100 Years of Improvements

Editorial by the Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Publisher Catherine Moore, Managing Editor Peter Crowley. (Originally published asThis Society Has Clearly Improved Its Village”. Reprinted with permission from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise | April 17, 2010)

Saranac Lake’s Village Improvement Society has lived up to its name in its 100 years, and that’s as much as you can ask of a grassroots group.

The multitude of parks the VIS established over its 10 decades, faithfully following the 1907 Olmsted Plan, have made this village more beautiful, which gives immeasurable refreshment to the souls of residents and visitors alike.

Now we have a Lake Flower waterfront we can see, surrounded by grass and trees and boat launches.

We have a river we can not only see (and not smell, as when the river was largely a garbage dump) but also happily walk along, fish in or float down in a canoe or kayak.

We have an arboretum on Olive Street, although it could use labeling of its various trees and some cleaning up of cut wood and litter. Natural woods are nice, but to raise something to the level of arboretum requires a little extra effort. This would be an excellent project for some eager students.

We have little parks and gardens scattered throughout the village in pockets (one is even named Vest Pocket Park) that are too small for anything else – so why not tuck in some benches, trees or flowers?

We have the VIS’s annual awards for businesses and homes that look particularly nice.

And we have the example set by VIS’s many members over the years that if you want something done, by golly, go out and do it. If you think a piece of land should be preserved, then raise the money and buy it. If you think a place should be cleaned up, clean it up. If a triangle in the middle of an intersection is just wasted space but would look great with some flowers, plant them. If the village board or a business owner ought to do something about a public nuisance, whether dangerous or just offensive, let them know about it as a concerned neighbor.

The VIS has attracted some new members over the last decade or two, but they are getting old. Why don’t you join? Or donate? They could use the money.

As Saranac Lakers list the many things they have to be thankful for, a century of village improvement by this group should be in there somewhere.