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Saratoga Springs open space plan to get 'very needed update'

Saratoga Springs open space plan to get 'very needed update'

New City Council to be inaugurated Jan. 1 at 1863 Club
Saratoga Springs open space plan to get 'very needed update'
The Pitney Meadows Farm in Saratoga Springs was preserved under open space funds.
Photographer: Gazette file photo

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The city will update its open space preservation plan, making the most significant update to that plan in more than 15 years and potentially improving the city's chances of securing grant money.

The City Council voted Monday to hire M.J. Engineering & Land Surveying of Clifton Park to update the open space plan and map, which has been in place since 1994, and was last updated in 2002. The firm will be paid up to $44,600 for the work, which is expected to be done by the end of the year.

"This is 2019, so this is a very needed update," said Tina Carton, the city's parks, open space, historic preservation and sustainability administrator.

The previous plan was the basis for the city borrowing up to $5 million to preserve open space in the city -- funding that the city's voters approved in a 2002 referendum. That funding paid for a number of open space preservation projects including the waterfront park at the north end of the Saratoga Lake and the conservation easement of the Pitney Farm property on the city's West Side, which was the last major project before funding ran out.

With the bond fund depleted, an updated plan is expected to be important as the city seeks state and other funding for additional projects, including development of the Greenbelt Trail around the city. The city's Open Space Advisory Committee has recommended the update.

The update will establish criteria for the spending of funds, inventory available open space and discuss opportunities for land preservation, parks, and lands for both active and passive recreation, according to the request for proposals.

M.J. Engineering has done land use planning for several communities across the Capital Region, and previously oversaw development of the city's comprehensive plan update completed in 2015.

At a year-end meeting at the city Recreation Center, Mayor Meg Kelly also announced that the 2020 inauguration ceremony will be held on New Year's Day at 1 p.m. at the 1863 Club at Saratoga Race Course.

The event will include the swearing in of Robin Dalton as commissioner of public safety. Dalton, a Republican, will replace Democrat Peter Martin, who decided not to seek re-election this year. Dalton defeated Democrat Kendall Hicks in the November election, meaning the newly constituted council will have three Democrats and two Republicans.

Officials re-elected to new two-year terms in November and expected to take new oaths of office include Kelly, Finance Commissioner Michele D. Madigan, Public Works Commissioner Anthony J. Scirocco, Accounts Commissioner John P. Franck, and Saratoga County supervisors Tara N. Gaston and Matthew E. Veitch.

Joseph J. Ogden, a former deputy mayor, will be master of ceremonies, with a color guard from the Saratoga Springs Police Department. The public is invited. Those attending are asked to use the Nelson Avenue gate to enter the track property.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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