Opal Jessica Bogdan
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The official First Edition City of Saratoga Springs Monopoly game was released this week, featuring beloved businesses, destinations and attractions that make the area unique.
The Hasbro-produced classic Monopoly game is completely customized to celebrate the City of Saratoga Springs. Created by the Adirondack Trust Company Community Fund (ATCCF), 100% of the proceeds from game sales will go directly to ATCCF’s Lend-A-Hand Grant program. The program puts dollars in the hands of nonprofits that impact the communities in Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties.
Leah Ferrone, Marketing Operations and Outreach manager at ATC, says everyone who has grown up, lived, moved or studied in Saratoga can relate to this customized board.
“The whole board is completely customized, from the tokens to different real estate properties and the photographs that are on the board. But I think one of the things that make it so special and unique are the ‘Community Chest’ and ‘Chance’ cards. For our board, we reference something unique in Saratoga on every card,” Ferrone said. “Whether you come to Saratoga for what you love—the track, SPAC, the healing aspects of the waters—there is something in those cards that everyone can relate to that will bring up a really fun memory of Saratoga.”
Each board costs $50 and references Congress Park, the Saratoga County Fair, being a Blue Streak, and even attending Skidmore. This isn’t the first time Saratoga was featured on a Monopoly game board. In the early 1980’s, a custom game board called Saratogaopoly was created. Photos reveal the collectors box saying “a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Saratoga Hospital Foundation.”
The creation of the new game board started in February and was created with help from the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Cooley Group in Rochester, NY.
“When we heard about all of the success the game could have, we knew it would be a lot of work, but it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Ferrone said.
ATCCF Chair Brian Straughter said in a release: “at a time when local nonprofits need our support more than ever, we are thrilled to introduce the City of Saratoga Springs Monopoly game as a way to not only create memories with your loved ones, but to also give back to the community. This game has been made possible through the support of local community members, many of which are featured on the game board. We are proud to share this project with all Saratoga Springs enthusiasts.”
There is only a limited quantity of games, and sales will last until they are sold out. However, Ferrone said they have the ability to order a second edition depending on demand.
“We wanted to announce the game though a big launch party, but the world had different plans. While it’s not how we envisioned it, this is a really special time to be putting this out there. The game celebrates the community and brings us together…this is something that will bring joy to people,” Ferrone said.
The local retailers who will be selling the game includes: Allerdice Building Supplies, Cudney’s Cleaners, Dark Horse Mercantile, Hampton Inn & Suites Saratoga Springs, Homewood Suites by Hilton Saratoga Springs, Impressions of Saratoga, Northshire Bookstore Saratoga Springs, PJ’s BBQSA, Putnam Market, Saratoga Hospital, Spoken Boutique, and all Adirondack Trust Company convenient branch locations. Games also may be purchased online at SaratogaSpringsMonopoly.org.
ATCCF’s website is ATCCF.org and is located at 31 Church Street. They can be reached at 518-584-5844.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Henry Street welcomed outdoor tables filled with customers this past weekend as local eateries in Saratoga have expanded their outdoor dining to the streets.
Participating restaurants such as Scallions, Henry Street Taproom, Flatbread Social, Paint and Sip and other businesses can now offer outdoor seating on the street with concrete safety barriers between customers and traffic. The concrete blocks extend down Henry Street and Short Alley between Lake Avenue and Caroline Street. Eateries saw full capacity after beginning the street dining this past Friday.
“It was really exciting to see so many people enjoying it,” said Erin Maciel, Complete Streets Advisory Board committee member. “This is the step we need to take as a city. I think by working with the business association, we have really seen how streets can be flexible. That’s really what we are promoting with Complete Streets. Streets are public space and this is a great example of how streets can keep us safe as a community, allow for social distancing and allow for people to be outdoors and support businesses.”
The Complete Streets Advisory Board was established via the Complete Streets Policy as adopted by City Council on May 1, 2012.
“Having that outdoor space is pivotal. People do feel safer outdoors and that’s something that we have to acknowledge and support. We want them to come out and feel safe downtown. The outdoor step is essential and necessary to save our local economy,” said Catherine Hover, owner of Paint and Sip.
Street dining helps to increase revenue for participating businesses and allows for COVID-19 safe dining. To help this initiative, Maciel said she’s happy the city passed a temporary outdoor seating that allows businesses to expand to city property, which streets are included in.
“With the ordinance that is out there right now, each business needs to provide insurance that allows them to go out onto sidewalks and into the street. That’s our next step throughout our community…to expand outdoor dining.”
