A special committee spent the summer and fall studying a section of South Broadway in Saratoga Springs that has been marked by empty storefronts and deteriorating buildings in recent years.
The Gateway Action Plan of Saratoga Committee has completed a report featuring more than a dozen recommendations on how to revitalize this once thriving stretch of Route 9.
City Accounts Commissioner John Franck and city Supervisor Matthew Veitch will present the report at tonight’s City Council meeting in City Hall.
Both Franck and Veitch said Monday that one of the key recommendations is to develop a marketing plan for the section of South Broadway from Circular Street south of West Fenlon Street.
“How do you bring business to this area?” Franck said.
Right now this stretch includes two empty restaurants and several empty storefronts that were once successful businesses.
The nine-person committee included local business people and planning experts. The committee held six public meetings, most of which were well attended by people who own property along South Broadway.
“We heard from a lot of people,” Franck said.
Veitch said the committee focused on one of the city’s few problem spots.
“You have to let developers know you are open for business,” he said.
Veitch said a good example of the kind of redevelopment on South Broadway the committee would like to see is the Thirsty Owl Wine Co. and Bistro at the corner of South Broadway and Lincoln Avenue.
A winery from Cayuga Lake in the state’s Finger Lakes region will sell its wines at the location after renovating and expanding the Victorian building at 184 S. Broadway.
“That’s a quality project that makes our city better,” Veitch said.
Also, Saratoga County will be occupying a currently empty building next year.
The county Mental Health Department will lease space in the former Topper Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealership at 135 S. Broadway. Veitch said the three county mental health facilities currently situated near Saratoga Hospital will be consolidated at one site.
Veitch said the portion of South Broadway between Circular and West Fenlon has been upgraded in recent years with new water lines, sidewalks and tree plantings through state and federal grants.
He said making this stretch more like the city’s thriving downtown is included in the recommendations.
Franck said the recommendations include the southern, central and northern sections of South Broadway.
The central and southern parts of South Broadway to the Malta border are hampered by having no public sewer lines after the Crescent Avenue intersection, making this stretch less attractive to developers.
Veitch said another recommendation is informing developers about the city’s land use boards and letting them know the details of the application and approval process.
“Let them know how long [getting] a permit will take,” he said.
Copies of the Gateway Action committee report will be available in City Hall after tonight’s presentation.