Saratoga County

Luther Forest donation eyed for ballfield creation

With the search for larger properties for a recreation field complex seemingly exhausted, the tow

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With the search for larger properties for a recreation field complex seemingly exhausted, the town will look at putting ballfields on 34 acres it already owns at the Luther Forest Technology Campus.

“It’s a beautiful piece of property. It’s pretty flat, it has sandy soil, it’s very buildable,” town Parks and Recreation Director Audrey Ball told the Town Board on Monday.

The property, near what’s now the end of Hermes Road, could hold three or four soccer fields and perhaps as many regulation softball fields, Ball said.

The board agreed Monday to have Ball pursue the cost of obtaining the kind of detailed topographic survey of the property that would be needed before ballfields could be designed.

The town has been looking for land for an athletic complex for many years. Surveys have said it’s a priority for the public, and the town has been criticized for not providing enough places for youth sports leagues. As a growing town, Malta has seen increasing demand for youth athletic facilities.

Many sports-playing Malta children must now go to Ballston Spa or Clifton Commons in Clifton Park to play, said Don Slingerland, a local resident who supports youth athletics.

“Malta has not kept up with the athletic needs of the youth of Malta,” Slingerland said.

Councilwoman Sue Nolen said the town has looked for land for years, but has had no success since voters in 2004 rejected a proposal for the town to buy part of the former Saratoga Standardbred horse farm at Northway Exit 12. One possible use was going to be an athletic complex.

Consequently, Ball was recently asked to look at the suitability of land the town already owns. She said the 34-acres in Luther Forest rose to the top.

“This is probably, out of what we own, the best land for a ballfield complex,” she said.

The land was given to the town as part of the agreement leading to zoning approval of the Luther Forest Technology Campus, the site where Advanced Micro Devices is planning a computer chip factory. The field area is a distance from where AMD is proposing to build.

The technology campus encompasses 1,350 acres in Malta and Stillwater. In addition to the 34 acres available for community use, it includes 100 acres of woods that isn’t to be developed other than with nature or equestrian trails.

A different 25-acre property the town owns on East Line Road, the Michalko property, isn’t suited for ballfields, Ball said, because of wetlands and rolling hills.

“It’s a beautiful farmscape,” she said. That site might be better-suited for a town dog park, she said, and there are people who would like to have one.

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