Saratoga Springs officials tour creekside lot offered for purchase
SARATOGA SPRINGS City officials toured a five-acre property near the Kayaderosseras Creek on Wednesday to better understand if the land is worth purchasing.
The concept is to use the land as a public access point for people to launch canoes and kayaks in the creek.
The city’s county supervisors, Joanne Dittes Yepsen and Matthew Veitch, along with three members of the City Council, walked a sometimes soggy trail from Kaydeross Avenue East down to the banks of the creek.
Jason Kemper, Saratoga County’s planning director, explained that the county set aside money in its 2009 Open Space and Farmland Protection Program budget to pay half the cost of the land acquisition.
The city, if the council approves the funding, would pay the other half of the cost to acquire the Randy Blodgett property. The property is appraised at $40,000 by an independent appraiser, a price that appears to be agreeable to both Blodgett and city officials.
The total cost to acquire the land is estimated at $60,000, including survey, appraisal and associated costs. The county would pay $30,000, and the city would pay $30,000.
The proposal was brought up at last week’s City Council meeting by city Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan. She suggested the council take the $30,000 from the city recreation trust fund, which has a balance of $400,000.
Mayor Scott Johnson said at the March 20 meeting he voted to seek the county money for the property in 2009 but questions whether the land should be purchased. He said much of the five acres is wetlands and it would be expensive to build a boardwalk out to the creek so that it could be used to launch non-motorized boats such as canoes and kayaks.
Johnson, who didn’t attend Wednesday’s tour led by Yepsen, said the recreational use of the property needs to be demonstrated.
“I’m not against doing this,” Johnson said Wednesday, but he said the purchase has its “pros and cons.”
Blue Neils, vice president of the Friends of the Kayaderosseras Creek, said his organization supports the city purchase. He said this would be one of the only areas in the city allowing direct public access to the creek.
Blodgett, who lives across Kaydeross Avenue East from the property, said the five acres have been owned by his family for 46 years. He would like to see the land remain undeveloped, in memory of his late mother, Gloria.
Madigan said an informational presentation on the proposed purchase will be given at Tuesday’s City Council meeting in City Hall. She said she would then ask the council to schedule a public hearing on amending the city’s capital budget so $30,000 can be used for the land purchase.