VIS Updates

For over 100 years, the Village Improvement Society has taken an active role in civic affairs. We work to preserve the proud legacy of our founding fore-mothers.  Recent community activities include:

December 2018: Follow us on Facebook

The Village Improvement Society’s Facebook page is a good way to keep track of VIS’s activities. By “liking” our page, VIS updates will appear in your newsfeed. If you “like” a post, you boost the post’s reach — and it’s even better if you “share” a post with your friends because it helps others learn about VIS and our good works. Our Facebook page’s web address is:

November 2017: Keeping Saranac Lake Blooming Awards

Congratulations to the winners of the Village Improvement Society’s annual “Keep Saranac Lake Blooming” Awards. Every year, VIS honors local homeowners and businesses who maintain lovely gardens and flowers. Their efforts enhance our beautiful community. This year’s residential winners are: Elle Finocan (Sunset Rd.), Kathy Fadden & Beth Hogle (Franklin Ave), Andrea Hill (Old Lake Colby Rd), Olive North (Main St.), Yvonne & Lester Parrish (Payeville Rd.), and Cathy & Dick Mose (State St.). The winners of the business awards are: Adirondack Motel, Community Bank on Broadway, Dockery Chiropractic, Piece by Piece Quilt Shop, Post Office Pharmacy, and The Waterhole.

October 2017: Join us for VIS’s End-of-Season Celebration

Please join us for VIS’s Annual End-of-Season Celebration on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7pm in the Cantwell Room at the Saranac Lake Free Library. We’ll share highlights of the year, our plans for next year and we’ll honor this year’s recipients of our “Keep Saranac Lake Blooming” awards. Refreshments will follow the presentation. We hope to see you then!








July 2017: Save Your Bottles and Cans for a Good Cause

During the month of July, North Star Industry’s Nickels Bottle Redemption Center will collect donations to give to the Village Improvement Society. Bring your returnables to the center and tell them you would like donate to VIS. Every little bit helps to Keep Saranac Lake blooming.

For more information, check out VIS’s Facebook page. While you’re there, please take a moment to “like” us.







July 2017: Did You Know…?

In addition to caring for seven VIS-owned parks in Saranac Lake, the Village Improvement Society also plants flowers throughout the Village.

The flowers in front of the Rusty Nail were planted by Donna Walsh and Jonathan Kellogg. Thanks to their efforts and the efforts of other VIS volunteers, Saranac Lake blooms every summer.

Pictured here: some young visitors to our village take a break by the Rusty Nail’s planter.






June 2017: Saranac Lake Middle School Students Clean Up Sunset Park

 Students from the Saranac Lake Middle School’s Skills for Adolesents class embarked on a field trip to VIS Sunset Park earlier this month.

Sunset Park (on Olive Street in the Village of Saranac Lake) is a certified Urban Wildlife Sanctuary. Along the arboretum’s meandering paths, one can view wildlife and over 35 varieties of Adirondack trees.

After a mini-lecture on tree species and invasive plants by VIS president, Randall Swanson, who is also a professor of forestry at Paul Smith’s College, the students explored the park then did their part to rake and clean up trash along with a few VIS volunteers. We are grateful for their assistance!

May 2017: The Glory of Spring 

Beaver Park is one of seven VIS-owned parks in Saranac Lake. It is located on the banks of the Saranac River, in back of City Hall. You can access it via Dorsey Street, right off Highway 3.

Beaver Park is a small park, named for a river bank beaver who once inhabited it.  From the Anne Tubby Memorial Gazebo that is located in the park, you can sit and enjoy the view of the town hall and spring flowers pictured here. Thanks to new Beaver Park Manager Jacob Vennie-Vollrath for his spring clean-up efforts in the park. You can also launch a canoe or kayak from the beach at the park — once the weather warms up and the river quiets down!





March 2017: Believe It or Not…

… spring is just around the corner! VIS is already planning for spring planting season. Every year, VIS provides the hanging flower baskets that beautify downtown Saranac Lake throughout the summer. We also plant flowers in beds and planters throughout the Village. In addition, we care for seven VIS-owned local parks.