The Saratoga City Council approved the permit system late June, which allows city restaurants to expand their outdoor seating to sidewalks and other public locations. The permits have no cost.
Henry Street isn’t the only roadway to see outdoor dining. Maciel said she has seen businesses on other streets joining together to take over parking lanes or shift around the cross section of the roadway to accommodate seating in the street. Hover, also owner of Palette Café, expanded her outdoor seating to the sidewalks on Broadway.
“Right now, I think we are seeing a silver lining and I think that’s something we need to talk about…that we can accommodate and support local businesses with new ideas and thinking creatively,” Maciel said. “We on the Complete Streets Board and design professionals here in the city just want to support businesses to keep our city what it is and make sure everyone can weather this storm.”
Maciel is also a Senior Landscape Architect at CLA SITE Landscape Architecture, Engineering & Planning, P.C, which is located at 58 Church St in Saratoga Springs.
Hover added: “We have to keep moving forward and we have to have hope. We have to evolve and we have to adapt. We need people to be vocal and speak up. There is real change coming and it’s exciting.”
Dining on the road will continue through Labor Day, at which point the Complete Streets Advisory Board and city officials will re-evaluate to determine if the ordinance and permits should be extended.
“It really depends on COVID and how safe we can be indoors,” Maciel said. “We have a climate here that does not allow us to be outdoors year-round. Talking with everyone, why can’t we have heaters out there? You look at a lot of cities around the globe and I think there are ways to make accommodations for folks to enjoy it longer. Once we go into winter and if we are not able to be indoors safely, that’s going to be a huge hit for our small businesses. We really need to expand it as far as it can.”
MALTA — Recently known as 101 State Farm Place, Malta Grove was auctioned off earlier this year to the new property owner Flaum Management Co. Inc.
Flaum Management is a commercial real estate agency based in Rochester, New York. They purchased the 25-acre property for $2 million, which holds a 120,000 sq-ft building.
Flaum Management is highly motivated to fill the building and will demise the space to accommodate tenants requirements. The building is currently available for lease in suites ranging starting at 10,000 sq-ft. Loren Flaum, CFO of Flaum Management, said the family business is very tenant-orientated.
“We are very tenant focused…good tenants come first in our business. We’re very hands-on, we're not an absentee landlord, with over 500 tenants we put them all first,” Flaum said. “We service our tenants and give them whatever they need such as a cost effective solution. We have a very attentive 24/7-customer-service.”
Flaum said the management team enjoys the redevelopment opportunities Saratoga County and the Capital Region offers.
“We found that the economy in the capital region is very strong we like the prospects,” Flaum said. “We have a property management team in Albany and we’re gearing up to do more in the capital region.”
Flaum management is known for taking vacant properties and used properties to redevelop them and bring life back to them. Flaum mentioned re-naming the property to Malta Grove would fit better within the landscape.
“The location is phenomenal, it’s right off the highway and across the street from the new hospital and YMCA. We have been very successful in re-developing and we will use that same model for this building,” Flaum said. “We love the economic prospect of the area and the growth. We only look at acquisitions that we can really help benefit tenants because without them, we would have nothing.”
Flaum Management worked with Peter Struzzi, SIOR at Cushman & Wakefield. Struzzi joined the company in 1998 and serves as the Real Estate Broker for the Albany Office. As for the future of Malta Grove, Flaum and his family are excited for the opportunity to expand in Saratoga County.
“We just want to see this building become vibrant again and have more life,” Flaum said.
Flaum Management is also the owner of Latham Farms, located at 579 Troy Schenectady Rd and Queensbury Plaza.
MALTA — This store’s new location has become the one-stop-shop for local home décor complete with a sweet treat: an ice cream parlor.
Finishing Touches Home Décor opened the doors to their new location this past Thursday. Exclusively a home décor store before moving to their new location, owner Shelly Walker said her husband has always wanted to open an ice cream store. When the new location offered the opportunity to open one, the couple knew they had to take advantage of it.
“The ice cream parlor is called Cookies and Cream. It’s a full-blown ice cream shop. We offer hard ice cream, soft ice cream, shakes, banana splits and ice cream cookies to name a few. We’ve been really busy,” Walker said.
The ice cream parlor was not the only addition to Finishing Touches. The decor store now features a baby and child section, pet section and displays several window treatment options.
“We have a lot more windows in this building so I put sample designs in most of the windows. People can now see the different styles of stain of window shades on the windows rather than just look at a tiny sample or online,” Walker said.
