Does Size Matter?
Written by Michael Folsom
posted on November 13, 2011 22:56
It’s a question that is so often taken out of context. Does size matter?
More times than not the response is – No. However, the response in Clayton over the last month or so seems to be – Yes.
The village, town and local development corporation have been vigorously working over the past few years to find a way to utilize the space left from the former Frink America property. Last month, developers made a presentation unveiling a proposed ultimate destination resort for the Clayton community. An estimated price tag between $30 and $40 million would help to erect a year-round tourist lodge and bring a much needed boost to the business community.
For years people have questioned where to stay when coming to the Islands and many visitors have been forced to travel outside of Clayton for accommodations. Nearby Alexandria Bay, a very tourist driven community, has tended to steal away overnight visitors thanks to the community’s surplus of rooms and the closeness of those rooms to the river.
The construction of a new resort hotel in Clayton could soon change the dynamics in 1000 Islands tourism.
“We think of it as a high-end destination hotel. Our goal is to bring people to Clayton and the Thousand Islands region,” developer Paul Neureuter recently told the Watertown Daily Times. “There’s culture here: the Opera House, the Antique Boat Museum. There’s a style ambience to Clayton that doesn’t exist elsewhere in the Thousand Islands region. And we think that the kind of facility we’re envisioning would compliment that, and will be aided by that culture and that civility.”
But how big of a high-end destination is what some want to know.
Neureuter and his team have suggested building a five-story structure with anywhere from 120-140 rooms, two restaurants, two bars, conference rooms and an indoor pool. In comparison, the resort would likely be one-story taller than the Clayton Opera House or two-stories taller than most other buildings along Riverside Drive. The primary goal of the facility would be to draw visitors to Clayton for conferences, weddings and casual dining opportunities. With a destination resort just a few feet from the river’s edge and a short walk down Riverside Drive to the business district, the possibilities of success seem endless.
Clayton is known for its quaint, small town feel, while bringing in big acts, such as Big Bad VooDoo Daddy or comedian Billy Gardell at the Opera House or strongly attended events like Sailing Seaway Clayton or the Classic Street Meet. These types of draws to the community could become better served with a destination hotel.
However, the focus of some over the past few weeks hasn’t been about how much growth and success could be brought to Clayton, but rather concern from a number of residents and business owners who believe that the size of the proposed resort is too big.
Some area residents have voiced their concerns during various public meetings and in letters to the editor claiming that a hotel of the proposed size is far too big for the community to handle.
Some have also felt that simply a hotel on the property is a poor choice for revitalizing the area. The thoughts of shops, stand-alone restaurants and even housing had been discussed over the past few years, however no developer had come to the plate with such a vision.
Others have felt that the hotel will be a nice addition to the community, but the amount of parking that will be created is unnecessary, despite the fact that the property has been nothing more than an open field used for free public parking for some time now.
“I think just about everybody is for the hotel or at least a hotel,” explained Jonathan Taylor, a Clayton resident who has been one of the more vocal advocates on the subject. Taylor and his wife feel strongly about the overall presentation hotel and its potential size. “What they proposed doesn’t fit the character of Clayton; they didn’t hit the mark with it. I think the mixed-use (individual buildings and restaurants) concept was a better plan, a better solution.”
More than a century ago, large hotels dotted the islands region, especially near Clayton, and were the draw for visitors. The 3 to 5-story architectural masterpieces were a sight to see, though today they can only be seen in pictures, as most were destroyed well before our time. The Frontenac, which helped to make Clayton a glamorous destination, was enormous and filled by travelers with deep pockets. “Back then it was the pre-income tax-era and Clayton was the Hamptons of upstate New York. Train lines brought people in for months at a time. I would love to see a large hotel full here all the time,” said Taylor in regards to the possibilities of a modern day Frontenac-like hotel. “That could be great.”
Taylor’s agreement on the old time look is also favorable. “Large wrap around porches with towers looked better than the proposed. Tweak it a little bit,” he said. However, the current drawings display something a bit further from those old time buildings and the possible inspiration for changes to the hotel are within reach.
“If we can get to around 80-100 rooms and change it up some, then I think we are in the right direction.”
With a meeting taking place later this week being hosted by the Clayton Land Development Corporation, folks will have ample opportunity to voice their thoughts and concerns before officials determine the direction they wish to take.
