Displaying items by tag: saratoga springs
SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Friday, January 24, Saratoga Springs high school celebrated their six senior boys on the varsity basketball team; Aidan Holmes, Bryce Emery, Garrett Myers, Grayson Dumortier, Dan Spillane, and Aidan Dagostino. The team is coached by Matt Usher and assistant coached by Geoff Loiacono.
The team played Bethlehem in a rematch from last year’s Sectional Championship, which the Blue Streaks won.
“It was a tight game to the end. Blue Streaks were down 58-56 with 7 seconds left when Luke Britton hit a 3-point shot on a pass from Aidan Holmes for the win,” Alicia Holmes, a booster club member, explained.
The final score was 59-58.
Holmes scored 11 points; Emery had five points; Myers had four points; Dumortier had three points; Spillane and Dagostino each had two points. Luke Britton, junior, had a team high of 19 points.
City Mayor Meg Kelly Delivers State of The City Address
Parking Garage • City Hall Opens • Firehouse • Green Belt
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Accompanied by the members of the City Council and city supervisors, Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly on Jan. 28 led the annual State of The City address.
Kelly referenced challenges faced during last year’s SOTC address, the status of those challenges, and city goals in the new year.
“At that time, we were facing the results of the lightning strike of 2018 - an extraordinary event that tested us - took us out of the safety and comfort of our workplace and moved us into a gym,” Mayor Kelly said, recalling the results of a mid-August storm which caused extensive fire and water damage to City Hall. The building housed they city’s government and its court system. Workers were relocated to the Vanderbilt Avenue recreation center, and the city court to Lincoln Baths – quarters where each have remained since.
“This year, we are facing a more positive challenge: a smooth return to a repaired City Hall that has been renovated to meet the needs of city government in the year 2020.” City departments have notified the Department of Public Works that they would be prepared to move back into the building at the end of February.
“We plan to begin our transition back into City Hall at the end of next month,” reported Public Works Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco, whose department spearheaded the renovation and restoration of the near 150-year-old building. A final price tag is not yet known, but previous estimates placed the renovation/restoration costs at just over $11 million, and an anticipation that the city would recover $4 to $5 million of those costs via insurance.
The “new” City Hall will feature upgraded plumbing and electrical, an HVAC system providing temperature controls throughout the building, the installation of lightning protection to ensure such a strike never happens again, and realized energy efficiencies with LED lighting and the removal of window air conditioning units, Scirocco said.
Additionally, the Music Hall will be preserved and enhanced and once again host events, and in its renovation project the city satisfied the state mandate for a second hearing room and adequate court space for a second full-time City Court judge.
With the recreation center used to house city business throughout 2019, the Recreation Department responded to the loss of its space by fostering relationships with the YMCA, Saratoga Springs Schools, St. Clements School, Spa Catholic High School and Gavin Park in Wilton to regroup and reestablish programs for children and adults, Mayor Kelly said. “Hats off and endless thanks to the employees of the City of Saratoga Springs.”
Highlighted achievements during 2019 and plans for 2020:
• The East Side Fire Station, currently slated to be sited on Henning Rd., is closer to realization than any time in recent history.
• The Geyser Road Trail project, idling since 2008, is ready for groundbreaking. The resolution of Lawsuits that had stalled have been resolved, allowing the project to move forward. The planning department led the work to secure the funding, complete the bidding process, and prepare the contract for its construction.
• The Code Blue emergency homeless shelter has found a new temporary home on Adelphi Street, where it will be sited for two years. Through strong working relationships among city, county and Shelters of Saratoga (S.O.S.) leaders, Mayor Kelly said: “We expect long-term solutions to homelessness to be built upon these relationships.”
• The development of the City Center Parking Structure and Flat Rock Centre is underway.
• As part of the Uniform Development Ordinance (UDO), the city is updating the zoning ordinance to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2015. The draft UDO was recently presented to the City Council and was the focus of three public workshops. “This is another very important project that will continue into 2020,” Kelly said.
• Workforce Housing: The city facilitated the purchase of two workforce housing units through the city’s Workforce Housing Program. Regarding affordable housing, the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority broke ground on The Promenade affordable housing project at Stonequist. The project includes 63 affordable housing units – 18 townhouses, and 45 apartments; Pre-construction efforts on two new buildings with 24 units of affordable housing at the Jefferson Street Terraces are underway; A project on the west side - called Intrada - includes 158 affordable housing units, as well as over 10 acres for public recreation. Two of the four Intrada buildings were completed.