We are a small volunteer organization with a LOT on our plate. Can you spare some time to help us out, either for occasional projects such as park clean-ups or for an ongoing commitment to help out with one of our parks or public relations? If you’d like to get involved or just learn more about VIS, click the “volunteer” button and fill out a simple form. You’ll find the “Volunteer” button on every page of the website. Thank you!

January 2017: Thanks for Supporting VIS!

A very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year from VIS. Thank you to everyone who supported us in 2016, both financially and/or by volunteering valuable time in our parks and gardens. We look forward to keeping Saranac Lake blooming!

Pictured left: Denny Park in the snow. This lovely park is located at the corner of Pine St. & Broadway. It was acquired by VIS in 1949. It’s a lovely addition to the Village park system and a popular site for fishing. To learn more about the history of each of VIS’s 7 parks, just click on the “VIS Parks” tab in the menu on every page of this website.



November 2016: Greens to Last the Winter

Thanks to folks from the Aktion Club for adding these beautiful greens in the Alpine platter on the corner of Broadway & Bloomingdale Ave.


We appreciate your help! — with Ricky Sullivan and Jason Borden








October 2016: Thanking Bobbie Karp

We were honored to see Bobbie Karp at our recent end-of-year celebration, and paid tribute to her for her personal contribution of time, resources, and energy on behalf of VIS over the years – as past officer, park manager, and incredible volunteer! We so appreciate all that you do and have done to help make our Saranac Lake community better. Thank you, Bobbie!





October 2016: Congratulations to the Winners!

At VIS’s Annual Community meeting, we present “Keep Saranac Lake Blooming” awards to homeowners and businesses who beautify our community with their window box flowers, pretty gardens and landscaping. Business recipients include Casa del Sol, Left Bank Cafe, Moose Maple Books & More, NBT Bank, Origin Coffee, and Wilkins Insurance Agency. Residential honorees include Doug & Jean Chamberlain, George & Marijke Cook, Connie & Rick Dennis, Kim Weems & Tom Dodd, and Holland & Janine Meads.

October 2016: Join Us for VIS’s End-of-Season Celebration!



The Village Improvement Society would like to invite members of the community to VIS’s annual end-of-the-season celebration. We’ll have a slideshow about our organization — who we are, what we do, and our long and interesting history in Saranac Lake.


The winners of the annual “Keep Saranac Lake Blooming” awards will be announced at the meeting, and refreshments will follow. Please join us at 7pm, October 19, in the Cantwell Room at the Saranac Lake Free Library.





September 2016: Keep Saranac Lake Blooming Awards


Every year, VIS honors businesses and homes that have beautiful gardens or flower plantings. If you know of a business or home that deserves this award — or you’d like to nominate your own garden– please contact us. We’d love to hear from you. Just click the “Contact” link at the top.

Pictured left: One of last year’s winners is pictured to the left. This beautiful garden was planted by Shirley Baillargeon, and the award was presented to her husband Paul in her honor.

August 2016: VIS’s Annual Appeal

If you’ve ever admired the flower plantings and hanging baskets in downtown Saranac Lake, gazed at the river from Denny or Dorsey Park or enjoyed sitting on the benches at tiny Vest Pocket Park next to the library, please consider making a donation to VIS. Not only do we provide flowers for the Village during the summer, we own and maintain seven lovely parks in the Village. (Click on “Park Map” in the Menu bar at the top of the page to see a map of VIS-owned parks.) Since 1910, VIS has dedicated itself to enhancing the natural beauty of our community. To make a donation, just click on the “Donate” button on this page. You can either make a secure online donation or mail a check to the address on the “Donate” page. Thank you!

June 2016: Sunset Park Field Trip

RandallSunset2016Students from Saranac Lake Middle School’s Skills for Adolescents program gather around VIS Park Chairperson Randall Swanson to learn about Sunset Park.

Sunset Park is one of seven VIS-owned parks in Saranac Lake. It is a certified urban wildlife sanctuary that is home to over 35 varieties of trees. The students first took an informative tour of the park, led by Professor Swanson, to learn how to identify some of the different types of trees. The next day they returned with rakes, to assist with park clean-up. Thanks to their efforts, Sunset Park looks great. If you get a chance, stop by the park to meander through its winding paths and enjoy its tranquility. It’s well worth a visit!

