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Jones Applauds ADK Constitutional Amendments


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ALBANY | The New York State Assembly recently passed Constitutional amendments sponsored by Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake) during the recent Legislative Session that would impact the Adirondack and North Country region.

One amendment- A2452/S5540- would allow the state to expand the Nordic ski and biathlon trails at Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex so that they meet international standards. The bill also includes adding at least 2,500 additional acres to the forest preserve to cover the land that will be used for the trails. These changes will allow Mount Van Hoevenberg to host international Nordic ski and biathlon training and events and is after many years of important updates to historic Olympic facilities across the state. This amendment was sponsored by Sen. Pete Harckham (D-Lewisboro) and Assemblyman Billy Jones, and thanks to both legislators the bill was passed this session. Passing both houses of the state legislature is the first step for Constitutional amendments.

For it to make it to the ballot for voter approval, the bill needs to pass again during the legislative session that starts in 2025.

“Over the past few years, we have truly seen a transformation of the Olympic heritage sites throughout the Adirondack region and what that means for regional tourism and recreational opportunities,” said Jones, “It is extremely important to keep up this momentum to continue to bring important international competitions similar to the FISU World University Games and the Ski Jumping competitions to our state. This amendment would update and expand the trails that already exist at Mount Van Hoevenberg so that they are fully prepared to host international competitions and train world-renowned athletes.”

The second amendment- A2816- would save the historic Debar Pond Lodge in the Adirondacks from destruction and preserve it for future generations. Debar Pond Lodge was built in the 1940s by architect William Distin, who is most famous for designing the Whiteface Inn and the 1932 Olympic Arena in Lake Placid. New York State announced their plan to tear down the Debar Pond Lodge to create a day-use area a few years ago, but after realizing how important this camp is to local architectural heritage, local historic preservationists quickly took action to save it. This led to a proposal to save the building by exchanging 400 acres of land surrounding the Debar Pond Lodge for the six acres where the historic camp is located. Debar Pond Lodge would then be managed by an organization called the Debar Pond Institute which would provide public programming and educational opportunities.

“It is important to preserve our local history, not destroy it,” said Jones. “Debar Pond Lodge is part of the overall architectural history of the Olympics and it would be an absolute shame to lose it forever. That is why I introduced this amendment to exchange land so that this historic camp can be preserved for future generations. The state will gain almost 400 acres to the forest preserve from this deal while also saving an important part of our region’s history. If that isn’t a win-win situation, what is?”

Source: Sun Community News

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