It’s never too late to get smart about growth, and Saratoga, the fastest-growing county in the state, is finally starting to. That means, instead of allowing — if not actively promoting — sprawl development as in the past, steering development to already built-up areas and preserving rural and historic areas. Two stories in Monday’s Gazette show how this is being done.
The first was about a waterfront revitalizaton plan for Stillwater, one of the towns, along with Malta, where the GlobalFoundries plant is located and expected to feel the most development pressure from it.
Malta is responding by creating a walkable, mixed-use downtown in the Route 9 commercial corridor. Stillwater already has a village downtown; the plan there is to make any new development mixed-use and guide it along the Route 4/Hudson River corridor south toward Mechanicville, keeping the largely agricultural area to the north toward Saratoga National Historic Park as open and recreational space. There will also be a multi-use recreational trail running two miles from just outside Mechanicville to the village.
Mechanicville, another place expected to feel development pressure from GlobalFoundries, plays a role in Monday’s other Saratoga story. The Chamber of Southern Saratoga will lead a volunteer effort to restore its historic train station, just as it did with a canal lock in the Vischer Ferry Preserve last year. The chamber will also work with the Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa on various projects, including one to market it.
Community developments projects such as these are unusual for chambers, whose primary focus is economic and business development. But in addition to improving quality of life, they will indirectly help area businesses by bringing in more visitors and tourists. Saratoga County was right to support and encourage them with a $20,000 grant.