• Saratoga Collaborative to End Homelessness: Staff and public officials will participate in both the design and leadership teams during the first 100-day “sprint cycle” of the Saratoga Collaborative to End Homelessness. The project is spearheaded by Shelters of Saratoga and Presbyterian New England Congregational Church. During this sprint cycle, specific solutions will be designed, tested, and implemented.
• In 2019, the Building Department reports there was a 12% increase in permit applications compared to the previous year, with 16% more permits issued. Inspectors performed 2,410 inspections in 2019, an annual increase of 9% over 2018.
• On Jan. 21, Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled his 2020-2021 Executive Budget. Among the items listed, Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) aid for the city of Saratoga Springs has been eliminated. In 2020, the city anticipated receiving $2.3 in VLT aid revenue, which equates to 5% of the city’s general operating budget. As a goal, the city aims to have that aid restored.
• This year, the Canfield Casino in Congress Park will celebrate its 150th anniversary. DPW is planning a celebration of the milestone. The City Historian announced it will present a program on April 29 titled: Convention Hall 1893 – 1965. The program, part of a new series called “Rec Talks,” is designed to encourage members of the community to share their Convention Hall stories
• Newly elected Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton reported the police department is currently staffed with 74 sworn police officers, including three recent academy graduates and four recruits in the current academy, and five sergeants currently deployed on military duty. The police department employs 17 civilian employees, including 11 dispatchers, three Parking Enforcement Officers - two of whom are also Animal Control Officers, and 2 employees for records management. The police department responded to 29,394 calls for service in 2019; The Saratoga Springs Fire Department is staffed with 64 firefighters who provide both fire and EMS response services for the city. Last year the fire department received 3,670 emergency medical calls and responded to 67 fires.
• 2020 marks the start of a four-year, $4.2 million water infrastructure improvement plan to upgrade undersized water mains; the replacement of four and six-inch mains with eight-inch water mains will improve water delivery to the public. DPW will also undertake significant upgrades to the Water Treatment Plant this year. A planned water treatment intake valve replacement project will replace 3, circa 1800’s intake valves, bringing water from Loughberry Lake into the plant. A section of the intake lines and an overflow structure from approximately the 1870s will also be replaced. This replacement project represents a $2.3 million investment.
• At the county level, construction will continue on a new public safety facility in the town of Milton near the jail, to expand administrative space for the Sheriff’s Office, as well as to move the probation and Public Health departments to that space. Regarding VLT aid, the county stands to lose about $775,000 in revenue, and plans to bring a full board resolution to its February meeting to advocate for the funds.
Photos provided by John Rowe
SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Wednesday, Jan. 15, a group of students from Warrensburg and Mayfield Central Schools visited Prestwick Chase to speak to residents about growing up, their careers and their lives today. The students were part of a lifespan/ human development class that is taught at both schools. The residents also had some questions for the students in return: they wanted to learn what life was like for the students today, and their plans for after school. Student visitors included Zach Carpenter, Liam Edmeunds, Chris Lambeth, Serena Stewart, Alexia Insonia, Olivia Dunn, Navae Aponte, Lilliana Powers, and teachers Maryellen Seaman and Stacie Anastasia. Prestwick Chase residents were Marian Peterson, Walter Blair, Bruce Conroy, Pat King, Jane Rydzynski, Ellie Strack and Doris Ludwig.
Saratoga Springs — Equine professionals and enthusiasts mark your calendars for the Annual Horsemen’s Social on Friday, February 21 from 6:30- 9:30 p.m. at The Saratoga Winery, 462 NY-29 Saratoga Springs. This social networking was created by the CCE Equine Leadership Committee to encourage horse people of all disciplines to gather and discuss the state of the industry and foster relationships within the equine community.
Participants can expect a wonderful BBQ meal and drink ticket, along with great conversation, guest speakers and silent auction to benefit the Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Training Center. The Training Center supports year-round educational programming, as well as many 4-H Horse Clubs and their events.
Please call 518-885-8995 to register for the Horsemen’s Social by February 8. There are limited spaces available, and no walk-ins. Cost of tickets are $35. We hope to see you there!
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Former Saratoga County Public Defender Oscar Schreiber recently opened his own law practice in Saratoga Springs. This comes after 31 years with the public defender’s office, and a brief retirement.
“Retirement is not for me. I still have a lot to do,” said Schreiber. “I’m young enough, I have the experience and knowledge, and I still want to contribute.”
