Ground was broken Thursday for the long-awaited hotel project in downtown Clayton, formally changing a daydream of a full-scale hotel on the St. Lawrence River to the reality of construction.
In the background of the ceremonial turning of the first shovels, freshly poured concrete foundations were visible on the plot of land that once housed the large Frink snowplow manufacturing facility. The factory is long gone and the land under it cleaned of pollution and returned to productive use because of community efforts lead by former town Supervisor Robert Cantwell.
Town Supervisor Justin A. Taylor, the town board, village Mayor Norma Zimmer, the village board and the Clayton Local Development Corp. worked assiduously to attract a hotel developer. They found Krog Corp. and Hart Hotels, which will jointly invest $22.5 million in the hotel that will employ 90 people when it is complete by Memorial Day next year.
Mr. Taylor proudly honored the community leaders who have worked so hard for so long to return much of the Frink land to the tax rolls and to complete the transformation of Clayton from a manufacturing center to a tourist destination taking advantage of the grandeur of the river and the Thousand Islands.
The Krog and Hart families have developed a solid reputation of hotel development and should feel welcome in Clayton and Jefferson County, where they join a village full of enthusiasm and pride. Clayton is an excellent example of how strong local leadership willing to work hard and cooperatively with multiple levels of government can build a community receptive to change and proud of its success.