Saratoga County

Saratoga chamber to get $20K for projects

Saratoga County supervisors plan to provide $20,000 to the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County to ca

Saratoga County supervisors plan to provide $20,000 to the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County to carry out a community development plan in the southern part of the county.

Specific projects will include working with the Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa and working on rehabilitation of the old passenger rail station in Mechanicville, and hosting community meetings.

“I believe the community development plan will be a nice add-on to what we already have here,” said Supervisor Anita M. Daly, a member of the county Economic Development Committee.

That committee and the board’s Law and Finance Committee have both recommended the funding, which will be voted on by the full Board of Supervisors Tuesday in Ballston Spa.

If approved, it would be the first time the county has provided funding to the Clifton Park-based chamber, which has 1,030 members. The county has for many years had a financial relationship with the larger Saratoga Springs-based Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, through which it places its “I Love NY” tourism promotion advertising.

More visitors

The goal of the community development plan is to encourage visitors to come to the southern part of the county, said Chamber of Southern Saratoga County President Peter Bardunias.

“We’re trying to do very specific points, and eventually you have a bunch of them,” he said.

The plan has grown out of a 2012 effort that used $150,000 worth of donated time and material to restore the historic Erie Canal Lock 19 in the Vischer Ferry Nature Preserve in Clifton Park. High school students participated, as did companies like General Electric, Momentive and Turner Construction.

The 2013 projects the county is helping fund will include doing work at the Brookside Museum, which is in a 1792 former hotel. The building is home of the Saratoga County Historical Society and its collection.

The chamber plans to help with structural improvements to the Brookside building, organize a genealogy project for families new to the region working with Ballston Spa Central School District students, and to identify new ways to market the museum.

Restoring train station

The other major project this year will contribute toward restoration of the historic train station in Mechanicville, situated near the eastern end of the re-established multi-modal railroad yard. It is owned by the city, and is being eyed for a railroad museum; the state has already awarded the fix-up project a $100,000 grant.

“Mechanicville represents a part of Saratoga County with vast economic promise — affordable commercial property is available, it’s close to [GlobalFoundries], the Hudson River and the new intermodal yards,” chamber officials said in a project summary.

Brookside and a rail museum could potentially be marketed at the Exit 9 rest area on the Northway, where the chamber has an information booth, chamber officials said.

The plan also calls for holding meetings with business people in different communities to gauge local concerns and priorities, and discuss possible future projects. A meeting has already been held in Waterford, and another is being planned for Charlton.

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