May 2016: Easy Ways to Make a Difference

BK-Bobbie watering2Flower season is just around the corner, and we’re looking for a few good volunteers to help out. Here are some easy ways that you might help beautify our community this summer:

  • Tending and watering the flowers in one of the four Village entry signs. This takes no more than one or two hours a week during the summer months.
  • Assisting a Park Manager tend one of our seven Village Parks. This takes no more than one or two hours a week during the summer months.
  • Participating in a Park Clean-Up Day. Park Clean-Up Days take about three hours and happen once or twice over the summer season

If you’d like to volunteer for any of these tasks or you would like to help out in another way, please sign up using the “Volunteer” form on this site. 


December 2015: Happy Holidays!

KathyFordWindowDec2015VIS Board Member Kathy Ford is Saranac Lake’s Citizen of the Year in 2015. Every holiday season, Kathy paints a beautiful Christmas window at her home on Lake Street.  

Warm wishes for a wonderful holiday on behalf of all of the VIS board, and a special thank you to everyone who contributed to our recent appeal.


November 2015: Honoring Former VIS Volunteers

Thank you to our donors. By supporting VIS’s work, they ensure that VIS’s seven parks are well-maintained and they keep our community abloom with flowers during the summer season. For over 100 years, the efforts of Village Improvement Society volunteers have benefitted our community. Each year during our fundraising campaign, we receive donations in honor of past volunteers and supporters of the Village Improvement Society. Here’s a list of honorees. Thanks again to our donors for recognizing our efforts and the efforts of former VIS members.

October 2015: VIS’s Annual Meeting

KSL Oct2015The annual community meeting of the Village Improvement Society was held on October 28 in the Cantwell Room at the Saranac Lake Free Library. More than 50 people attended the meeting.

We were happy to recognize and honor these worthy volunteers who partnered with VIS this past season: the Veterans of St. Joe’s, the Saranac Lake Middle School, Janis Beatty and Susan Rzandek, and Eagle Scout Bryan Sullivan (who is tackling the project of making new signs for our parks!) The whole community benefits because of their dedication and hard work.

The annual “Keep Saranac Lake Blooming” awards recognize homes and businesses with especially pretty gardens or flower plantings. This year’s residential winners include: Sara Johns, Glenn and Susan Arnold and Paul Baillargeon in honor of his wife Shirley. Business winners include: Art at the Pink House, Nonna Fina, McDonalds, LaBella Ristorante and Ameriprise. Congratulations — and thanks for making our community an even prettier place to live!

September 2015: New Look for a New Season

September 2015Doesn’t the NBT Circle look great? VIS volunteers Janis Beatty and Susan Rdzanek have tended the flowers all summer, and now they’ve added some fall color to welcome the new season.





August 2015: The Littlest Park

VPP Aug 2015Vest Pocket Park is located right next to the Saranac Lake Library, and although it is the smallest of VIS’s seven parks, it is the one that is used the most. On summer days, the benches are occupied by people who are enjoying the day or using the Library’s wi-fi (which can be accessed from the park). Thanks to Park Manager Jenni Evans, Vest Pocket Park is looking especially nice this year. Read the history of this little but well-loved park.





July 2015: Lookin’ good!

NBT CircleThanks to VIS volunteers Janis Beatty and Susan Rdzanek for planting and tending the NBT Circle, at the intersection of Brandbrook and Lake Flower Ave, near NBT Bank. It’s a beautiful way to welcome guests and residents to the Village. The flamingos add a bit of fun and are definitely nicer than geese!





June 2015: VIS Donates New Trees for Downtown

Hahn&Sweeney - 1Life on the streets is tough, as our downtown trees can attest. This spring, the Village Improvement Society of Saranac Lake offered to split the cost of 8 replacement trees to be planted along our downtown streets. In the photo to the left, VIS President Susan Hahn presents the donation to Village Manager John Sweeney.

