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LAKE GEORGE — The sidewalks along Canada Street were quiet on Tuesday, but about a block away, near the intersection of Ottawa and Montcalm streets, Krantz Cottage was teeming with life.

A lone carpenter was in and out of the 16 Ottawa St. home trying to fit up a piece of molding around a pair of electrical sockets inside a first-floor bedroom, while a pair of contractors were evaluating the upstairs floors for new hardwood flooring.

There’s still plenty of work left to do, but the future Ronald McDonald House Charities retreat, the first of its kind, is expected to open sometime in July, said David Jacobsen, the chief executive officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region.

“The idea is to give families a vacation, targeting specifically families whose children have had a terminal diagnosis or have had substantial hospitalizations, because that takes such a toll on families and the one thing they don’t get is a break,” he said.

Plans to convert the former law office of Howard Krantz, the village’s longtime attorney who died in 2015, into a retreat for families of sick children have been in place since 2019, when the nonprofit organization acquired the property with the help of Krantz’s widow, Marcia.

Everyone from the village government to local businesses and residents rallied around the project when it was first announced, offering to donate everything from gift certificates to vacationing families to their own time and money to see the project through, Jacobsen said.

“It’s really exciting to watch this come to fruition,” he said.

The house, officially known as the Ronald McDonald Family Retreat at Krantz Cottage, was expected to open last year, but was delayed due to the pandemic.

Plans were later altered to allow up to two families to utilize the facility at once, and renovations have been ongoing ever since.

A number of major projects have already been completed on the first floor, including a complete overhaul of the bathroom, which is handicapped-accessible, and the installation of kitchen cabinets and countertops.

The original hardwood floors are expected to be restored later this year, after finishing work is completed.

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A gas fireplace is set to be installed in the near future, and construction on a wheelchair ramp in the rear of the house is expected to begin in the coming weeks, Jacobsen said.

Small details have also been completed, including some finishing trim and custom-built radiator covers.

A “giving tree,” the centerpiece of the house’s dining room made of Sheetrock plaster, has been installed in the center of the living room, just off the kitchen. Leaves with the names of everyone who has donated to the project will be painted on before the retreat opens.

The retreat’s facade will also be upgraded with faux cedar-shake shingles made of vinyl.

Jacobsen said attendance this year will be limited to just one family at a time because of the pandemic, but noted staff will be staying upstairs in order to ensure families have everything they need during their stay.

The retreat will operate year-round, though Jacobsen said he expected most families will look to stay during the height of the tourism season, from July to October.

He added anyone that stays at the retreat will not have to pay any money to do so.

Ronald McDonald House Charities currently has 375 homes in 61 countries, but none are retreats designed to give families a respite. The charity typically focuses on bringing families closer to their hospitalized children free of charge.

Lake George’s wide array of recreational activities makes it the perfect destination for the retreat, Jacobsen said.

“For many of our families, something like this could be the vacation of a lifetime,” he said. “The memories they can create — they haven’t had that opportunity. They’ve been just worried about the health of their child.”

The Inn at Erlowest will be hosting a casino night fundraiser to benefit Krantz Cottage on May 25 and 26.

For more details on how to register for the event, visit: https://www.theinnaterlowest.com/casino-night/.

Chad Arnold is a reporter for The Post-Star covering the city of Glens Falls and the town and village of Lake George and Washington County government. Follow him on Twitter @ChadGArnold.

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