CLIFTON PARK – After years in the making, the Town of Clifton Park opened and cut the ribbon at its newest park, Town Center Park, on Tuesday.
Both government and school officials joined residents and other key personnel who helped to develop the nearly $2 million, 37-acre park located near Exit 9 of the Northway for Tuesday’s official opening.
“This park will offer a wonderful place for residents and local business owners and employees to visit,” Clifton Park Supervisor Phil Barrett said. “It will draw many people to Exit 9 to shop, to go to restaurants and other activities. It will be part of what is, and continues to be, a very successful economic development plan here in the town of Clifton Park.”
Town Center Park has entrances and parking areas located on both Moe Road and Maxwell Road Extension. Among its amenities is a lit walking trail, and “The Glade,” a large, circular area along the walking trail where people will be able to congregate. Town officials envision using this space to hold town events in the future.
According to Barrett, the new park also connects to the William K. Collins Jr. Park via the Moe Road Trail.
The park was developed on land the town purchased from the Shenendehowa Central School District for $1.1 million in December 2017, following a vote of 2,723-to-535 in favor of the measure.
While the school district initially planned to sell the land to a private developer, an April 2017 referendum rejected those plans. In December 2016, a group of concerned volunteers collected over 7,000 signatures, almost 2,000 more than the amount of signatures needed to force a referendum on the sale as provided for in state law.
The referendum had an “amazing” turnout, Barrett said. He explained the majority of the votes were against the sale of the space to a private owner. In the referendum vote, 5,442 votes to 2,323 were against the plans to sell to a private developer.
“The hard work of the volunteers collecting the signatures, the interest from the community who signed the petitions and the fervent support exhibited from the community at large, made this one of the most community-focused, engaged, exciting community-supported projects that I’ve been involved with in my 23 years here as town supervisor,” said Barrett.
Construction on the new park began in late May. Tuesday marked the completion of the project’s first phase, Barrett said.
“We have a few phases, but this is phase one,” he said. “The other phases involve basically expanding on what you see here today. We’re excited to look forward to it, but we’re also going to be thankful for what we have right now, which is a gorgeous park.”
The new park is one designed for everybody to use, Barrett said. He explained this park is easy to get around, regardless of a person’s ability.
“We wanted to make sure that from the parking lot right through ‘The Glade’ right to the next parking lot on Moe Road, anybody can get there,” Barrett said. “And it’s very easily accessible for folks with physical disabilities. That was another very important part of this project, and something we’re very proud of.”
David Miller, chairman of the town’s Open Space, Trails and Riverfront Advisory Committee, thanked everyone for coming together to protect the space which has become the new park.
“I just want to emphasize that this is a people’s park,” Miller said. “This is a community driven park, it is Clifton Park’s central park, and enjoy it for generations to come.”
The new park has made the space “more beautiful” and has made Clifton Park a more desirable place to live, work and play, Shenendehowa CSD Board of Education President, Naomi Hoffman said.
“It represents what a community is really all about,” Hoffman said. “I plan to spend many hours in this park, so thank you all.”
With the assistance of Sen. Jim Tedisco R-Glenville, the town received a $250,000 grant in 2019 through New York State for the project.
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