“CLDC has done a very good job with accepting comments on their website and making the public better aware moving forward,” said Taylor. Now that the initial plan is on the table and up for discussion, it is more likely that the concern of some residents will subside and construction could begin by next fall.
“Nothing is set in stone just yet,” said Clayton Mayor Norma Zimmer. And while its not set in stone, it is surely sign that Clayton is on the horizon of greatness, but it may take a few more tweaks and strong voices from those who call Clayton their home.
By Michael Folsom
Michael Folsom is a regular contributor to TI Life. His work has been featured in the Thousand Islands Sun, as well as on boatnerd.com and northcountrynow.com. Mike was also the organizer for Sailing Seaway Clayton [Coming to Clayton... in June]. He also covers the Seaway News on his popular web site, http://www.theshipwatcher.com/, as well as a twitter site: http://twitter.com/theshipwatcher. His twitters were useful this fall when the St. Lawrence Seaway was threatened by a strike, as he was able to bring up-to-date news to the River community. He also notified us on November 8th, 2011 when the ship Chestnut lost its steering in the American Narrows. Michael will keep us informed about the Frink Hotel in future issues of TI Life.
Comment by: Sharyn Curtis ( )
Left at: 11:44 PM Monday, November 14, 2011
My husband and I used to come to the 1000 Islands often, especially for the events at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton. Over the years, we tried just about every accommodation available from private island cottages to bed and breakfast places to golf resorts and everything in between. Honestly, we finally gave up making the trip north, because we couldn't find any suitable place that was convenient, comfortable and clean and priced accordingly. We would be back if Clayton had a good hotel! Believe me, you need one desperately.
Comment by: Louise Ford ( )
Left at: 6:01 AM Tuesday, November 15, 2011
I am one of the river residents who agree that Clayton needs a decent hotel. And has needed one for a long time.
Mrs. Curtis above is a prime example of that need.
Even though I own a home on Grindstone island I have wished for years that there was some place for people to stay in town.
I have had friends who have declined coming to visit because they like to stay in a hotel and don't want to impose.
This past summer my son and daughter in law were married on the island and the few family and friends who traveled to the river for the event had to be farmed out to other friends houses !
Ok, that is not the worst thing in the world but I know that a few of these people asked to please direct them to a hotel as they felt funny having to stay with people they didn't know or barely knew.
The character and size of "our" wedding would have been very different if we could have booked rooms for guests as one can do other places.
I don't know what size is right. I think if it is too big it won't get enough business in the "off season" to support it. But if it is a destination resort who knows. The location will be beautiful in any season.
Room numbers should be decided by the developer and the town. And I think the town is capable of doing this without too much trouble.
It would make a world of difference to the town.
Clayton has done amazingly well considering it only operates in a 3 or 4 month season. The local merchants either just close up shop or run minimal hours over the winter. Many of the locals are laid off and have to go on unemployment to survive until next summer.
I think anyone who opposes this entirely is completely very short sighted indeed and perhaps more then a little NIMBY.
I don't think Clayton will at this point turn into Alex Bay just because there is a nice hotel. The town has taken a very nice development course and I cannot see that changing now. People who come to Clayton do so for the Opera House, Museums, very nice shops and restaurants. The tourist traffic in Alex Bay has been for as long as I can remember been driven by the honky tonk bars. It is a sort of Key West.
These two towns have grown this way because obviously there is a need for both types of attraction. Just because there is going to be a nice new hotel in Clayton does not mean the flavor of the town will change other then maybe local business will benefit. And who knows those of us who consider Clayton and the river home ( even if we are unable to be there, at least in my case, in the winter) will benefit as well !
What fun it would be to be able to come up to the river in the winter. For me that has never been an option. If there was someplace nice to stay .. That could easily happen.
I hope the town allows this company to build their hotel and that they use as much thought as they can as to the size and structure of it to make is attractive.
I also think that in the current economy Clayton is very lucky to find anyone who is willing to build something that can only help the local economy.
The last time the local economy had a year round boost was when they built the prison. And it has employed allot of people.
Personally I would much rather see a nice hotel ... The prison is not exactly "attractive" for a multitude of reasons but even that helped the village.
People should also remember that the site for this hotel was where Frinks Snowplow used to be and when it closed it's doors allot of jobs went with it ... THAT was not an attractive building right on the water front .. in case anyone has forgotten!