Schreiber received his law degree from Gonzaga University, and started out at a personal injury firm in NYC. He later moved to the area and began working for the county in 1989, becoming chief public defender in 2013. Schreiber said that he decided to leave in August 2019 to search out a new challenge. “The lawyers at the Saratoga County Pubic Defender’s Office are some of the best lawyers that I have worked with in my 37 years of practicing law, and I wish them the best,” said Schreiber.
In his new firm, Schreiber would like to focus on personal injury, rehabilitation, and counseling for addiction issues as an alternative to incarceration. He would also like to help any veterans that come into trouble due to their addiction. “Many veterans I’ve represented have returned from overseas with PTSD or addiction,” said Schreiber. “I will be advocating for veterans, substance abuse issues, and mental health treatment. Once we address the mental health issues and the addiction issues, I think criminality will be greatly reduced.” Schreiber also emphasized the importance of bail reform in the criminal justice system.
Schreiber will have a full time investigator and paralegal on his team, but will keep his practice individualized for now. “My goal in this private practice is to give the client my individual and undivided attention,” he said. “I want my clients to feel like they’ve been treated fairly by the criminal justice system, and my personal injury clients to feel like they’ve been treated fairly by the insurance company; if not, that’s what they look to my aid for.”
Schreiber’s practice is located at 100 West Ave. in Saratoga Springs. “I look forward to this practice; I’m going to miss the county, the administrators, and the people, but I think this is a great challenge for me,” stated Schreiber. For more information, call Schreiber’s office at 518-450-4007.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Locally owned Family Vision Care Center celebrated its 100th anniversary on Wednesday, Jan. 8 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Friends, family and supporters in the local community filled the event to acknowledge a century of eye care.
“This is a great community to be a small business,” said owner Susan Halstead while speaking at the ceremony. Halstead thanked the Adirondack Trust for their support, and Wally Allerdice. “He went to bat for me, and made my dream possible.”
Attendee Todd Shimkus, President of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, congratulated Halstead on the accomplishment along with a representative from Senator Daphne Jordan’s office, who presented Halstead with a Certificate of Recognition from the Senator.
The practice was first owned by Cline Zachariah Miamoto in 1920, and was located on Broadway where deJohnge Original Jewelry currently sits. Cline’s stepfather, Charles Haskins, was a jeweler, and it was common at the time for jewelers to make glasses frames out of silver and gold for eye doctors. At the time of World War II, Cline was afraid that people would not see an Asian doctor, and proceeded to change his name to Dr. Cline Z. Cline.
The next owner, Dr. William Ling, purchased the practice in 1955, and moved its location to the Arcade Building on Broadway. After a major fire, during which he was able to rescue equipment and his accounts receivable against the advice of firefighters, Dr. Ling moved the practice to a former surgeon’s office on George Street. Three years later, the practice moved to its current location on the corner of Lake Ave. and East Ave. At this location, Dr. Ling had an office built onto the home.
In 1993, Halstead began to work for Dr. Ling as an optician, and later purchased the home and office with her husband Jeff in 1997. Since then, Halstead has renovated the practice, house and added a handicap accessibility parking lot in 2015.
Looking towards the future, Halstead is very excited about the practice’s specialization in ortho-keratology, which helps prevent the progression of near-sightedness in children and prevent future eye disease. She also looks forward to Family Vision’s continued service to the local community. “People can go to eye care places out at the mall, but it’s not the same as here. We know everybody. We probably took care of your grandfather,” said Halstead. “It’s that kind of small town community feeling that makes us accountable as a practice, and grateful for the support of our community.”
Throughout the coming year Family Vision will partner with other small businesses in Saratoga to host monthly raffles, with prizes including Maui Jim sunglasses and a 45-minute private training session with Reform Pilates. They will also be posting weekly Throw Back Thursday videos on their social media to showcase the history of the practice. For more information on Family Vision Care Center, visit the practice’s website: www.familyvisioncarecenter.com
Top photo: Post-demolition photo by Thomas Dimopoulos on Dec. 30, 2019.
Bottom photo: Spa City Diner – as it was.
SARATOGA SPRINGS —The Spa City Diner, which closed in 2012 and has stood vacant on South Broadway since that time, was demolished last week.
In late 2018, a proposed mixed-use project for development was to include 101 multi-family dwelling units – 68 of those units targeting a family of four having a household income of $51,840 or less – as well as another 14 units specifically designated for veterans. Those initial plans appear to have changed, however, according to an article published in the Daily Gazette last week, with the group of partners who have an agreement to buy the property instead focusing on more market-rate rentals.
