Village board finally endorses rail/trail plan in split vote

by Dan McClelland
In a split vote last week the Tupper Lake Village Board adopted a resolution in support of the state Department of Transportation and the state Department of Environmental Conservation plan to support “Option 7” of the 1996 state Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the railroad corridor.  
The plan, endorsed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, would see the railroad tracks removed from Lake Placid to Tupper Lake and rail restoration from Big Moose to Tupper Lake so train service is returned here. It would make Tupper Lake a hub for a variety of travelers coming here.
The town board has endorsed what has been called “a great compromise” by many officials in recent months.
The resolution was introduced by new Trustee Clint Hollingsworth who said he believes the plan will be very valuable to this community,tourism-wide,  bringing many travelers here by foot, bike, snowmobile and train.
The measure was seconded by Trustee David “Haji” Maroun, who has spoken in support of the plan several times at past village meetings.
Mayor Paul Maroun repeated his longstanding position that he was not in favor of tearing up the tracks, noting that a rail and a trail on the same right of way is a better answer.
“You don't tear up tracks of a railroad that runs into the center of this park” from downstate centers, he told his board.
He said he believed the track removal plan, which supporters and state agency officials figure can begin once the snow goes, is illegal.
Deputy Mayor Leon LeBlanc joined the two trustees in the three to one vote.