VIS Board members Roger Steinbrueck, co-owner of Scotts Florist, and Randall Swanson, Paul Smith’s College Associate Professor of Forestry in the Arboriculture & Landscape Management Program, contributed their horticultural expertise in the selection of trees that were best suited to the downtown locations – varieties that were appropriately sized, attractive, and hearty enough to withstand life on the street. The trees were recently planted by Village of Public Works employees.

The eight new trees include three “Autumn Brilliance” Serviceberry trees (Amelanchier arborea), two Japenese White Lilac Trees (Syringa Recticulata), two “Northern Acclaim” Honey Locust trees (Gleditsia Triancanthos), and one “Canada Red” Chokecherry tree (Prunus Virginiana). A guide for the care of these new trees was prepared by VIS and distributed to Jeremy Evans, Community Development Director for the Village of Saranac Lake.

June 2015: Have you seen this jar?

VISDonationJar-1VIS Donation Jars have been placed on the counters at many local businesses. If you see a jar on the counter, it’s an easy way to donate money to help defray the cost of the hanging baskets and many of the flower plantings that beautify our community during the summer season. VIS is very grateful for the assistance of the Aktion Club — sponsored by the the Kiwanis Club. Aktion Club members placed the jars on the counters and they are now collecting and counting weekly donations. VIS is grateful to local merchants for allowing the jars to be placed on their counters. If you see a jar and have change to spare, please drop it in. Every little bit helps!


May 2015: Those Beautiful Hanging Baskets

KFflowerbasketEvery summer, the Village Improvement Society of Saranac Lake buys flowers and plants the hanging baskets that beautify downtown Saranac Lake all summer long. The hanging baskets show our visitors how proud we are of our great community. This year, VIS is proud to donate 30 hanging baskets to the Village, more than ever before. Thanks to the Downtown Advisory Board for helping us with this project and thanks to the Village of Saranac Lake for watering the baskets during the summer season.







April 2015: Denny Park Clean-Up

DennyParkCleanupVIS Park Chair and Denny Park Manager Randall Swanson brought his Paul Smith’s class to Denny Park to help clean up the park as the semester’s final lab project. The students learned pruning techniques and helped remove invasive species. Some students took chainsaws up into the trees while others raked debris and pruned the shrubbery. Thanks to their efforts, Denny Park looks great! You can read the full story in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise’s article titled Paul Smith’s Students Help Maintain Park.


December 2014: VIS Thanks Saranac Lake

The Village Improvement Society of Saranac Lake would like to extend sincerest thanks and gratitude to our community — to the business owners, service providers, residents and visitors alike — who provided volunteer labor and donations of goods and services in 2014. We would also like to thank those who responded to our recent annual appeal,  supporting our mission to care for parks and to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of our community.

We would especially like to recognize the following groups, businesses and individuals for their assistance: Kiwanis Club of Saranac Lake’s Aktion Club members for assisting with the distribution and collection of VIS donation jars that support the hanging flower baskets. We would also like to thank the following businesses for allowing us to place a jar on their counters: Adirondack Trading Co., Ampersound, Blue Line Sports Shop, B.L.D, Blue Moon Cafe, the Community Store, Eco Living, T.F. Finnigan, Fusion Market, Pink, Major Plowshares, Post Office Pharmacy, Rice Furniture, Romano’s Saranac Lanes, Saranac Lake Discount Liquors, Two Horse Trading Co. and Willy Nilly.

We would also like to thank the Village of Saranac Lake for watering the downtown flower baskets and barrels during July and August; Coakley High Peaks Ace Hardware and Willy Nilly for donating plants for River Walk; Bill Madden for transporting the flower barrels; Jeremy Evans, Mark Weller and Sturdy Supply for assisting with the hanging flower baskets; Tim Fortune, Mark Coleman, T. F. Finnegan, Tri-Lakes Home Medical Supply and OTB for assistance with watering flower barrels; Joan Goldthwaite for assistance with spring planting; Sarah Granquist and Dave Siegrist for tending the Route 3 welcome sign; Tracey Schrader for tending the Welcome Garden; Sue Grimm and Jean Grimm for tending Prospect Corner; Hannah O’Connor for tending the Turtle Pond welcome sign; Greg Moore for supplying water for Vest Pocket Park; Will Ellsworth and students from Saranac Lake High School for spring cleanup work in Sunset Park; Chris Alcocer for supplying evergreens for the winter season and Pattie Randolph-Clark for placing the greens in planters; Amy Catania and Margaret Worden for assistance with the VIS park tour; Beth Benson and Boushie and Associates for helpful legal advice; and Brittany Proulx and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise for press coverage.

