Saratoga County

Revised plans for two city sites unveiled

Once again, the city on Tuesday night unveiled designs for two new city buildings that together w


Once again, the city on Tuesday night unveiled designs for two new city buildings that together would cost more than $16 million.

Plans for both the proposed police station and the indoor recreation facility were revised — the police station because officials deemed it too costly and the indoor recreation center because its proposed location was moved from Weibel Avenue to the South Side Recreation Park.

New plans pegged the most basic police station at $9.7 million, while a design that allows for future growth would cost $11.7 million.

That’s more than the $8 million that has been budgeted for the project, but less than the $17 million that LaBella Associates previously said the city would pay to move the police station, public safety offices and City Court out of City Hall.

The new plan would leave City Court in its current place, as well as the public safety administration and police department records storage, said Mark Kukuvka, an architect for the Rochester-based firm.

The cheaper model is a three-story, 27,732-square-foot building, while the larger one would include an empty fourth floor and 1,740 extra square feet.

“We believe this is the future growth of the department,” said Ron Kim, commissioner of public safety, but he added that he would tell LaBella to go ahead with final designs for the cheaper building unless he hears otherwise from the rest of the City Council.

The new building would allow for a secure entrance for vehicles transporting prisoners, a larger lockup and more current technology.

The city has set aside $8 million in its capital budget for the building, but borrowing those funds still would require a City Council vote. Kim said the city could use money from video lottery terminal revenue to fill the gap.

The proposed 35,500-square-foot indoor recreation center would house two collegiate-sized basketball courts, seat up to 300 people in bleachers and include a rock climbing wall, racquetball court, indoor walking track, meeting room and teen room with a pool table, said Sue Davis of S.D. Atelier Architecture.

Outdoor space would include 56 parking spaces and five soccer fields, said Mary Moore Wallinger of Synthesis LLP of Schenectady. The fields could be used for unstructured play as well.

Special lights in the parking lot would reduce light pollution and shields would prevent light from bothering neighbors, she said.

Evan Downing, 14, lives on the east side but said he’d use the indoor recreation center.

“Building a building would be the best way to keep kids out of trouble,” he said. “It’s something that needs to get passed.”

But others weren’t convinced, including Jeff Olson, who lives in the community near the South Side park.

He said the city hasn’t made enough of an effort to get neighborhood residents’ input.

“I still think they’ve gone a long way without talking to people in the neighborhood,” Olson said. “I think we should never pave a park.”

Mayor Scott Johnson said he plans to hold public hearings on the proposed center soon.

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