Proposals now open for Frontier Town
Applicants have until July 8 to pitch proposals for upcoming recreational hub
May 30, 2017
The Request for Proposals to redevelop the former Frontier Town theme park in North Hudson is out, and are due July 28.
NORTH HUDSON — The former Frontier Town is again the site of competitive wrangling as businesses and developers try to rope in lucrative acreage at the upcoming tourist attraction.
The state has issued their Requests for Proposals for the Gateway to the Adirondacks project.
Applicants have until July 28 to submit their proposals for the nearly 300 acre site.
The primary area for commercial development is located along Route 9. Officials have flagged the area as the future site for food, lodging and additional recreational amenities.
The state has promised up to $32 million in public-private investment, and $13 million has been included in the 2018 state budget.
Upon its rollout in January, initial plans for the revamped site called for a visitors and events center, interactive exhibits and a state Department of Environmental Conservation campground located along the Schroon River.
Schroon Lake’s Paradox Brewery has already signed on to relocate to the site, a $4 million expansion project.
According to the RFP, applicants must “strive to address” a number of development objectives, including serving as a launch point for the Adirondack Park, creating family-oriented and multi-generational activities and serving as an economic engine for the North Country and the rest of the state.
Successful projects must also “enhance and complement” the state’s proposed development to provide recreational access.
Essex County Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Preston said early interest from the private sector is promising.
Preston declined to discuss details, citing the open RFP process, but said the county is working with the town of North Hudson and DEC to negotiate easements and survey the parcel’s existing structures.
“We are putting together the contact with (Paradox Brewery) and are meeting with DEC on a regular basis to work through the survey to the buildings, and easements, and what’s going to be included and not going to be,” Preston told the Sun.
While the much-discussed project will not reopen the Wild West theme park, the DEC is exploring how to incorporate some remaining elements as a nod to the past, including the Grist Mill and Chapel.
“There is no resurrection of the theme park,” Preston said.
The DEC plans to construct a campground, equestrian center and public day-use areas in the southern portion of the site, but operation of those facilities could be incorporated into a larger development plan, according to the RFP.
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky echoed the site has already generated interest, and said the agency “will be looking to select the proposal that will successfully achieve the goals of increasing tourism, promoting job creation and strengthening the North Country regional economy.”
The state has said development of the site is a key priority, a viewpoint echoed by DEC officials at a forum in Lake Placid in March.
“The big guy wants this done,” said Preston, referring to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who touted the project during a Plattsburgh visit in April and tied the effort directly to increased visitation in the tourist-dependent North Country.
Successful completion of the protect also dovetails with another high stakes state effort: The New NY Broadband Program designed to provide universal high speed internet access by the end of next year.
The parcels constituting the former theme park are currently unserved by a provider, and pockets of neighboring residents and businesses rely on satellite and DSL service.
SLIC Network Solutions received grant funds in 2012 to wire neighboring Schroon Lake, a project long in the works. Funds awarded as part of New NY will allow them to wire the project site.
“Yes, the grant funded area includes the Gateway project location,” SLIC Vice President of Technical Operations Kevin Lynch told the Sun in an email.
“As part of our NYS Broadband Program Office project, we will be running fiber optic cable up Route 9 from the Hamlet of Schroon Lake to Ensign Pond Road,” Lynch said. “We will provide service to customers along this route. For this project, we will work with the project owners to determine the exact needs and ensure they have the bandwidth and connectivity they need for the success of the project.”
Lynch said additional grant funds are not needed to provide connectivity and bandwidth to the project, and SLIC is “currently evaluating Phase 3 to understand the associated challenges and opportunities.”
Schroon Lake, located eight miles south of the project site, has been waiting for broadband for nearly a half-decade.
Some 544 homes and business will ultimately stand to benefit from the previous grant, and service is slated to begin this summer, Lynch said.
SLIC has contracted with NorthLine to prepare more than 300 National Grid poles, including the total replacement of 124, as part of the make-ready stage of the process.
Over 1,400 poles will host SLIC fiber.
“Starting in July, after sufficient progress has been made on the make ready, SLIC will begin constructing our fiber optic cable plant,” Lynch said. “SLIC anticipates connecting the first customers in August.”
Make-ready on another SLIC project — Bellmont in northern Franklin County — started on May 25, Lynch said.
North Hudson Supervisor Ron Moore said he will continue to shine a light on the need for broadband on the project parcels.
“I’d be thrilled to see this in place by the fall,” Moore said.