Since opening their doors at 450 East High Street in Malta, business has been busy. Walker said the store felt “tucked away” at its previous location at 217 Ballard Rd Wilton and was looking forward to the move.
“It’s been great. We’ve had steady traffic every day and it’s so much better than what we had in Wilton,” Walker said. “The people here are so nice, friendly and are always saying ‘we love that you’re here.’ Everyone in Malta is excited that we are there.”
The store is located on the corner of Route 9 and East High Street. Walker said the new store is aimed to sell gifts for special occasions. They are trying to offer more items for weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. Finishing Touches also offers gift cards and gift bags sets.
“There’s nothing like that in Malta, really,” Walker said.
The store aims to provide the “finishing touches” to anyone’s home. They not only offer artwork, mirrors, furniture, bedding and accessories, but also room re-styling as well. Walker focuses on items made in the United States as well.
Walker previously hoped to open her doors this past spring, but the pandemic put her on pause. She and her husband have spent their effort in remodeling, placing patio furniture outside and designing the ice cream parlor.
“We’re excited that we're busy. Even though we are at a new location, we still offer interior design along with other services,” Walker said.
Other services include: renovations, model home staging, artwork and accessories selection and placement and outdoor patios. Walker has over 20 years of experience in the design field after earning her degree at the Interior Design Institute in CA. She has participated in the Saratoga Builders Association Showcase of Homes and the Capital Region Builders and Remodelers Association Parade of Home.
BALLSTON SPA — The Village of Ballston Spa is offering the community a unique dining experience where customers can eat on the street.
Any restaurant located on Front Street can expand their outdoor dining area three nights a week during dining hours. The Village Board voted the new dining rules into effect this past month.
Street dining began June 18 and restaurants located between Low and Bath have expanded their tables to the street. The outdoor dining will be offered from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Larry Woolbright, village mayor, said business has been great for street dining.
“The restaurants have been participating in outdoor dining and they have been doing really good business. It’s been a popular thing. I’ve been down here a few evenings and they have all been doing brisk business. It’s great to see people walking around,” Woolbright said.
The effort is to boost business at local eateries including the Front Street Social Club, Henry’s Irish Tavern, Next Door Restaurant and Sunset Grill. Craig Favreau, manager at Front Street Delicatessen and Pizzeria, said he’s noticed a massive decrease in people dining out since restaurants were allowed to open at half occupancy. He did notice, however, that the community utilized the expanded outdoor seating when it was available.
“We don’t really sell much nowadays with people dining in. People are still eating in, but not like they used to. But they are utilizing the outdoor tables weather permitting,” Favreau said.
Woolbright added: “The restaurants on Front Street are pretty small spaces. When they were allowed to open up with appropriate social distancing, it’s questionable whether some of them will have enough tables to cover their expenses. We felt that in order to help them, we had to give them the opportunity to expand the location of their tables.”
Being closed or exclusively offering takeout has taken a toll on eateries across the world, but Favreau is happy to have the opportunity to expand. Front Street Deli currently allows half of the occupancy of the store. When Front Street is shut down, Favreau takes the unused tables and places them on the street.
“Right now, half of our tables inside are not in use. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday we get the ones that we are not using inside and put them outside,” Favreau said. “I think having this makes people more inclined to dine out.”
The community of Saratoga Springs is hoping for a similar dining opportunity on Broadway. However, expanding outdoor seating won't be an option, as Broadway is also State Route 50 which is controlled by the state. Two weeks ago, the City Council approved a permit system that will allow the city’s restaurants to expand their outdoor dining. The permit will allow eateries to place their chairs and tables on sidewalks and streets.
Front Street Deli is located at 39 Front Street. They can be reached at thefsdeli.com or 518-884-0456.
“It’s been tough on these small outfits to be closed for so long,” Woolbright said. “Unless something changes with indoor dining, we reserved the right to change the system anytime that it appears that it needs to be changed. My guess is until the restaurants are allowed to open back up at their full capacity we’ll probably continue to do this.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — While hundreds of high school graduates celebrate their academic achievements for the school year, one local graduate was recognized for her key personality traits.
Eve Crossett, a graduate at the Saratoga Springs High School, was honored for embodying key traits such as anti-bullying and respect throughout the school year. She was featured on the Act with Respect Always (AWRA) website as a “spotlight.” The spotlight highlights individuals from schools and in the community who have taken it upon themselves to “pay it forward” as AWRA Ambassadors.
“Being a spotlight was a surprise. It feels really good to be recognized and I’m really excited for what the future will bring,” Crossett said.
