LAKE GEORGE — There’s a new road in town.
West Brook Road, a prominent roadway that separates the village and town of Lake George, was officially renamed as Elizabeth Little Boulevard on Wednesday, in honor of the contributions made to the region by former state Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, who retired last year following more than 30 years of public service.
Dozens gathered to celebrate the occasion, including several members of Little’s family, as well as friends and former colleagues who recognized her as a trailblazer who worked hard to bring people together and fought tirelessly to improve the North Country — especially the Lake George region.
“‘Thank you’ is such a small word compared to how I feel right now,” Little said.
The idea to rename the roadway, which connects Canada Street to Beach Road, came from village Mayor Robert Blais, who said the road is a permanent tribute to Little in the perfect location.
Elizabeth Little Boulevard is a county-owned roadway between the town and village of Lake George and offers an unobstructed view of the lake, a state-regulated body of water.
Little, Blais said, had an impact on everything the road touches.
“There can be no better spot, there can be no better place and there can be no better woman. Leave today and come back forever on Betty’s boulevard,” he said.
Little began her career in politics as part of the Warren County Board of Supervisors in 1987 when she was appointed to fill a vacant Queensbury supervisor position. She would serve on the board until 1995, when she was elected to the state Assembly.
In 2002, Little was elected to the state Senate, where she represented the sprawling 45th Senate District until she retired in 2020.
During her tenure, Little was a staunch advocate of environmental issues, and she helped to secure state funding for a number of programs aimed at preserving the water quality of Lake George, including the boat inspection program that works to keep invasive species from entering the waterway.
Without Little’s advocacy, Lake George would be a different place, said Jeffrey Killeen, president of the Lake George Association.
He said it was a stern conversation he had with Little 10 years ago that laid the foundation for the recent merger between the Lake George Association and The Fund for Lake George, a move that has been widely praised in light of several new threats to the lake’s water quality, including invasive species and the discovery of the first harmful algal bloom last fall.
“Betty, you took the right road from the very beginning and you stayed on a perfect steadfast course, always focused on the right issues and on the right ideas. Now you have your own road,” Killeen said.
Also in attendance was Jamie Brown, executive director of the Lake George Land Conservancy, and Bruce Young, chairman of the Lake George Park Commissioner.
A number of elected officials also praised Little and shared stories about the impact she has had on the North Country and in their lives as a friend and mentor.
Glens Falls Mayor Dan Hall recalled how Little once told him her dream job was to be mayor of the city.
Assemblyman Matt Simpson, R-Horicon, reminisced about getting to know Little over the years and how he now considers her a mentor.
State Sen. Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, said his colleagues in Albany still miss Little, which he said is a testament to the impact she had in the state Capitol.
Stec, who succeeded Little, said he is honored to follow in her footsteps, adding that Little is the perfect public servant.
“Everything that a public servant can and should be, I think Betty is,” he said.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who made a brief appearance at the event before quickly exiting, echoed similar sentiments, noting that Little is a fierce competitor who worked tirelessly for her constituents.
She added that Little was often the only woman in the room, but never let that get in her way.
“She never let politics or party interfere with her ability to get the job done or represent the people not just of her district, but truly the people of her state,” Hochul said.
For Rachel Seeber, chairwoman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, Little is a trailblazer who paved the way for Seeber to become the first woman in the county government’s top leadership position.
“I don’t know if you knew it when you ran for office, the path that you would leave for women to also serve in office. As the first woman to be elected to be chairwoman of the board, I am personally thankful for all your hard-fought battles, your advocacy and your advice and friendship to me,” she said.
Asked how she felt about the event after the ceremony, Little said she was overwhelmed.
“I just try to do the best that I can do. I’m forever thinking that I could have done more, or I could have done this or I could have done that,” she said. “But I’m very, very grateful for having had the position to be able to meet so many wonderful people.”
Chad Arnold is a reporter for The Post-Star covering the city of Glens Falls and the town and village of Lake George and Washington County government. Follow him on Twitter @ChadGArnold.