Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Spa State Park’s Coesa Mineral Spring to undergo preservation, renovation work

The Coesa Spring, shown boarded up with a spring in the pond at Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs Wednesday. It will be restored from a $75,000 grant rewarded to Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park and other investments, including one from the Spa Park Centennial Fund.
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The Coesa Spring, shown boarded up with a spring in the pond at Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs Wednesday. It will be restored from a $75,000 grant rewarded to Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park and other investments, including one from the Spa Park Centennial Fund.

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Money is flowing in for a planned preservation and renovation of a mineral spring in Saratoga Spa State Park that cannot be tapped or easily accessed in its current condition.

Officials from Parks & Trails New York presented the Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park with a $75,000 grant Wednesday to restore the long-neglected Coesa Mineral Spring.

The “friends” project aims to rehab Coesa’s springhouse, provide interpretive signage throughout the spring, and install a historically accurate replica of its original granite fountain. 

The Spa Park Centennial Fund raised and appropriated an additional $59,000 to expand the scope of the project.

No work has been done on the spring in more than 30 years, said Heather Mabee, chair of the Saratoga/Capital District Regional Park Commission.

Parks & Trails is a nonprofit organization that helps groups across New York supporting public lands, parks and trails. It doles out $1 million a year from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.

Coesa was a well-known mineral spring which — at one time — motorists would pull over at on Route 50 and get water from “a cute little springhouse building,” according to Alane Ball-Chinian, regional director of the Saratoga/Capital District of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

But once Route 50 became a four-lane highway, roadside access to the building was lost, Ball-Chinian said. 

From the park itself, a pond sits in front of the spring, making access “awkward,” Ball-Chinian said. She added that it’s also noisy.

The $134,000 total sum is expected to cover the restoration of the building and the fountain. Work will begin next year. A completion date cannot be determined because much of the work will be done by volunteers.

Additional money will be needed to restore a bridge over the pond for parkside access to the spring, Ball-Chinian said.

“Right now,” she said, “the water is floating in a pipe in the pond…We’ll have the spring re-piped to the building, to a new fountain.”

Mabee said it was decided Coesa Mineral Springs would be a “perfect” project to contribute to because the Parks and Trails agency required a 10% match.

“We want it to be able to help them match the grant and give them more to do the rehabilitation work to the Coesa spring,” Mabee said.

The friends group has been working to restore various springs within the park for approximately 15 years.

State funding has been difficult to obtain for these types of projects, Mabee said.

“It’s been great to have our friends groups go after the funding, to be able to restore the springs, because that’s an important part of our history,” she said. “That’s what brought people to the Saratoga Springs area at the beginning. That’s why the Indians came, was because of the springs. “

Mabee said her organization was in the process of soliciting funding from private entities.

More than 3 million people come to Saratoga Spa State Park every year.

“With more and more people discovering the outdoors, and visitation to our parks, trails, and public lands soaring, the need for strong public/public partnerships has never been greater,” New York Parks & Trails Executive Director Robin Dropkin said. “The Park and Trail Partnership Grants help bolster the role of Friends groups in these vital partnerships.”

“Despite challenges posed by COVID-19,” Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park President Helene Brecker added, “Parks and Trails New York has continued its critical support of Friends groups like ours.”

Contact reporter Brian Lee at [email protected] or 518-419-9766.

Categories: Saratoga County

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