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Schumer wants to keep Trudeau's cutting edge research in the Adirondacks (File photo)
Schumer wants to keep Trudeau's cutting edge research in the Adirondacks (File photo)

Schumer presses to keep Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake

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Over the past few months, Saranac Lake's Trudeau Institute has been studying its options for future growth.

Consultants hired by the Institute have been evaluating several possibilities including expansion of the biomedical research institute's current facilities, the building a new clinical research site out of state or Trudeau leaving Saranac Lake for a new location - an option that has sparked concern among local residents and politicans.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer jumped into the fray Wednesday when he announced that he had called Trudeau director David Woodland personally last week to ask him and the Institute's board of trustees to keep Trudeau in Saranac Lake.
Chris Knight has the latest.

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Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

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Trudeau officials have said they want to bring their scientists closer to a clinical research setting near a hospital or university in order to insure the Institute remains competitive for federal funds.

In his conversation with Trudeau Director David Woodland, Schumer said he offered to help the institute forge new partnerships with clinical research programs in New York City or upstate so it could expand its research without relocating.

He also offered to assist Trudeau in securing National Institutes of Health grants, which are the biggest source of funding for Trudeau scientists.

"I am committed to doing everything I can to keep this leading facility and economic engine right here in the Adirondacks," Schumer said in a press release.

Village of Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau said he was grateful Schumer reached out to Trudeau officials.

"His personal calls and his personal appeals to Trudeau I'm sure will make a great difference, especially in forming those partnerships that are so crucial to keeping Trudeau Institute expanding and growing in Saranac Lake," Rabideau said.

Schumer isn't the only one who's been talking to Trudeau officials. State Sen. Betty Little said Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently placed a call recently to Benjamin Brewster, chairman of Trudeau's board of trustees.

But it will likely take more than phone calls, press releases and letters to keep Trudeau in Saranac Lake.

Little said Wednesday she believes officials in other states, specifically North Carolina and Florida, are offering incentives to try and lure Trudeau from New York. Little said the state needs to get in that game.

"There are people who constantly say the state shouldn’t be giving grants, money and tax breaks to companies to stay here, and yet all these companies are being wooed by other states," Little said.

"Trudeau is no different than any other. Other states are offering them buildings, grants and tax breaks, so New York does have to be competitive and we will have to see how the state can be helpful."

But finding out just what Trudeau needs to stay in Saranac Lake hasn't been easy, Little said. In her meetings with Trudeau officials, Little said "it was almost like they weren't interested in finding out what we could do."

Little described the conversation as discouraging.

The recent political pressure on Trudeau comes less than three weeks before the next meeting of the Institute's board of trustees, when a preliminary report on Trudeau's options is expected to be delivered. It's unclear whether the board will take any action at that meeting.

Trudeau spokesman Brian Turner said David Woodland, the Institute's director, wasn't available for comment Wednesday.

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