VIS is also very grateful to Scott’s Florist for their ongoing assistance and gardening advice and to Roger Pratt of Pratt Property Services for his extra care of VIS parks. We would also like to give special thanks to our Park Managers Jenny Evans, Gina DuMond, Emily Tyner, Ellen George, Randall Swanson and Meg Van Dyck-Holmes and to Hilary Smith, for her service on the VIS Board of Directors.

October 2014: VIS Annual Meeting
BK-Bobbie watering2Everyone is invited to attend the Annual Meeting of the Village Improvement Society, October 22 at 7pm in the Cantwell Room at the Saranac Lake Free Library.

Learn more about our 104 year old organization and volunteer opportunities. Awards will be presented to businesses and residents who “Keep Saranac Lake Blooming”.

We hope you can join us.







September 2014: A Beautiful Summer (and Fall!)

MemorialPlanting2VIS not only take cares of seven local parks, we also plant and tend flowers throughout the Village. The downtown flower plantings and hanging flower baskets looked beautiful this year, as did the Veterans Memorial Garden and WWI Star Garden. Several people who responded to our Annual Appeal added notes expressing their appreciation for how lovely the Village looked this summer. Keep Saranac Lake blooming!





August 2014: VIS’s Annual Appeal

Stuffing partyOur annual appeal letters have been sent out, thanks to the volunteer efforts of Ellen George, Kathy Ford, Hilary Smith, Bobbie Karp, Randall Swanson, Jason Borden, Meg Van Dyck-Holmes, Donna Walsh, Roger Steinbrueck and Susan Hahn.

We hope you can support us this year. If you didn’t receive an appeal letter, you can always make a donation online. Your donations are used to pay for park maintenance and flower plantings throughout the Village.






July 26, 2014: Park Tour

ParkTour7:26Nancy Murphy (standing) outlines the colorful history of Vest Pocket Park, adjacent to the Saranac Free Library. Vest Pocket Park was the first stop on the Park Tour, which also included Triangle and Denny Parks, located on Pine St. Pictured from left to right (seated) are Randall Swanson, Nita Kohanski, Margaret Worden, Ellen George, Emily Tyner and Peter Hahn (behind Nancy).







July 2014:  VIS Donation Jars

Donation jar 2014If you see a VIS donation jar on the counter at a local store, drop in your spare change and thank the merchant for supporting VIS. The money is used to pay for the beautiful hanging baskets in downtown Saranac Lake. Pictured here: Jayln Renadette, who helped distribute the jars, and Matt Rothamel from Blue Line Sports Shop.








June 2014: VIS Camp Scholarship

CampershipCongratulations to Jeffrey LaVair, winner of the 2014 VIS camp scholarship. Jeffrey is pictured here with VIS volunteer Donna Walsh. Every year, VIS awards camp scholarships to local middle school students to attend Camp Colby or another NY DEC camp.







June 2014: Village Beautification

whiskeybarrelEllenDo you appreciate the flowers that beautify downtown Saranac Lake all summer? Village Improvement Society volunteers are the ones who make it possible, planting flowers in the Village entry signs, the whiskey barrels and the trash receptacles throughout the Village. VIS also supplies the beautiful hanging flower baskets downtown. Pictured here from left to right: VIS President Ellen George and VIS volunteers Hilary Smith and Joan Goldthwait with the whiskey barrels they’ve just planted. Thanks to Roger Steinbreuck of Scott’s Florist for his advice on planting and for overseeing the work of distributing the planters throughout the Village.


May 2014: Denny Park Cleanup

VIS CleanupOn a beautiful May morning, VIS friends and volunteers gathered to clean up Denny Park. Thanks to Park Chairperson Randall Swanson, VIS President Ellen George, Margaret Worden, Kathy and Lonnie Ford, and Susan and Peter Hahn.






