LAKE PLACID — The North Elba Local Improvement and Advancement Fund committee is awarding nearly $800,000 to 16 local organizations for projects to benefit the community, from improving nature trails to building a set of affordable housing.
The North Elba City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the third round of LEAF grant recipients. Councilor Emily Politi recused herself. Politi sits on the board of the Homestead Development Corporation, which received its second grant in this round of LEAF funding. Councilman Rick Preston, who is currently school board chair for the Lake Placid Central School District, was absent for the vote.
Two rounds of LEAF grants were distributed last year, with a total of more than $1.3 million for local organizations. Two of the organizations that received money in the third round – Homestead Development Corporation, Lake Placid Municipal Electric – also received funding in the second round. The Village of Lake Placid has received funding in all three rounds of LEAF grants.
The grants are funded by revenue generated from the county’s 5% Occupancy Tax – a tax levied on all stays in hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and short-term vacation rentals in the county of Essex. Of the 5% tax, approximately 3% goes to the Regional Sustainable Tourism Office and 2% goes into a fund that distributes money to each of Essex County’s 18 towns. The county also retains a portion of the revenue to pay for administrative costs.
The 16 organizations approved for funding through the second round of LEAF grants include:
¯ Homestead Development Corporation, $125,000 for affordable housing development in Lake Placid
¯ Village of Lake Placid, $69,595 for winter decorations and $50,000 for playground improvements at McKinley Park
¯ Lake Placid Central School District, $100,000 for community schools program to support local families
¯ Village of Saranac Lake, $80,000 for a matching grant program to help the Lake Flower Business District improve the Flower Lake Corridor
¯ Educational Opportunity Fund, $80,000 for Year 5 Albany Annual Field Trip
¯ Lake Placid Municipal Electric Department, $75,000 for electric vehicle charging stations in the Main Street parking lot
¯ Lake Placid Horse Show Association, Inc., $50,000 for electrical upgrades to the front area of the North Elba Horse Show Grounds
¯ Pendragon Theatre, $25,000 to expand summer programming
¯ St. Agnes School, $25,000 to upgrade electrical, heating and air conditioning systems
¯ Ecumenical Charity Program, $23,600 for device, storage and technical upgrades
¯ Lake Placid Public Library, $20,000 to renovate the ramp entrance to make it more accessible to people with disabilities
¯ Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department, $20,000 to purchase a utility all-terrain vehicle for rough terrain rescues
¯ New York Ski Education Foundation, $20,000 for a new van
¯ Ausable River Association, $33,320 to fund the second year of a five-year funding commitment for regular water quality and biological monitoring of Mirror Lake
¯ Mirror Lake Watershed Association, $9,216 to extend the association’s stewardship training days at the Mirror Lake boat launch
¯ Barkeater Trails Alliance, $7,500 for trail improvements in two areas of the Jackrabbit Trail
City Supervisor Derek Doty thanked the LEAF Committee — the 11-person committee that selects grant recipients for approval by city council — for their work.
“I believe we’re getting deeper with each round, and this round feels like we’re adhering to the mission statement even better,” said Doty.