GLENVILLE — A zoning change approved by the Glenville Town Board Wednesday night is making a group of veterans just as happy as it is making the developer.
The approval for the new Dutch Meadows Lane residential planned development district includes developer Richbell Capital of Saratoga Springs donating six acres of land to the town — land that could become home to the Legacy Project, a new memorial for Capital Region veterans.
While there are many more steps ahead — and a need for prodigious fundraising — town officials are behind the concept.
"We have a place now, and that's important," said Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle, who supports the plan. "This is an important public benefit."
"The town reached out to us and said they would love to do the project," said Kurt Semon, a member of the Legacy Project organizing committee and a Glenville resident. "We need to raise about $1.5 million, but to go after that, we need to have a site. We'll need some significant benefactors, but we're going to get it."
The Dutch Meadows Lane apartment and townhouse project won approval after a 19-month review that included several revisions to the plans, including dropping initial plans to incorporate commercial development, and the developer agreeing to donate the land on the north side of Dutch Meadows, near the corner with Route 50.
The final project includes 208 apartment units to be built in two phases, as well as 30 townhouse units, said Bill Hoblock, executive vice-president of Richbell Capital. The project will be located on 24 acres on the south side of Dutch Meadow Lane, on vacant land bordered in the south by railroad tracks.
The land donation is part of the project's public benefit, Hoblock said, as is an extension of the sidewalk system to the Freeman's Bridge Road commercial corridor, which the town is looking to redevelop. The final proposal "preserves the most important part of the PDD, which is to have people living near Freeman’s Bridge Road," Hoblock said.
Details of the project's design still need to be reviewed by the town Planning and Zoning Commission before construction can start.
The Legacy Project — formally, the Capital Region Veterans' Memorial — has spent about three years developing concepts that would include a memorial with the names of those killed in action starting with World War I and a "veterans cafe" where vets could meet to talk or receive informal counseling. Until now, though, it hasn't had a location, though it has been looking in the Glenville area, where several of the organizers live.
A small museum, gift shop and veterans' services offices could also be part of the plan. “This is an opportunity that you folks have to help us with this amazing journey," Legacy Project committee member Larry Zeglin told the Town Board.
“It’s so important that we do give tribute to those men and women who gave their lives, to show them that they’re lives have meaning," said Laurie Murphy, a committee member from Schoharie County. "We’re going to do this for them.”
Many steps still lie ahead. Koetzle said that once the donated land is deeded to the town, the town will need to negotiate a long-term lease with the Legacy Project that will let the organization pursue fundraising.
The Legacy Project has raised about $30,000 so far, with organizers saying that having a site lined up will allow them to begin applying for grants.