March 2014: VIS Volunteer Ricky Sullivan is a Winner!

RickyWe are very proud of Kiwanis Aktion Club member and active VIS volunteer, Ricky Sullivan, for his participation in the NYS Special Olympics this February. He came home a winner! Check out the silver and bronze medals he won in snowshoeing. Way to go, Ricky!




January 2014: Ellen George Elected as VIS President

Ellen George of Saranac Lake was elected as the new president of VIS. For the past seven years, Ellen has been Park Manager for Triangle Park. Prior to her retirement, she was Senior Attorney at the Adirondack Park Agency. We’re delighted to welcome Ellen as our new VIS President.

Meg Van Dyck Holmes will continue as VIS’s Vice President. Roger Steinbrueck is continuing to serve as Interim Treasurer and Pattie Randolph-Clarke is continuing as Secretary. In addition, VIS approved a change to its by-laws and elected a new Board of Directors. In addition to the officers, new board members include Randall Swanson, Donna Walsh, Bobbie Karp, Hilary Smith, Kathy Ford and Susan Hahn.

We are very grateful to outgoing President Bobbie Karp for her many years of service to the organization.


November, 2013: VIS Banner Chosen for First Night button

First NightCrop2First Night committee selected VIS volunteer Hillary Ryan-Rusch’s beautiful banner as the design for this year’s First Night button! Thanks to Hillary for her exceptional design and for helping spread the word about VIS in her interview in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.







November, 2013: Beautifying the Welcome Signs

Greens for the signsVIS volunteers placed evergreens in in all the village entry signs and atop several trash receptacles downtown. From left to right: VIS board member Hilary Smith, newly elected VIS president Ellen George (center) and VIS secretary Pattie Randolph Clark. VIS board member Kathy Ford is behind the lens. Thanks also to Todd Smith for lending a hand.







October, 2013: Fall Plantings Bring Springtime Cheer

DaffodilsVolunteers Meg Holmes, Ellen George, Jenn Evans, Kathy & Roger Steinbrueck, Randall Swanson, and Kathy & Lonnie Ford planted over 500 daffodils. Bulbs were planted at Triangle Park, Dorsey Park and by the Adirondack Carousel. We’d also like to thank everyone who donated money to buy bulbs at last spring’s DaffFest. We’re grateful now, and we’ll appreciate this even more in the spring when the cheerful yellow flowers brighten our village.




August 25, 2013: Vest Pocket Park Re-Dedication Ceremony

ImageMembers and supporters of the Village Improvement Society gathered in Vest Pocket Park on August 25 in park. The newly-refinished benches were dedicated in honor of Clara Ridenour, mother of Alice Wareham (seated second from the left). Mrs. Wareham is a former park chairperson for the Village Improvement Society.





August 2013: Vest Pocket Park Ceremony

20130817_124208_resizedSunday, Aug 25 at 2pm, the Village Improvement Society will hold a short ceremony at VPP (located next to the Library). The park will be re-dedicated in honor of Clara W. Ridenour, mother of past VIS park chairperson, Alice Wareham, and a former secretary for VIS.

This summer, the park has gotten a makeover. In June, Roger Pratt and his team of landscapers put down new sod. This month, Jeff Lacomb refinished the park’s benches. Now the park is looking its best!



July 2013: Thanks to the Aktion Club!

AktionClub(med)The Village Improvement Society is very grateful to the Aktion Club for taking charge of the VIS Donation Jars. This past weekend, Aktion Club volunteers placed the donation jars at local businesses and all summer long, they will collect the jars every week and count the donations.

Pictured in the photo from left to right:  Jason Borden/ Don Moore (in the cowboy hat)/ Donna Walsh/ Lola Vanderwalker/ Ricky Sullivan/ George Bouchard.  All are members of the Adirondack Aktion Club, part of Kiwanis Club.



VISDonationJar-1If you see a VIS donation jar on the counter at a local business, you can make a small donation. The donations are used to pay for the hanging baskets that beautify downtown Saranac Lake during the summer season. So please, make a small donation and let the business owner know that you appreciate their support for the Village Improvement Society. We’re grateful to local businesses for allowing us to place donation jars on their counters.





