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PPR frontier pix 1125
The core Western town section of the former Frontier Town theme-park in North Hudson is, so far, part of the next Essex County tax auction. The town has asked the county to turn the parcels over so the site can be redeveloped. This is Prairie Gulch Street in Frontier Town. (Staff Photo/Lohr McKinstry)

North Hudson wants Frontier Town

By: LOHR McKINSTRY

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Town of North Hudson wants Essex County to turn over several former Frontier Town properties that are headed for tax auction.

Seven parcels that make up a large portion of the old theme park off Interstate 87 Exit 29 are scheduled for sale in the county’s April 30, 2014, tax sale.

Supervisor Ronald Moore (R-North Hudson) made the request at a recent County Board of Supervisors Finance Committee session.

“What the town is asking for is to have the former Frontier Town properties that are on the foreclosure sale and the former Frontier Town property owned by Sunrise Land Development turned over to the Town of North Hudson,” he said.

“What has happened up until now has been a total failure.”

ASSESSED AT $1.03 MILLION

One of the parcels, owned by Sunrise Land Development of Westchester County, was purchased in the last tax sale in 2009.

Others are from the original Frontier Town and were owned by Panther Mountain Water Park, now North Hudson Associates LLC.

The total assessment on the former Frontier Town properties with unpaid taxes is $1.03 million, according to the Essex County Treasurer’s Office website.

PAID UP

George Moore of Keeseville bought a Frontier Town parcel in the 2009 tax sale, which included the A-frame entrance building, and those taxes are fully paid, on a current assessment of $530,100. 

That piece is not involved in the present proceeding.

CONDEMNED BUILDINGS

Supervisor Moore said the sections due to go to auction include the Frontier Town motel and restaurant.

The restaurant on Frontier Town Road off Route 9 is in bad shape, he said.

“The town has declared it condemned and ordered it demolished and removed.”

And there’s a warehouse, he said, that is also condemned.

“Another building is the motel. We have not had an opportunity to go inside the motel to see if it can be salvaged.”

The supervisor said nothing has been done to maintain any of the buildings.

“It has been neglected and unimproved by the private sector.”

Frontier Town, a Wild West theme park, was last open in 1998.

130 ACRES WOODLAND

The town would like to work with the county and the Essex County Industrial Development Agency to attract a business to the property, Supervisor Moore said.

“Put it back on the tax roll, and maybe we can all benefit.”

There are also 130 acres of North Hudson forestland that were once part of Frontier Town up for back taxes. Supervisor Moore said that’s the only piece in the sale the town would like to retain if the county turns over the properties.

“It would offer us long-term benefits, a future trail system,” he said. “That’s what I am asking for. I know it’s a big request.”

Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah), who chairs the Finance Committee, said he doesn’t support the transfer, except for the woodlands.

“If you take that off the real-property tax, it’s going to have an impact on the (Schroon Lake) School District,” he said.

“It’s not like asking for a rundown house on a quarter acre. This is a substantial property. We all want to see something done for that property.”

‘KEY LOCATION’

Supervisor Moore moved a resolution to have the county give North Hudson the wooded parcel, and it passed the committee unanimously, with Supervisor Roby Politi (R-North Elba) abstaining. 

Another vote will take place today, with a final vote Dec. 2.

Politi said he agrees that something must be done to get the Frontier Town property back on the tax rolls.

“Ron’s point is it (the theme park) may have sold for six figures, but they never did anything to it or paid the taxes on it,” he said.

Politi said he would suggest putting a $250,000 reserve on the Frontier Town parcels in the sale, and if they don’t sell, give them to the IDA to market.

“Hundreds of people through the years worked at Frontier Town,” Scozzafava said. “We all want to see something happen with that property.

“It’s a key location. It’s right on the interstate. It’s the heart of the Adirondack Park.”

The Board of Supervisors will take up discussion on the North Hudson request for the other parcels at a future meeting, he said.

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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