AWRA stresses the importance of one’s personal character both on and off the school campus. It was founded by Rich Johns as a pay it forward movement. Every year, Johns selects a student who embodies traits such as kindness, teamwork, courage, honesty and anti-bullying. Johns said he selected Crossett for not only her personality traits, but also the scholarship she received. Crossett received the West Point Association of
“West Point is sponsoring me to go to a preparatory school. I will attend Marion Military Institute in Marion, AL as a cadet in the Service Academy Preparatory Program this year, and upon completion of the program I will receive a Letter of Assurance from West Point. This guarantees a spot in the class of 2025 if I remain academically, medically, and physically qualified,” Crossett said.
Johns first met Crossett while helping the Saratoga girl’s tennis team. He began to help her on the tennis court, and grew to learn her personality both on and off the court.
“I was on the girls’ varsity tennis team in Saratoga for a few years and he always came in and spoke. We didn’t become closer until this year as he came to our matches more often and I had more opportunities to talk to him. He then asked me to be a member of his program and I felt so honored,” Crossett said.
Johns added: “She is so open and honest. She has impressed me so much over the last year. The path that Eve has wanted to take is becoming a reality. She is one of the most caring, gifted, modest students I have ever met. I feel connected to Eve and all of the past spotlights.”
Crossett said Johns has reached out weekly throughout the COVID pandemic to check in with the members of AWRA.
“He is a great role model in the community,” Crossett said. “I’m so excited to finally be able to live out my dream of going to West Point.”
Johns founded AWRA after growing up in South Glens Falls. There, he learned core values that he has used throughout his life.
“My mom and dad were from large families that immigrated to the United States to create a new life for themselves. Each of them taught me from a very young age that you must always work hard and respect all people that are in your life,” Johns wrote on his website. “As a young student and athlete, I soon learned that teachers and coaches were there to help me improve my abilities. Respecting these individuals was first and foremost to me. As years have passed, the core value of respect continues to be even more important to me. I believe that respect is at the center of all things we do in life.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The community is invited to get active, stay safe and join together to take a slow roll bike ride.
Local biker Ian Klepetar developed the Social Distance Slow Roll bike ride through his own interest in bikes. He teamed up with two downtown Saratoga businesses to create this slow paced bike tour. The idea is to gather every last Sunday of the month and bike certain routes Klepetar has planned out.
“The ride will have a front leader and a rear leader. Any type of bikes are welcomed; electric bikes, road bikes, cruisers, anything,” Klepetar said.
The Social Distance Slow Roll is co-hosted with The Palette Café and Impressions of Saratoga. Each ride will begin at 10 a.m. on the last Sunday of every month. Facemasks and helmets are required as everyone in the community is welcomed to join. Klepetar mentioned the riders averaged 10 mph on their last slow roll.
Each tour will finish at Humpty Dumpty Ice Cream & Subs. Klepetar mentioned riders can use a buy-one-get-one deal on the ice cream after the slow roll. The next slow roll will happen June 28.
“A lot of people want to keep it safe out there. Being out in the fresh air where there is more air circulating is great. We try to keep our distance and ask all participants to wear a mask,” Klepetar said. “We usually play music and everyone is welcome to attend.”
Klepetar wanted to host the slow roll after being inspired through his monthly “Bike Talk.” The talk features different experts in the world of biking, covering topics from bicycling safety and trail riding. Palette Café teamed up with Klepetar and Maddy Zanetti, co-owner of Impressions of Saratoga, to start the weekly “Bike Talk.” They began this past May as a way to educate and engage the community in all things bicycle related.
“We hosted a slow roll at the end of last month as a celebration of the regular Bike Talks. The ride was such a success…we will continue doing the bike ride throughout the summer,” Klepetar said.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Only one of the 31 seniors of the 2020 Saratoga Central Catholic School (SCC) graduating class was asked to put on their cap and gown this past weekend.
As the graduates drove through the school to pick up their caps and gowns, graduate Ria Walsh was honored. Her fellow students and teachers beeped their car horns and showed their support through the purple and gold school colors. Faculty and Staff wore their SCC spirit-wear with pom-poms and signs. They also handed out goodie bags, yearbooks, academic and athletic awards and caps and gowns to each senior as they drove up.
“We had them all park their cars in the parking lot while beeping their horns and yelling. Ria was so excited. The students got to support her and she got to see them and have a little celebration as well,” Mary Guarnieri, director of advancement at SCC, said.