The horse sculpture which had stood atop the diner was removed for safekeeping by the family who had owned the diner.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The highly anticipated grand opening of Universal Preservation Hall is set for Saturday, Feb. 29.
Following a multi-million-dollar renovation to transform the 19th century hall into a flourishing 700-plus seat performance space, UPH also looks to fill a half-century-long need in Saratoga Springs. The city’s downtown district has lacked a year-round, mid-sized venue since the 5,000-seat Convention Hall on Broadway was destroyed by fire in 1966.
UPH was built in 1871 and served as a Methodist church and a gathering place. Teddy Roosevelt, Frederick Douglass and William Howard Taft to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg have each taken a turn atop the main stage during the building’s 146-year history.
A century after its construction, the Victorian Gothic structure on Washington Street began to fall into disrepair and the church sat empty for several years. In 2000, the city condemned the building and members of the community rallied to save the structure from demolition. In 2015, UPH got an added boost when it became an affiliate of Proctors.
Proctors CEO Phillip Morris says he envisions UPH as a welcoming place to gather, and as a cultural heart of the city. After the Saratoga Springs venue reopens with its 45-foot-tall ceilings, bell tower and walnut and ash staircases that feed into the main hall, it is anticipated it will stage 200 or so annual events.
Opening Night features an appearance by singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash, the eldest daughter of country legend Johnny Cash.
Tickets are available by phone at 518-346-6204, online at universalpreservationhall.org and in person at the Box Office at Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady.
Tickets to the following shows are now on sale:
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29. The Great Hall at UPH, $65 - $150.
Sounds of the Hall
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 4. The Great Hall at UPH, $20.
An Evening with Chris Botti
7:30 p.m. Friday, March 6. The Great Hall at UPH, $79.50 - $179.50.
The Marvelous Marquise Family Circus
2 p.m. Sunday, March 8. The Great Hall at UPH, $10.
7:30 p.m. Friday, March 13. The Great Hall at UPH, $32.50 - $109.50.
Howard Jones Acoustic Trio
7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14. The Great Hall at UPH, $29.50 - $69.50.
Irish Hooley with the Screaming Orphans
7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15. The Great Hall at UPH, $25.
Rochmon Record Club: Paul Simon’s Graceland
7 p.m. Tuesday, March 17. The Great Hall at UPH, $10.
One Night in Memphis
7:30 p.m. Friday, March 20. The Great Hall at UPH, $30 - $65.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 21. The Great Hall at UPH, $19.50 - $39.50.
7:30 p.m. Friday, March 27. The Great Hall at UPH, $39.50 - $89.50.
PB&J Café: The Stinky Cheese Man
11 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. Saturday. April 4, The Great Hall at UPH, $15.
THE HIT MEN…Legendary Rock Supergroup & Musicians Hall of Fame
7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9. The Great Hall at UPH, $30 - $65.
Bakithi Kumalo & The Graceland Experience
7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23. The Great Hall at UPH, $19.50 - $39.50.
The Okee Dokee Brothers
6 p.m. Friday, April 24. The Great Hall at UPH, $15 for students with ID, $25 for adults.
The Steep Canyon Rangers
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 29. The Great Hall at UPH, $20 - $79.50.
Top of the World – A Carpenters Tribute
7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 9. The Great Hall at UPH, $25.50 - $59.50.
Yogapalooza with Bari Koral Quartet
2 p.m. Saturday, May 16. Great Hall at UPH, $10 students with ID, $20 Adults
Bee Gees Gold
7:30 p.m. Friday, May 22. The Great Hall at UPH, $20 - $55.50.
When Theresa Agresta, the owner of Allegory Studios and CultureTalk, became the Chair of the Saratoga County Chamber’s Board of Directors earlier this year, she wanted our Chamber to do more than ever before for small business owners.
As a small business owner herself, she had a sense that business owners would value an opportunity to meet up to share their concerns, ideas and challenges privately with one another.
So we established a new Business Owners Council and invited owners to meet up with one another once a month, at the Chamber.
We then invited local experts to these meetings to talk about employee benefits, cash flow projections, how to manage charitable giving, new sexual harassment training laws, developing sales goals, etc.
The creation of this new member benefit is a big accomplishment for the Chamber in 2019.
This Council now meets on the first Tuesday, of every month, from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Chamber.
Our goal will be to increase participation and to continue to bring in speakers on issues of relevance to local small business owners.
This accomplishment is a direct result of the leadership being provided by volunteers with the Chamber, like Theresa Agresta.
