If you’re a Glenville resident who’s wished there were more local restaurants where you could sit down and eat dinner, you’re not alone.
For the first time in recent history, town officials have surveyed residents about what kind of economic development they would like to see in town. More than 300 residents, or about 5 percent of voters in the last election, responded to the paper and online survey conducted by the Glenville Local Development Corp. between July and October. The results contained very few surprises, town officials agreed, but were beneficial in confirming what they long suspected.
“First, the results confirmed what we already believed, like the residents wanted new local restaurants,” said Brian Nissley, chairman of the town’s Business Development Committee. “Plus, the results gave additional perspective of what other types of businesses were of interest and how the residents wanted the town to be developed.”
A recurring theme throughout the survey results was the strong desire for a sit-down dining establishment. Most residents wished for a family-style restaurant that serves dinner and, to a lesser extent, places that serve breakfast or lunch. Many residents also wrote they missed The Old Homestead Restaurant, a more than 30-year-old landmark in nearby Burnt Hills that closed in 2006 and was demolished in 2010.
The good news, said town Supervisor Chris Koetzle, is this style of eatery will soon come to town. A national chain wants to build a new 208-seat restaurant on the site of the former Teresa’s Restaurant next to Hannaford Plaza on Route 50, town officials announced late last year. The restaurant will be similar to sit-down, casual family restaurants like Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar, TGI Fridays and Ruby Tuesday.
“We expect more information on this in February,” said Koetzle. “They will come before Planning and Zoning, and we will finally know which restaurant it is.”
Socha Management, a family-run developer, also has plans for a family-style restaurant at the site of its new mixed-use building, currently under construction on Route 50. Company President Bill Socha said in December they were in the design phase with a local restaurateur who wanted to offer “a beautiful, welcoming atmosphere that will feed the body and soul.”
After restaurants, survey respondents said they would like to see more retail clothing options in town, especially for women. Sixty-one percent of the respondents were women.
Also of great interest to about half of the respondents was an expansion of recreational, youth and community services.
The town is currently in the process of making a half-million dollars’ worth of upgrades to Maalwyck Park off Route 5. Officials want to install a new pavilion with bathrooms, a second entrance and access road, and water and sewer connections at the park. Parking would also be doubled. The state’s Land and Water Conservation Fund provided a $250,000 grant for the project, and the town has been matching that amount by setting aside fees from developers.
Koetzle said the town also recently began talks with developers about an indoor athletic facility that could host soccer, football, lacrosse and more. Unlike a similar proposal that came under fire in Niskayuna a few years ago, this development would use private funding, he said.
“We’re just starting conversations with developers about it,” he said. “Nothing is happening anytime soon, though.”
More than 90 percent of residents said they would like to see more single-family and senior citizen housing around town. They did not feel the same about multifamily dwellings such as apartments and duplexes.
Koetzle said there are plans for a new senior apartment and assisted living complex off Dutch Meadows Lane behind Walmart. The project, Glenwyck Manor, would include a 104-unit independent-living senior apartment complex and a 92-unit assisted living facility.
Additionally, Baptist Health late last year unveiled the first stage of its senior campus on the old Horstman Farm on Swaggertown Road. The 67-unit assisted living facility will be followed by a skilled nursing facility, independent-living senior apartments and a small strip of retail shops geared toward senior citizens.
Single-family housing should be coming soon, too. Amedore Land Developers just started the review process for one of the largest subdivision proposals the town has ever seen. The developer wants to build 132 single-family homes on a 214-acre parcel at the intersection of Swaggertown and Spring roads.
The survey also revealed which developments town residents do not want, like industrial development. Survey coordinators said they suspect this skepticism only had to do with industrial development in the vicinity of residential areas. Residents also expressed little desire for businesses related to the arts, farming and manufacturing.
“We thought this survey was important because we wanted to know how the residents of the town felt about certain areas of growth,” said Dick Usas, the new chairman of the Glenville Local Development Corp. “It’s a good guide when you sit down and talk to the investors and developers and the banking people and the small business guy. We can now say, ‘Our residents want this,’ as opposed to saying, ‘We think they want this or we think they want that.’ ”