Last August, Walsh joined the Army National Guard. Her recruiter, SSG Brandon Moseman joined the celebration and honored Walsh with a personal level of achievement.
The district has planned a tentative graduation ceremony for Friday, July 10. However, Walsh will leave for basic training on June 30, and SCC still wanted to honor her.
Interim Principal Michael Kondratowicz handed the graduate her diploma along with two awards she earned. Walsh received one award from the Gurtler Brother VFW Post 420 Patriotism award and also received the Knights of Colombus 4th Degree Assembly Patriotism award.
Guarnieri said the event was great and the students appreciated it.
“It went very well. We had a dunking booth where students could attempt to dunk our Athletic Director Alphonse Lambert,” Guarnieri said.
A local DJ, Elaine Gaynor of DJ Smalz, played music for the duration of the event. Along with picking up their caps and gowns, students were welcomed to receive their awards for the school year. Guarnieri said for the ceremony this year, two faculty members recorded a video of the awards in their gym.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The residents at Prestwick Chase enjoyed a pop-up farmers market this past week.
Mother-daughter team Meghan Barker and Sharon Anderson, co-owners of Clyde O’Scope Farms, hosted the pop-up market. They offered fresh veggies, flowers, free-range eggs, and home made potpies to residents. Since COVID-19 struck the community this past March, John Rowe, director of marketing at Prestwick, said they have shut down access to the building and asked residents not to leave. To help social distance guidelines, Rowe said his team has done the shopping for each resident.
“We’re doing some shopping for them. Some of the fresh vegetables they might not be thinking about or putting it on their list so now, they can go right outside and grab the fresh produce for themselves,” Rowe said.
As the second week hosting the market, Rowe said residents have been overjoyed to be able to purchase and enjoy locally produced items.
“Last week we had a limited supply of things and the residents purchased flowers, potatoes, all sorts of vegetables for themselves. The people that ran it were very happy,” Rowe said.
PALMERTOWN — The Palmertown Range project announced a new four-part series showcasing the possible benefits of the 20 mile trail system.
Saratoga PLAN, preserving land and nature, in partnership with The Saratoga Film Academy and Open Space Institute released the first-part this past Monday, June 15. Each episode in the mini-series will last from three to seven minutes, and takes viewers on a visual and informational journey. Saratoga PLAN Executive Director Maria Trabka said the videos will demonstrate the ways in which an integrated trail system will benefit conservation, recreation and economic development in the Saratoga County region
“The Palmertown Range is just an incredible place…it’s sort of a hidden gem that we wanted to feature and let people know about it. As we get to know the range better, we wanted to share that with other people and let them know about it. The Adirondacks are just outside our doors,” Trabka said.
The videos depict the trail system along with the surrounding community. The goal is to showcase different habitats located in the range, recreational opportunities and the type of economic development that is available in the range.
The first film is an overview of the vision for the Palmertown Range, located 20 minutes north of Saratoga Springs. Each subsequent film focuses on one of the key aspects of the plan – conservation, recreation, and economic development.
“From protecting water quality to linked trail systems to maple sugaring, the series shows how conservation and various types of land use can be beneficially interwoven,” PLAN’s community engagement manager, Alex Fylypovych said in a press release.
Saratoga PLAN received a $500,000 grant this past May from the Sarah B. Foulke Charitable Fund, the largest private cash gift made to the organization. The grant will go towards the planning and design of roughly 20 miles of trails built in the Southern Palmertown Range. Home to 8,000 acres of protected lands, the project will establish the area as a recreational destination while conserving its natural resources. This project began more than a decade ago and has grown into a collaboration between local and state governmental entities, non-profits, and academic institution.
“Currently we have received funding to design a master trail plan that incorporates trails for all different types of uses; people using strollers, wheelchairs, horseback riders, snowmobilers, trail runners, hikers, mountain bikers, paddlers…really the whole gamut of trail users,” Trabka said.
She added: “There are a number of public lands in the area and there are also a number of private land owners. The landowners said they would be willing to let the public recreate on their properties with a conservation easement on their property.”
The videos will premiere on Facebook and YouTube at 9 p.m. on Monday nights. Following the premieres, videos will be available for regular viewing on Facebook, YouTube and Saratoga PLAN’s website. The release schedule for the next is Monday, June 22, 9 p.m. focusing on recreation potential. The third mini-series will premier June 29, 9 p.m. with economic opportunities. The series will end July 6, 9 p.m. with conservation priorities. Following the series, an informal Q&A session with various partners on the project will take place July 13 at 7 p.m.