Good luck to those that are involved and I look forward to hearing news of the groundbreaking !
Comment by: Jerry Marshall ( )
Left at: 10:46 AM Tuesday, November 15, 2011
I am presently living in Maryland,but was born and raised and attended school in Clayton. My personal feeling is that the proposed hotel is not in keeping with the tradition of Clayton and the 1000 Islands. The building is too big and out of proportion to the esthetics of the River and the town. While a modern hotel is greatly needed in Clayton a monstrocity of this presentation is NOT in keeping with the historical history of the area. I try to make at least one annual visit home and would welcome a facility to reside in for a couple of days. To the planners and organizers of the most welcome effort please consider a complex in keeping with the historical background of the St. Lawrence River. I applaud the town management for the progress they have made to date, but hope they do not go too far afield and create a blight on the waterfront.
Comment by: denise hinds ( )
Left at: 11:14 AM Tuesday, November 15, 2011
The design is not favorable to the area so I also agree that the OLDER look would be more favorable to the area and history of the town.
DEFINITELY WOULD BENEFIT WITH GRAND PORCHES.
And why not a roof top terrace for wedding and such?
Comment by: Ray Pastrick ( )
Left at: 12:34 PM Tuesday, November 15, 2011
A nice hotel in Clayton is a great idea. Tweeking the design is fine but anyone who doesn't want it would be foolish! We've gone up there several times over the years during the winter but always to A-Bay because of the nice hotels. Bring it on!!
Comment by: Scott rockoff ( )
Left at: 1:09 PM Tuesday, November 15, 2011
A great hotel will be the best thing that has happened in Clayton for a long time. I think the size is fine because people will come to Clayton in the off season if there is a nice place to stay. My wife and I do it a few times a winter and it is beautiful. The Thousand Islands does not need to be relegated to a 3 season destination forever. People who are objecting on the grounds of winter sustainability are thinking about the past and not future potential. I agree about the style, however. It looks like one of those cookie cutter retirement homes. Not sure what the architect was thinking in regard to it fitting into Clayton/Thousand Island motif. That being said, a decision should be made quickly and the project should be started asap even if we do stay with the current design. This matter should not be debated to death, which has happened to so many projects in the North Country. We have a willing investor. Let's not scare them away with petty arguments and deal killing uneconomic conditions.
Comment by: Dennis Honeywell ( )
Left at: 2:23 PM Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Well...how excited I am as a Clayton resident and a supporter of the hotel project, to see the positive comments on the development. Mayor Zimmer is right, this conception is the first one drawn by the archetect and certainly is not "carved in stone". The tweaking is just beginning and I am so excited to think about having a destination hotel on our waterfront. This waterfront property is without a doubt the best one left available on the river for this type of development and this developer is excited to have this property to use. Certainly we should all keep our eye on the project as it develops as it will affect all of our lives in the very near future, but please let's not be negative just for the sake of being negative. Let's all get together and get this thing started and finished...and then I'll meet you at the bar for a cocktail.
Comment by: Jack Patterson ( )
Left at: 7:43 PM Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Certainly exciting. Above all else sewage must, of course, be fully disposed off, treated. It will be a question as to the town treatment plant being of sufficient size. So many questions, considerations. We on the Canadian side of the river continue to hear rumors of the big- now 125 thousand plus, city of Kingston flushing sewage into the St Lawrence when their facilities are overloaded by storm runoff, etc. Is a complete no-no. Wish Sissy Danforth, for instance, were still among us. She and Bill, especially, walked many projects through to fruition of which not a few now keep Clayton's charm somewhat above other nearby river towns I believe. What, though, are they doing in Bar Harbor, on Lake George, or at Lake Placid to name a few? Have they confronted such problems as a huge destination hotel already? Likely. What are other resort communities doing who have similar backgrounds, climate, geographical advantages, sizes? Clayton can learn from them. of course. Surely planners are looking at all that. I make no original suggestions. But, too, Bravo! someone wants to make a major investment in Clayton... but with that, we need also to ask, is this the investment the town fathers had hoped to see- the project which Clayton most wanted to have proposed? Seems close to me. But i live in Connecticut and the one winter weekend (Feb, 1996) I was on the river (up to recently) there was a lot going on- ice fishing contest that by Sunday already had over 400 entries; duos of snowmobilers teamed up safely and headed across the ice in the night, downhill and cross country skiers headed down to Snow Ridge which last winter (2010) had 200 inches of snow mid season I believe. Rockville has a Winter Carnival. Etc.
