GLENVILLE & SARATOGA COUNTY -- From an upcoming bridge replacement on a busy Clifton Park road to construction of a huge cheese factory in Glenville, southern Saratoga County and the town of Glenville expect a busy year in 2020, local elected leaders said Wednesday.
Officials from the towns of Clifton Park, Charlton, Ballston and Glenville laid out the plans during a joint state of the towns presentation to the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Business and Professional Association at Glenville Town Hall.
Clifton Park Supervisor Phil Barrett said local residents who use Ashdown Road to commute to Schenectady need to be prepared for a roughly four-month closure of the road between state Route 146A and Blue Barns Road when the bridge over railroad tracks is replaced, probably starting in June. Saratoga County will be overseeing the estimated $1.6 million federally funded project, which will affect about 5,900 vehicles that use that route on a daily basis.
"I know that's going to be a pain in the neck for a lot of you, but is needs to be done," Barrett told an audience of about 60.
Barrett also cited Clifton Park's efforts to diversify the "downtown" area around Northway Exit 9 beyond retail, with what he said was about $200 million in new health-care facility investment in recent years and plans for a 37-acre park in the middle of the downtown area on land that formerly owned by the Shenendehowa Central School District.
The town is also building a $1 million building behind Town Hall to house the Buildings and Grounds dDpartment and make more room for the sewer department. Barrett said there are no plans for a new Town Hall. "It's not the prettiest place you've ever seen, but it's paid for and it's functional," he said of Town Hall on Vischer Ferry Road.
Glenville, meanwhile, is planning for a new Town Hall. The current hall, a former movie theater, "does not suffice to serve the residents of Glenville," said Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle. He said planning will continue in 2020 for a new Town Hall east of the current building, and conversion of the current building into a public safety center for police and court use.
On the business front, Koeztle said work is proceeding on the $30 million Belgioioso cheese factory in the Glenville Business and Technology Park, which broke ground last spring. The plant, the first on the East Coast for the Wisconsin cheesemaker, is expected to employ about 100 people.
"They are expecting to ship the first block of cheese by Christmas," Koetzle said, noting the company will also by milk locally.
Elsewhere in Glenville, Koetzle said, a Starbucks and Chase Bank will be coming to the Hannaford Plaza on Route 50 and he has met with someone interested in opening a barbecue restaurant at the former Bayou Cafe property.
In Ballston, recent business activity has included the opening of a Hannaford supermarket just south of Ballston Spa; a 60-unit apartment complex under construction; and a convenience store/gas station coming at Route 50 and Brookline Road. Highway Superintendent Joe Whalen, reading a statement from new Town Supervisor Eric Connolly, said said the town has also recently adopted a revised zoning code that should help it protect agricultural lands from development.
The state last month awarded a $5 million grant toward construction of public sewers around Ballston Lake. The Town Board has already awarded $14 million in construction contracts and now has the money to start, but is holding off on setting a construction schedule to until it knows there's sufficient money to cover unexpected contingencies, Whalen said.
In Charlton, the smallest and most rural of the four towns, Town Supervisor Alan R. Grattidge said a nearly $1 million project this summer will replace a small bridge on Peaceable Street north of state Route 67.
The Town Board will also be voting Monday on an application from Verizon Wireless to build a cell tower that will serve a dead zone in and around the Charlton hamlet, he said. The site was identified several years ago, but until recently town officials had trouble persuading Verizon to pursue the plans.
People's attitudes toward cell towers have changed, Grattidge noted. "Back in the day, 30 people opposed and three people wanted it. Now 30 people want it, and three don't want it in their backyard," he said.
He noted that even though Charlton doesn't have a commercial district, it does have businesses like Smith's Orchard & Bake Shop and the Ellms Family Farm, and the rustic Charlton House is adding a banquet facility.
"Agriculture is very important to Charlton," he said. "We encourage those sorts of businesses."