June 2013: Those Beautiful Hanging Baskets

Roger, Jeremy and MarkWellerYou know that summer is really here when you see the beautiful hanging flower baskets in downtown Saranac Lake. VIS volunteers planted the baskets a couple of weeks ago. Today they were placed on lampposts along Main St and Broadway. Roger Steinbrueck of Scott’s Florist directed the operation. Jeremy Evans, the Saranac Lake Community Development Director rode the forklift and placed the baskets. Mark Weller of Sturdy Supply generously donated his time and equipment to assist with the effort.  Thanks to Roger, Jeremy and Mark and all the volunteers who planted the flowers for brightening our community.



June 2013: A New Lawn for Vest Pocket Park

Vest Pocket Park6:13Vest Pocket Park is located between the Saranac Lake Free Library and the Community Store. On a summer day, it’s a great place to read a book or just sit on the benches. Now it looks even better, thanks to the efforts of VIS volunteer Roger Steinbruek and the team from Roger Pratt’s A-1 Landscaping firm, who donated their time to prep and lay new sod in the park. We’d like to thank A-1 Landscaping for making this popular spot even more enjoyable.

Pictured in the photo from left to right: (standing) Roger Pratt, Tim Pratt, Tyler Randig, Dalton Demarco, and Connor Paschke (kneeling).


June 2013: Help us plant!

VIS resized (1 of 1)Each summer, the Village Improvement Society volunteers plant the hanging baskets and planters that make our Village look its best all summer long. Would you like to join us on planting day? Just fill out our volunteer form and we will get in touch. To access the form, click the Volunteer: fill out his form  link in located in the right column on this page.







May 2013: Thanks to Nori’s! 

NorisVISOn the second Sunday of every month, Nori’s Village Market donates 10% of the day’s sales to a local organization. The Village Improvement Society was selected as the day’s beneficiary on Sunday, May 12. Thank you to Nori’s for honoring VIS and for giving us the chance to tell Nori’s customers about the VIS’s good works!








April 2013: Earth Day at Sunset Park

SunsetPark3On Monday, April 22nd (Earth Day), Randall Swanson took his 16 arboriculture students from Paul Smiths College to Sunset Park to make improvements. Assistant instructor Dan Groves helped supervise the student work. The crew picked up two full bags of trash from throughout the park, pulled out and chipped the branches of a large downed hemlock tree and cut up the trunk into stackable sections, made a bench out of section of the trunk.  They also cut down 3 other standing dead/dying trees that posed a risk to park users, pruned low or broken branches from numerous tree around the park perimeter and deposited wood chips at several of the trail entrances leading into the park.


Thanks to their spring cleanup efforts, the park is looking beautiful. Sunset Park is one of 7 parks owned by the Village Improvement Society of Saranac Lake and it is a certified Urban Wildlife Sanctuary. Along the arboretum’s meandering paths, visitors  can view over 35 varieties of Adirondack trees and wildlife. The park is bounded by Olive and School Streets, and Sunset Avenue.

February 2013:  Arts & Flowers all February-long!

ImageThe Adirondack Artist Guild benefit for VIS took place on February 1, but if you missed it, you can still bid on the art work during the month of February. The Artist Guild is donating the proceeds from this silent auction to the Village Improvement Society, and we are very grateful for their support.







January 2013: Arts & Flowers

The Adirondack Artist Guild is hosting Arts & Flowers, a month-long exhibition/art auction, as a benefit for the Village Improvement Society. The opening reception is Friday, Feb 1, from 5-7pm, at the Adirondack Artist Guild, 52 Main St  Saranac Lake.

Please stop by, see the exhibition, have some refreshments and meet VIS members. We hope to see you there! (And we want to give a big THANK YOU to the ADK Artist Guild for hosting this event on behalf of VIS.)

December 2012: Include VIS on Your Holiday Gift List

You can make a tax-deductible donation to the Village Improvement Society online. Just click on the “Donate” link on the right hand side of the page. Your online donation is secure. Thank you for supporting VIS and its efforts to beautify our community and maintain the 7 VIS-owned parks .