Comment by: judy ( )
Left at: 11:15 AM Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I think it looks like the old frontnac hotel.I do not think it is any bigger than that.People around here are just afraid of change.
Comment by: Pat ( )
Left at: 12:05 PM Wednesday, November 16, 2011
My wife and I spend our summers in Clayton,NY and I have lived in the area for some 60 years, including Alexandria Bay. We feel there is definitely a need for more restaurants in Clayton while we like the quiet town atmosphere. When we want entertainment we go to the Bay as the music is top notch although Clayton is gaining with the Opera house and the new Winery with great music. I like the design of the proposed hotel and it will be up to the mamagement to creat the atmosphere to make it a success.
Comment by: Joe Turcotte ( )
Left at: 1:03 PM Wednesday, November 16, 2011
While I certainly appreciate all the hard work done to date to clean up the site coupled with grants moving forward, my feeling is a grand hotel just will not sustain itself through the fall-winter-spring months. Job creation means lower paid positions which will be limited to seasonal times. I was hoping for mixed commercial use, upscale boutiques, small restaurants with condos/townhouses above geared towards the busier months with adequate dockage and parking. Condos/townhouses could be locally owned yet rented out achieving the shortage of upscale accomodations in Clayton. Current developer has this model in Virgil, NY's Greek Peak Resort- Hope Lake Lodge.
I am not a fan of tax incentivized/grant supported properties which always seem to disappear after the incentives are gone. Not what Clayton needs!
Lastly, Clayton is very unique in it's charm and amazing river that flows by. Keep that in mind and don't get caught up in the "potential" revenues.
Comment by: Leslie ( )
Left at: 3:23 PM Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I grew up the Thousand Islands and love the area.I also agree Clayton needs more accommadations.I think something on the water front would be beautiful.However, it should not overshadow the town, it should "fit" into the community as if it had always been there.I would also hope it is not priced only for the high dollar vacationers but also to families. I think some of the small hotels are a good choice but I have not seen any upgrades to them , granted I am not a resident any more but when I visit it seems these places could use a boost.
Comment by: Lynn Truesdell ( )
Left at: 7:44 PM Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Kudos to Justin and the board for not being swept into a plan without doing their homework. I like the idea of a grand hotel in Clayton. I also like the idea of keeping it in concert with the theme of Clayton overall.
I'm sure a deal will be struck with a little " tweaking and negotiation" I'm looking forward to visiting the new venue soon.
Keep up the good work!
Comment by: Michael Casselman ( )
Left at: 9:03 PM Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Great idea, and with it being so early in the development process, a tweak here or there is to be expected. There are always those who advocate for the mixed usage facilities, boutique stores, restaurants... but if there are concerns about the *hotel's* usage fluctuating due to the seasons, what makes boutique stores and dining facility usage any *less* vulnerable to those seasonable ups-and-downs? Multiple storefronts could just as well lead to sporadic closures and rotation of types of stores. Instead of dealing with multiple tenants coming in-and-out, stick with one tenant, bolster the tax base, and get good usage out of that lot.
Small thinking leads to little progress and stagnation. By hampering the possibility of growth and discouraging development, a place like the Antique Boat Museum would still be a shack with a few rusted out boats. We wouldn't have the Rec Park Arena. The Opera House would still be an old hulk of a building. We couldn't wait to get rid of the old Frinks building after it went out of business because "it was just sitting there unused". After years of looking at that brownish-red lump of brick *just sitting there*, I find it hard to believe the vehement quibbles, tantrums and snivels over something that (even in spec sketches) quantifiably classes-up a lot that currently looks like a swamp whenever it rains.
This parochial outlook about 'keeping things nice and quaint and quiet' undoubted also masks concerns from existing business about the need to 'up their game' (updating existing services, businesses staying open after 5/6 PM, etc.) should a new, bigger business come to town. The status quo may be alright for some, but healthy competition and a dependable year-round place for visitors to the area (whether they come up for the Summer, nature-walk visitors in the Fall, snowmobilers in the Winter, early (snow) birders in the Spring) should bring in outside consumers who will walk the streets of Clayton... and that spills over into added revenues for existing boutique stores, restaurants, etc., and over time builds a need for other business to come to the town to fill other demands that crop up over time.
