Work has started on the much-anticipated rehabilitation and expansion of Brown’s Beach on Saratoga Lake — but town officials have backed away from promising an opening date, because weather has slowed the work down.
“I would love to give you a date, but I can’t. This rain is messing with us,” said Stillwater town Supervisor Edward Kinowski, who has been contributing his own time as a laborer on weekends.
“It will definitely be this summer,” he said.
The town, which purchased the historic public beach last fall, is using a combination of town highway workers, volunteers and a few contractors to do the work, Kinowski said Thursday.
Highway crews have gotten some of the work done, but have also lost time recently because of responding to weather-related issues with the town road system, he said.
A new access road is being built directly across the street from Panza’s Restaurant on Route 9P, and 300 feet of beach is being restored using town highway equipment.
Tentatively, Kinowski said there are plans for another 100 feet of beach that will be associated with a picnic area.
Work is also being done to repair the historic on-site restaurant, which has been empty for the past seven years. Panza’s is expected to provide some kind of food service from it under a contract with the town once the beach opens.
Menneto’s Powersports of Clifton Park would operate the beach and marina under a proposed lease.
The town purchased the seven-acre property at the southeast corner of the lake last September, paying $4.1 million to a Saratoga Springs development company that once had plans for a hotel and resort on the site. Some debris-clearing and other site improvement work began last fall.
The town has borrowed the money, but is hoping for an eventual $3 million reimbursement from GlobalFoundries as part of a community benefit agreement with the computer chip maker.
The payment will come if GlobalFoundries goes forward with a second computer chip plant at its Fab 8 site in Luther Forest, located on the Malta-Stillwater town line.
The current work is expected to cost around $250,000. Kinowski said that money is available from earlier mitigation payments the town received from GlobalFoundries.
From the mid-1980s until it closed to the public in 2007, Brown’s Beach was the only public access on Saratoga Lake other than a state boat launch at the north end of the lake.
Now, Saratoga Springs has also developed a public park at the north end of the lake, though it isn’t expected to have a beach.
In its heyday, Brown’s Beach attracted families from throughout the Capital Region. In the 1950s and ’60s, an amusement park operated on the site, but that was demolished a quarter century ago.