Saratoga County

Saratoga County IDA puts up funds to design visitors’ center

The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency will pay most of the cost of designing a new visit

The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency will pay most of the cost of designing a new visitors’ center in Schuylerville for the Historic Hudson-Hoosic Partnership.

The IDA board voted Monday to contract with Saratoga Associates of Saratoga Springs for up to $130,000 toward the cost of detailed engineering design of the long-planned visitors’ center.

The allocation is about 75 percent of the estimated cost; IDA board members said they want to see others contribute, as well, rather than have the IDA pay the entire cost.

The partnership is a group of communities along the Hudson River in Saratoga, Rensselaer and Washington counties that is seeking to develop historic tourism in the region, where a key Revolutionary War battle was fought. The National Park Service, which runs the Saratoga National Historic Park, is also a participant.

“This regional gateway center is the head and heart of the partnership,” said Saratoga Town Supervisor Tom Wood, who serves on the partnership board.

The partnership has been working for several years to line up funding for the center, which would be on land on Route 29 near the Hudson River formerly occupied by the Saratoga Town Hall.

Wood said the partnership has received a number of state grants that require a local matching share, and he hopes the IDA money will count toward the match. He said there are also plans to approach the three participating counties for funding.

“We know the number of visitors visiting and wanting to learn about this area is growing every year,” Wood said.

IDA attorney Michael J. Toohey said the spending can be justified because of the importance of tourism to the communities in the eastern part of Saratoga County. The money will come from the IDA’s available funds.

Also Monday, the IDA board named Richard Ferguson of Malta the agency’s new chief executive officer, succeeding Lawrence Benton, who is retiring.

Ferguson will earn $33,000 annually in the part-time position. The 55-year-old is senior vice president and community development officer at Saratoga National Bank, and will continue in that position.

The Schenectady native and Siena College graduate has been in Saratoga-area banking for 28 years, he said.

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