On January 23, 2020, our Chamber will host our 102nd Annual Dinner. We will honor Theresa Agresta and other volunteer leaders for their service to the chamber and this community.
Our Annual Dinner is also a time for our members and the community to celebrate all of the Chamber’s accomplishments from 2019 and to look ahead to 2020.
Now there is no way we can celebrate every accomplishment.
But there are three that demonstrate how our Chamber changes things for the benefit of our members and all of the communities we serve across Saratoga County.
For starters, we built a Field House for the benefit of US Navy Sailors and their families stationed in Saratoga County, on the US Navy’s Naval Support Activity Center base, in Saratoga Springs.
The funding came via a grant secured by former State Senator Kathy Marchione. After working with local Navy leaders to determine what to build with these funds, the Chamber hired Munter Enterprises to build this 7,700 square foot facility.
Now US Navy Sailors stationed in Saratoga County have a first-ever safe, secure, on-base, indoor location to play volleyball or basketball; to host graduations, movie nights, and educational workshops; to drill and to prepare so that they can succeed in all of their missions.
In 2019, we created the Saratoga County Institute for Management in collaboration with SUNY Empire State College.
With the support of the Saratoga County Capital Resources Corporation, we were able to offer scholarships to small businesses and nonprofits so they could participate in the Institute’s classes.
From scratch really, we had to create new curriculum, secure expert presenters, oversee the 21 classes, and support the participants and their employers who sponsored them.
Graduates of the Institute will be better leaders within their organizations thereby helping these companies and nonprofits to succeed, grow and thrive.
In 2019, our community came together like never before to create ONE online community calendar. To get this done, we had to collaborate with Mannix Marketing, Discover Saratoga, the Saratoga Springs DBA, Skidmore College and the Saratoga Springs City Center.
Now with one online events calendar in place, event organizers can enter information on any one of our seven top performing local websites and that information feeds to all of them.
The goal is to make it easier for event organizers to promote their events and for people to find them.
And if you’d like to learn more about the many other accomplishments we had in 2019, we invite you to visit www.saratoga.org or to attend our Annual Dinner.
Photos by Veronica Zabala.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — After two years of planning, building and anticipation, Walt and Whitman has finally opened. The new coffee shop and brewery occupies the former Saratogian building on the corner Lake and Maple Avenues.
Co-founder Will Crager, who moved to Saratoga a few years ago from the Philadelphia area, came up with the idea with his family about two years ago. “We knew we wanted to do a fusion of coffee and beer in some way, and the old Saratogian building really fit perfectly for the vision,” said Crager.
Along with Shawna Jenks, Director of Operations, and a dedicated team, Crager officially opened the coffee shop on Monday, hosted a soft opening for the brewery on Sunday and Monday night, and officially opened the brewery on Thursday.
“We’ve had a consistent stream of people. Everyone seems really excited and happy about the space and the environment and atmosphere of the place,” said Crager about Monday’s opening.
The coffee shop and brewery are split on two different levels. The coffee area is upstairs and has a bright, minimalist theme: hardwood floors, exposed beams and brick, and lots of open seating on wooden stools. Customers can order different coffees and from a small selection of breakfast and lunch items.
In the basement, Elvis memorabilia, Bob Dylan album covers and other décor surround leather couches. This classic American culture inspires not only the theme, but also the name of the establishment: Walt and Whitman.
“We really view him [Walt Whitman] as the original American progressive thinker and a true American in every sense of the term,” explained Crager. “He chronicled the craftsmanship and work of a lot of really, really important American men and women, and we want to inspire that in this place. Things like attention to detail, craftsmanship; that’s really what we’re striving to focus on and shine a light on here. That’s the core of our culture and very central to our identity.”
The food is also heavily rooted in American culture. “It’s really an elevated street food menu, so there’s food you wouldn’t typically see on a brewpub menu. There are some really cool dishes like Detroit style pizza,” said Crager. Crager added that the brewery and food team are given creative liberty when coming up with menu items, including what they are called. Some of the beers listed include names like Shadows in my Room, The Kids Table, and Used Jet Ski.
The new space has had positive reviews from customers, and even former residents of the space have stopped by. “We’ve had a few people come in and try to figure out where their offices were upstairs,” laughed Crager. “We’re just excited to be in the building and feel lucky to be here.”
Crager adds that he hopes that Walt and Whitman can be adaptable to how people in Saratoga would like it grow. “We want everyone to feel really welcome and we want to be approachable to everyone.” For more information, visit their website at www.waltandwhitmanbrewing.com