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Waddington town council hears land proposals

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WADDINGTON – Waddington’s Town Council heard two development proposals for Leishman Point at Monday’s meeting.

Jeffrey and Rebecca Gerrish, Potsdam, presented a proposal to build a locally-owned franchise hotel on the 27-acre property located just past the town beach.

The Gerrish’s have chosen America’s Best as its franchise brand.

“The problem is that Waddington is seen as an attraction, not as a destination,” Mrs. Gerrish said. “We see this as market which is untapped, and a key component, tying all that Waddington has to offer together.”

While the plan has yet to be finalized, Mr. and Mrs. Gerrish proposed a 45,000 square-foot, 60-room hotel and conference center. The hotel would provide 23 locally-hired employees and add $150,000 to St. Lawrence County in taxes, according to initial marketing research.

Mr. Gerrish said he hopes to work with the Industrial Development Agency and Small Business Administration to develop further marketing research throughout the next several months.

“A market study is essential for financial backing for hotel development,” Mr. Gerrish said. “Our intention is to become an economic catalyst for our Waddington community. Bringing a single hotel into the right location can and will add jobs, hundreds of thousands of dollars into the area economy and initiate a cascading series of developmental opportunities.”

Mr. Gerrish said they had considered hotel locations in other areas in St. Lawrence County but claimed Waddington was a “more receptive community who wants to make something happen.”

The town also heard from Waddington resident James S. Thew, Thew Associates, Canton, on the development of campgrounds throughout Leishman Point.

Mr. Thew said, unlike the hotel, only a small part of the land will be used for camping, the rest would be used for public use.

The conceptual plans include three locations for sites on different locations throughout the point. Mr. Thew suggested a variety of campsites including tent sites, RV hookups and cabins.

“We want to include everyone from the tent users to the high-end campers,” Mr. Thew said. “We want to attract as many people as we can.”

Mr. Thew said he would like to include the public in the development process.

“We want to start the conversation,” Mr. Thew said. “We would like to hold a number of community sessions to get the public’s input on this, so we can make sure to include what the public wants to see.”

Town Supervisor Mark Scott and the council agreed to review the site plans and requested they keep coming back with suggestions.

“Ultimately it’s up the community to decide, but we’d like to help through the challenges of developing the plans,” Mr. Scott said.

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