I don't know about what kind of wages workers would be paid at this hotel, but when you have people in Clayton driving to *where the jobs currently are*, Watertown ~ 20 miles away, to work at minimum wage jobs... I'm not seeing the downside when you factor in vehicle wear-and-tear and gas prices. This seems more like a symptom of 'unrealistic expectations', as the requirements for service industry workers in this area (and many other places) do not require extensive education, certifications, licensure, etc. that would warrant exorbitant pay scales.
Comment by: John Cooper ( )
Left at: 11:51 PM Wednesday, November 16, 2011
While working with homeowners, builders and developers for over 20 years, I’m confident the developers of this project continue to review the data and hopefully will be willing to make any necessary changes to size and design.
I’m not sure of what the current vs. future construction costs would be, but maybe it would be feasible to have a plan/design that would allow for future growth as needed?
Looking forward to the view from the river….
Comment by: Joe Kajdas ( )
Left at: 6:32 AM Thursday, November 17, 2011
I think the hotel project is a wonderful idea, and would blend perfectly into the village skyline. As a resident who gets frequent vacation visitors, currently I have to recommend that they stay at a hotel outside Clayton. Now they will have the opportunity to stay in town.
Clayton has some nice shops and restaurants, this hotel will help people stay in town for more than a day trip.
Comment by: John Reff ( )
Left at: 4:44 PM Thursday, November 17, 2011
Big monetary donations to the project would probably help the developers decide what they need to make the project work for them.
Comment by: Lisa ( )
Left at: 9:53 PM Thursday, November 17, 2011
For those of you that don't like the plan - buy the property yourself. If you buy a piece of property you shouldn't have to get he whole towns approval on what you wish to build. I see tax dollars & jobs.
Comment by: Tom Marshall ( )
Left at: 9:06 AM Friday, November 18, 2011
As a 62 year resident of Clayton I cant help but think as to why it has taken this long for someone to want to build a big time hotel here. Years ago there were hotels in this area that fell to fires and closed and torn down. Could it be that our beautiful cold dreary winters do not appeal to everyone.This hotels appearance will detract from Claytons quaint,old home town appeal. I thought that there was a height limit of 3 stories in Clayton? If this is to be it should be 100% funded by the developer,no special land deal,no tax breaks or tax payer funded sewer and water. I have seen a lot of prime property pretty much given away,taken off the tax rolls. The Frink property does however have a history of someone using it for profit with local tax cuts and assistance and then turning thier backs on us. Remember that it is not a majority of local residents that make thier living from the tourist trade. I pray that this community will think about this project and that the right descisions will be made.
Comment by: Dave Stedman ( )
Left at: 8:46 AM Saturday, November 19, 2011
As long as Clayton doesn't loose what Clayton is then the hotel will be a great addition. I only hope people of all incomes can enjoy the soon to be great hotel. If the lowest income person in the town of Clayton can't enjoy a stay then the people running this need to do some thinking. In my opinion if they don't have a $120-150 a night room and this only caters to "high end" guests then this will not be successful. Have very high end rooms! I hope they don't forget the common family also. The people of Clayton should also receive a hefty discount if they want to enjoy a weekend. As a summer resident that takes as many trips as i can afford the winter, i would love to see Clayton prosper but please don't change. And by change I mean, please Don't resemble Alexandria Bay in any way other than a water front town. I love Clayton as if I have lived there my whole life. So, for the people making decisions, good luck and make positive choices for Clayton.
Comment by: riverlover ( )
Left at: 8:46 PM Thursday, November 24, 2011
I wish Clayton Town Supervisor Justin Taylor would stop talking about the era of the "grand hotels" when trying to justify the size of this project. The Grand Hotels were in the area in the early 1900s. Women couldn't vote, cars weren't invented, and people traveled to Clayton by railroad. This is 2012. The project should reflect this reality. The hotel is too big for the quaint, beautiful and unique place that Clayton is today. People aren't saying don't develop the site - just develop it in keeping with Clayton circa 2012. Also, I find it so interesting that the developers keep mentioning their project in Walkins Glen, NY. However, they never mention their development in Greek Peak, near Dryden NY. Within the last few months, the developers have gone to Cortland County, where the Greek Peak project is located, and asked that their tax assessment be reduced by more than 70%. This is public record and should be fully disclosed to the community when it is being decided whether to proceed with this project and this group of developers. The Cortland Standard Newspaper has written about this issue. Why are they asking for this massive deduction? Would they do the same thing in Clayton? Needless to say, Cortland County officials were stunned by the developers request and the massive negative financial impacts it could have for their community. Finally, nearly every property owner in Clayton had their property assessments - and taxes - rise in the past year when 100% assessment values were adopted. Has Supervisor Justin Taylor disclosed to the community how much additional tax revenue was brought in by the increased assessments and how that additional revenue was spent? This is especially critical now, as he pushes for this "Grand" Hotel and the "much needed new tax monies" he is so positive it is going to generate.
