I'm posting here, in its entirety, an editorial penned by Saranac Lake Village Mayor Clyde Rabideau regarding Trudeau Institute's future in Saranac Lake:
The Future of Trudeau and Saranac Lake
Guest Commentary by Clyde Rabideau
Trudeau Institute might leave us—an option affirmed by senior management---something most Saranac Lakers thought impossible until few weeks ago. After all, Trudeau Institute has been around for 126 years and was founded by the village’s first mayor, Edward L. Trudeau. Nothing could be more Saranac Lake than Trudeau Institute.
There’s a buzz that representatives will soon head to Kannapolis, North Carolina, home to the North Carolina Research Center—nestled in the Charlottesville-University-Research Hospital-hotbed—to check out its one million square feet of state-of-the art, ready-to-go lab space, equipment and prime research facilities. A Trudeau spokesman said they did not want their staff “buying houses” until their “strategic planning,” now underway, was complete.
Now, like most buzzes, it may or may not be true, but Trudeau’s Chairman of the Board lives in Charlottesville and Trudeau management say they need an urban research hospital environment like Kannapolis to get more federal funding, so it is believable. And, even if it isn’t true, Saranac Lakers should still take its measure and gird for battle.
So what might magnetize Trudeau to Kannapolis? A heck of a lot, truth be told. It’s one of the fastest growing areas of the country in which a multi-millionaire visionary by the name of David Murdock, bulldozed the Cannon Textile/Towel mills in the city’s downtown and built a Land of Biotech Oz through a public-private partnership with all the bells and whistles for research innovation and profit. It is a one-stop-shop for biotech research and for-profit ventures, with plenty of moolah to back it up, alongside universities like Duke, UNC and UC State and beau coup hospitals. It’s got mojo to spare.
Who would blame Trudeau’s management for checking it out and sending its “faculty” there?
I do and here’s why: We’re not like Kannapolis or the rest of the country for that matter, and that is our strong point. We’re unique and grand discoveries regularly take root here—in the Capital of the Adirondacks--amidst the solitude and serenity of our evergreens and lakes where great ideas take flight.
Saranac Lake has never been the epicenter of “urban-based, biotech, throw-the-money-at-‘em science.” No, we’re the epicenter of humanity—right where we want to be—where our forbearers gave comfort and solace to those that were ill. We always cared and always will, regardless of how much “moolah” is involved. Our scientists carry backpacks to work and not briefcases. They wear hiking boots and not high-heels. Backpacks and hiking boots probably aren’t that sexy in Kannapolis…but are more practical. We are unique and meaningful and so shall be the future discoveries at Trudeau IN Saranac Lake.
Kannapolis is a wake-up call, as is the so-called “Strategic planning” now underway at Trudeau, which many say is just window-dressing for a move to Kannapolis.
Saranac Lake and the State of New York must invest in real intellectual infrastructure that is uniquely “ours” and fearlessly compassionate, if it is to survive and thrive in the biotech future where money seduces, just as Kannapolis, our most fearsome competitor, is doing in its own way. We must lower our shoulder and push ahead with our own strategic plan and a solid, never-give-up commitment, staking our future on what has sustained us for generations, yet adapting as we must. If federal grant money is Trudeau’s answer, we must devise ways to get it to them.
We must also make sure in the days ahead that the Trudeau Board of Trustees, though they may not live here, understand that the very lifeblood of the institution they safeguard pulsates only if it has our indomitable Adirondack people, place and purpose...a people, a place and a purpose that will not go gentle into that good night.