When tens of thousands of concertgoers descend on the Saratoga Performing Arts Center next summer to see the Philadelphia Orchestra or Dave Matthews Band, the main parking lot won’t be full of potholes and broken pavement.
The excavators and paving equipment now working in the SPAC parking lot off Route 50 are repairing and improving the lot as part of a major parking upgrade at Saratoga Spa State Park, officials with the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said.
The $900,000 project is being funded by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s NY Works initiative.
“The crumbling parking lot outside of SPAC — one of upstate New York’s most popular summer destinations — will no longer be a visible sign of the deterioration of our park system,” said Rose Harvey, state commissioner of parks, recreation and historic preservation. “Thanks to Gov. Cuomo’s leadership, we are reversing years of neglect.”
Harvey said the work will improve traffic flow, incorporate new environmental features into the parking lot and “provide a more welcoming experience for park visitors.”
The work, which began in recent weeks, includes paving 420 parking spaces with porous asphalt, which lets rainwater drain directly through to the ground below, and there will be new drainage systems. The measures are intended to protect the water quality in Geyser Creek, which runs through a ravine between the parking lot and the performing arts center.
The contractor is Luizzi & Brothers Contracting of Albany, which the state said submitted the lowest bid among eight firms.
The work is to be completed in time for the 2014 SPAC season, which will start in May.
The state contract also includes resurfacing two other parking lots in the Geyser Picnic Area within the park. Both will be paved with porous asphalt.
This fall’s paving is the latest phase in a long-term improvement plan for the park. Last spring, the state replaced outdated parking lot lighting with new high-efficiency LED fixtures to reduce energy consumption.
The money for the park upgrades is coming from $89 million the Legislature authorized in 2012 for park infrastructure projects across the state. Another $90 million in funding was included in the 2013-14 state budget.
Saratoga Spa State Park annually attracts more than 2 million visitors, including those who attend SPAC performances.