Comment by: Louise Ford ( )
Left at: 5:22 AM Friday, November 25, 2011
I agree 100% with the comments above about Clayton taxes shooting through the roof a few years ago but don't throw the baby out with the bath water. As far as I know that empty piece of muddy grass doesn't generate ANY thing in taxes now. So even if the hotel were given a reduced rate it would be an incentive for the company to build and employ people and help support the other local business' in doing so ... I don't think it should be a "grand" hotel but a NICE hotel is key. There are comments above that the rates should not be to expensive so that everyone can afford it. There are already "inexpensive" motels in Clayton and what people are looking for is a step up from that. I also think if they make it too expensive they will never fill the place and only shoot themselves in the foot. Having regularly grieved my own taxes and joined a group to get our taxes lower I can't fault this Company for trying to do the same. If the hotel in Greek Peek closes because of tax then they loose all tax income and many jobs. Maybe the Greek Peak resort had the same thing happen to them that happened to those of us on the river a few years ago... massive tax increase just as the recession hit ! I too am a "river lover" and would hate to see something that would harm Clayton. But so far other then perhaps the current plan is just to large to be supported by the area I find the up side much better for Clayton then the down. Let me repeat one thing I mentioned before in the current economic crisis we are in Clayton is darn lucky that anyone is interested in investing in any project what so ever !
Comment by: riverlover ( )
Left at: 9:42 AM Friday, November 25, 2011
Louise, you shouldn't assume that the situation in Greek Peak is anyway similar to what happened in Clayton a few years ago with the 100% tax assessments. Businesses have the right to grieve their taxes - no doubt - but if this is the way this company does business - asking that a community devalue its assessment by more than 70% - this is valuable information that should be known BEFORE you enter into an agreement with them. It is also why it is important for the facts to get out there about the developers of this project so the community can make an informed decision. Also, as far as the rates are concerned, I am not sure what the developers have in mind for the Clayton project, however, at Greek Peak their rates are $300 plus a night. They also have "minimum night stay requirements". So you must pay upwards of $700 for a few nights stay.
Finally, why should we feel "darn lucky" about someone wanting to develop the former Frink site? We aren't desperate.
Comment by: Rex Ennis ( )
Left at: 3:56 PM Thursday, December 08, 2011
Clayton’s new “grand hotel” is in my thoughts a grand idea. I would like nothing better than to see a replica of the old Frontenac’s grand portico facing the river. Alas the portico is not in the current design, but there are a few glimpses of the old Frontenac in the design. The operators would be well advised to name the hotel the “Clayton Frontenac” and play on as much of the old Frontenac’s world class status as they can. All the stuff about pre income tax is bologna! Where they had millionaires back then we have billionaires today. The primary guests at Gilded Age hotels were the middle class, the millionaires built their own homes just as they do today. There are or there have been multi-million dollar homes for sale in the Clayton area, to say nothing of Alex Bay. As for a taxpayer upgrade of the sewer system, well that needs to be done anyway; Clayton still dumps raw sewage right into the river on certain rainy days, ironically right in front of the proposed Grand Hotel.
Comment by: Louise Ford ( )
Left at: 10:02 AM Saturday, December 10, 2011
No one knows more about the Frontenac then you to Rex. Love the idea of naming it the "Clayton Frontenac"
I really think ... at least in the summer. If you built it they will come and if they make it a place for conventions etc in the winter they will come too !
You are right Rex the super rich are richer now them then! But this is for the average, you and me who would like a nice place to stay.
And I still hold that Clayton is lucky .. Riverlover you may not be desperate but the economy is and if someones wants to do this here and now. I would just say THANK YOU. The ugly muddy parking lot is has become is the worst part of Clayton. So many nice things have been down with our little down .. I would much rather look on the positive side of this then the negative.