LAC SARANAC – The village began construction on Monday on new public bathrooms in the Pontiac parking lot on Broadway. The lot where the toilets will go is expected to be closed for the next two months.
MJ Raymond Construction workers were literally digging the ground on Monday – the crew used a giant saw to cut lines across the asphalt parking lot where the bathrooms will go.
The bathrooms are part of the village’s larger Berkeley Green park project, funded through a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant and tax incentive package. in Saranac Lake by the state in 2018. The village received $4.3 million for public projects through the DRI and the village’s director of community development, Jamie Konkoski, estimated that the two-bathroom building baths would cost around $467,000.
That parking lot will be closed for about two months as crews begin digging the ground to begin laying the foundation and bringing in utilities, according to Konkoski. The bathrooms themselves, however, will not be completed and open for use until next year.
Konkoski said people can park in the Dorsey Street parking lot and the police department parking lot on Main Street overnight. There is also limited time parking at the Main Street (formerly Sears) parking lot.
How will the bathrooms be?
One bathroom will be 88 square feet and the other will be 74 square feet. The largest room will be accessible to people with reduced mobility. Both are gender neutral bathrooms.
The complete building will include a covered walkway, water fountains and a maintenance room. The village council has discussed the times and times of the year when the bathrooms will be open. The council will have to decide how often the bathrooms will be cleaned and when before officially setting those times.
The restrooms will be located in the front corner of the parking lot, behind the Berkeley Green bandstand, and will occupy three parking spaces and the corner of the parking lot. This doesn’t narrow the entrance to the lot much, as the building was limited to the size of the parking spaces, but the entrance to the lot is very narrow initially.
“It’s a weird car park because it’s not a real car park. It’s a building that burned down. said Konkoski. “The retaining wall was an old foundation. The old Pontiac hotel. That’s why we call it the Pontiac parking lot.
“The dimensions of the car park, why is it so difficult to get in and out of it? Because it’s not really a parking lot. We just use it because that’s what we do when buildings burn down,” she says.
Konkoski said the village hopes to postpone this bathroom project so as not to disrupt busy summer activities in this area of the village, but other DRI projects – such as the Woodruff Street Streetscape project and the River Walk extension. – have stalled due to permits, easements and utility snafus, so since the bathrooms were ready to go, they are done now. Still, she says, the main disturbance should only be noise during working hours.
Konkoski said she would share updates from all DRI projects on social media platforms and the village website.
Other DRI projects are starting
Last week landscaping work began at William Morris Park at the corner of Bloomingdale Avenue and Depot Street. Crews there ripped up trees and topsoil and began to re-level the ground. More information about this project is available at https://bit.ly/3PsllPQ.
The Main Street and Broadway urban forestry project is tentatively scheduled to begin on Monday. This will involve planting trees along the street and realigning the intersection of Main Street and Broadway in an effort to improve traffic safety.
Konkoski described this as transforming the “O” intersection in a “T” intersection. To create this new shape, she said the sidewalk in front of the Surgical Eye Care offices will be widened to open out onto the street, creating a plaza-style space on the corner.
Although this narrows the road at the intersection, Konkoski said engineers believe it will have a positive impact on traffic safety at the strange and often confusing intersection.
“People who are not from here do not know what to do” she said of the current intersection. “I saw people turn around there.”
The road is so wide, she said, that motorists are not guided as to where they should go. She said the changes will create a more traditional intersection.
There will be a stop sign on the section of Main Street for vehicles coming from Church Street to stop before turning right on Broadway or left on the remainder of Main Street.
“Contractors will be working during the day and keeping the site clean during off hours due to events centered on downtown Saranac Lake,” Konkoski wrote in a press release.
The village plans to have all of its DRI projects completed by the end of next year.
Anyone with questions about these projects can contact Konkoski at 518-891-4150 ext. 235 or [email protected]