LAKE GEORGE — The popular block party is set to return to Americade for a second consecutive year, but it will not be back on Canada Street.
The Lake George Village Board on Monday approved changing the location of the event to Beach Road.
Americade officials had added the block party to help attract some new attendees to the event, which has experienced declining attendance. Canada Street from Amherst Street to Montcalm Street was closed on June 8 and June 9 for live music and stunt rides set up for spectators.
Village officials had received complaints from merchants along Canada Street that they lost business. Residents of the side streets off Canada Street had said the traffic detours created disruption in the neighborhood.
Americade Director Christian Dutcher wanted to close Canada Street for a second year because he said he believes it was a success.
He presented a variety of options to the board. He said each idea has pluses and minuses.
“I can make all of these work,” Dutcher said.
Dutcher said his preferred option is to have the party back on Canada Street. He suggested moving the closure location and changing the detour route. He said he believes much of the problem was caused by traffic light timing and tie-ups at intersections on the back streets.
Mayor Robert Blais suggested stationing peace officers on the major intersections to control traffic flow. He said Americade officials would have to pay about $1,000 more for the additional hours required, which would be about $5,500 total.
Dutcher’s second option was to close the northbound lane of Beach Road for motorcycle parking and have two-way traffic on the southbound lane.
“It would still allow access to the boardwalk and those businesses,” Dutcher said.
At the west end of Beach Road near the Lake George Visitors Center, he suggested using barriers to block out a space for the music stage.
“You would be sitting at the foot of the lake listening to music,” he said.
Dutcher said he could also adjust the schedule so the traffic would only be shut down for two-and-a-half days. When asked by the board if he could reduce that to just one day with music, Dutcher said he worried about putting all his eggs into one basket.
“Sometimes it rains during Americade,” he said.
Among the drawbacks is the space would be tight, according to Dutcher. Also, he said he believes the event does not make as much of an impact if it is not on the main road.
The stunt show would be moved to a different location. Dutcher also proposed modifying the event to eliminate one of the stunt performances, where motorcycles did burnouts and caused black marks on the pavement on that stretch of road. Instead, he would just have one show where motorcyclists try to do tricks, including going very slowly and trying to balance on obstacles.
Blais suggested moving the barricades to put the stunt show on Beach Road and then, when it is over, moving them back to where they were before surrounding the stage.
Dutcher said it was an interesting idea.
The board rejected the request to close Canada Street by a 4-1 vote, with only Deputy Mayor John Earl voting in favor.
It then unanimously approved the request to close one lane of Beach Road.
Americade officials are going to sit down with Public Works Superintendent Dave Harrington to discuss logistics.
In related business, the board discussed increasing the fee to close Canada Street. Blais suggested raising it from $250 to $750 based upon the cost the village incurs.
The change would not apply to Americade or Oktoberfest because they have already submitted applications.
Trustee John Root said the fee was too low.
“It’s the most desirable piece of real estate,” he said.
Trustee Joe Mastrodomenico asked whether the fee was per block.
Blais said it was initially per event. He said these were some valid points, so he is going to make some changes and bring it back at next month’s meeting on Sept. 17.