed to maintaining their historical integrity, and we are pleased to learn that the Community Development office will be submitting the rehabilitation plan to the State Office for Historic Preservation for the necessary approval in order to be eligible for state funding.

This exciting project is an important step in revitalizing Saranac Lake’s downtown. Jobs and businesses tend to come and go, but our buildings, if taken care of, are here to stay, and they are an important part of what makes Saranac Lake a special place. We look forward to working with the village to build Saranac Lake’s future by preserving our unique architecture and history.


Amy Catania Executive Director Historic Saranac Lake 89 Church Street, Suite 2 Saranac Lake, NY 12983 (518)891-4606 www.historicsaranaclake.org www.hsl.wikispot.org