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New Tupper Lake hotel, Junction-wide heating system listed by NCREDC as “priority projects” for 2016

Dan McClelland

The hotel complex proposed by Wild Center Co-founder Betsy Lowe and Nancy Howard, former owner of the Wawbeek Inn, on the former 330 Lodge parcel across from the Free Press office and a community-wide wood-fuelled heating system for houses and businesses here are two of 27projectsranked as “priority” last week by the North CountryRegional Economic Development Council for 2016 in its report to the Empire State Development.
This year the very successful council, which has received millions in earlier grant rounds in recent years to fund economic development projects across the North Country, is looking for another piece of Governor Andrew Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council contest.  At stake in this sixth round of the statewide competition is about $750 million in state funding and tax incentives.
The developers of the proposed Tupper Lake Crossroads Motel- a 40-room hotel that will look down Park Street from the corner of Park and Mill which is one of the highest travelled intersections in the Adirondacks are looking for $3.5 million in funding through the economic development council for their $10.2 million complex.
The hotel will include a restaurant,  a new conference center which is so badly needed here, plus a pool, fitness center and other hospitality amenities.
Ms. Lowe and Mrs. Howard figure their new hotel will create 15 new jobs when it opens and there will be about 30 construction jobs related to it.
The developers have owned the former 330 Lodge site for a number of years and in the past year acquired from New York State the former DiStefano Liquor Store parcel and from the DiStefano family the three-story apartment building on Mill Street.  That building may be fashioned into staff housing, Betsy Lowe mentioned this summer.
The other project listed on the economic council's wish list for this round of the competition is what is described as the Tupper Lake Community Wood Pellet system.  Funding for the project was passed over last year.  With the assistance of $1 million in funding from the state the village, in league with a private developer,  intends to create a $7 million biomass heating system to run heating pipes throughout the downtown area to heat homes and businesses there. A second phase of the project would include the uptown neighborhoods and parts of the town.
The new system- based on several European models- would cut heating costs for Junction residents by 30 to 40 percent each winter.
The nearby Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake also has a priority project on the council's list and its request is for $1 million for a $2.5 million conversion of space there into a showcase for Adirondack art.
On display there would be the museum's collection of Adirondack art and rustic furniture, along with prints, drawings and photographs showing off the splendor and beauty of the region.
The new Art and Design Center is due to open in May 2019.
The announcement of what sections of the state win the economic money will likely be made later this year.