December 2012: First Night Banner

Hillary Ryan-Rusch created the Village Improvement Society’s beautiful First Night banner.  Thanks to Hillary and to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise for featuring Hilary on the front page!

October 2012: Annual Community Meeting, 7pm October 24 at the Saranac Lake Free Library

The Annual Community Meeting of the Village Improvement Society is scheduled for Wednesday, October 24 at 7 pm in the Cantwell Room at the Saranac Lake Free Library. A slideshow/presentation about VIS will be followed by an awards ceremony and refreshments. Meet the volunteers who provide the hanging baskets and flower plantings throughout the Village and care for the 7 VIS-owned parks in our community.

September 2012: Update on Donation Jars

Thanks to all the local merchants who allowed the Village Improvement Society to place donation jars on their counters. And thanks to everyone who made a donation! The campaign was a success and VIS was able to offset most of the cost of providing the hanging flower baskets for downtown Saranac Lake. We would like to acknowledge the support of these local merchants:

Adirondack Trading Company, Ampersound, Another’s Treasure, Bling, Blue Moon Cafe, Borracho Taco, Community Store, Dunkin Donuts, E&M Market, Eco Living, Fusion Market, Goody Goody’s, JC Penney’s, Liz  Company, Major Plowshares, Pink, Post Office Pharmacy, Rice Furniture, Saranac Lake Discount Liquors, Sears, Sharper Image, Two Horse Trading Company, Wilson Farms.


August 2012: Did you see the article about the Village Improvement Society in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise?

VIS President Bobbie Carp

The Daily Enterprise article is titled Keeping VIS Visible. The article notes “Much of the work done by the Village Improvement Society to maintain parks and plantings goes unnoticed. Now the 100-plus-year-old organization is looking to boost its visibility in the community, which it hopes will lead to new volunteers and more donations to help offset its costs.” Thanks to the ADE for calling attention to the organization and aiding our efforts to raise public awareness of the Village Improvement Society’s good works.








July 2012: Whisky barrel plantings and hanging flower baskets brighten the Village.

Have you noticed the beautiful flowers throughout Saranac Lake? VIS volunteers plant the hanging flower baskets and whisky barrels in the late spring and tend them throughout the summer. For over 100 years, VIS volunteers have improved the quality of life in our Village.





June 2012: Vest Pocket Park gets a makeover

 Located next to the Saranac Lake Free Library, Vest Pocket Park is now being cared for by Jenny Evans and her park volunteers. Passersby will see that  a major undertaking is taking place to improve the lawn. As the mother of two young children, Jenny is determined to create a park that will be inviting to everyone including children.  VIS is excited to see what new beauty and engagement she and her band of volunteers will bring to the park. To ensure that the park is an enjoyable experience for everyone, please remember to dispose of pet waste properly, not to smoke and to discard trash using the receptacle located at the park.

June 2012:  VIS volunteers make Saranac Lake bloom

    Have you admired the bright flower plantings throughout the Village? Many of them were planted by the Village Improvement Society. VIS volunteers planted 24 barrel planters, four welcome sign flower boxes and seven trash receptacle flower boxes. The Welcome Garden was also planted by VIS volunteers. Read the Press Release.





June 2012:  The beautiful hanging flower baskets are back. You can make a donation at local merchants.  

24 hanging flower baskets were planted by VIS volunteers. The flower baskets are now hanging from lampposts throughout downtown Saranac Lake. The Village of Saranac Lake waters these hanging baskets.
VIS Donation Jars were placed at 23 local businesses, including the Post Office Pharmacy, Blue Moon Cafe, Major Plowshares,Goody Goody’s, and The Community Store. By dropping your change into one of the jars, your contribution helps defray the costs of the hanging flower baskets that beautify our community.


May 2012:  VIS Camp Scholarship
Every year  the Village Improvement Society awards environmental camp scholarships to local middle school students. This year’s recipient is Aymee-Lynne Fisk, the daughter of Charles and Marie-Aymee Fisk of Paul Smiths. Congratulations, Aymee-Lynne!