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Displaying items by tag: saratoga Springs city center

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Members of the design team involved in the development of a 600-space parking garage project near High Rock Park made the rounds of the city Land Use boards and the City Council last week. The Goal: to provide project updates and secure additional feedback regarding the Phase 1 proposal of a construction project to take place adjacent to the Saratoga Springs City Center.  

“Our hope is to break ground this fall and have occupancy next year,” Mike Ingersoll, of the LA Group - which is part of the team advancing the project – told the Planning Board late last week. The Design Review Commission and City Council were also each provided with an in-person update by a group that included Ingersoll, Saratoga Springs City Center Executive Director Ryan McMahon, and City Center Authority Chairman Tom Roohan.

The project proposal includes two phases of development along a city-owned 2-1/2-acre parcel that runs from High Rock Park to Lake Avenue, and Maple Avenue to High Rock Avenue, one block east of Broadway.     

The city owns the land and a lease agreement between the city of Saratoga Springs and the City Center Authority regarding the parking structure is currently being negotiated. It is expected to be completed in short order. City Mayor Meg Kelly said she anticipates two public hearings will be held at upcoming City Council meetings in September – those meetings will take place Tuesday, Sept. 3 and Tuesday, Sept. 17, after which the City Council is expected to vote on the lease agreement.

The City Center Authority has applied for a building permit, and if all goes well the project may begin development this fall, and be partially completed by next summer, explained City Center Executive Director Ryan McMahon. The center will oversee management of the structure. That partial completion may allow drivers of vehicles to be capable of parking their vehicles on the new structure’s new first level, should it be completed in time, he added. 

Discussions regarding a parking garage behind the City Center initially began in 2013 and has been at times contentious.

Current plans involve only Phase 1 of the project – on 1.75 acres directly east of the City Center and the Algonquin lot.

Phase 1 call for a multi-level, 600-space parking garage, a “pedestrian connector” atop Maple Avenue to run between the City Center and the parking structure, and an extension of the Green Belt Trail along High Rock Avenue, where there is 50 feet of space between the potential structure and the curb line. A small “pocket park” has also recently been added to the plans,  and will sit at the southeast corner of Phase 1 plans.

The 600 spaces in the parking garage represent a net gain of about 380 spaces overall, as some currently existing spaces will require removal to make space for the structure and the trail. Vehicle access points to and from the structure will be on High Rock and Ellsworth Jones Place

The structure’s “facades respect the streetscape,” and the pedestrian connector bridge has been altered since initial plans to feature “a more transparent, open element (and) not as obtrusive and blocking as it was before,” Ingersoll said.  The pedestrian bridge will be closed when the City Center is not in use, although the parking garage will remain open.

The garage will house “flat” floors rather than “ramp” incline floors, so re-utilization is possible, and the lower level specifically may be used as an extension of the Farmers’ Market, or as an exhibition space for vendors. City Council member John Franck inquired whether a traffic light would be installed in conjunction with the increased activity anticipated with a new parking garage, but was told there are no plans for a traffic light at this time.

The remaining .85 acres of the lot will be part of Phase Two of the project – plans for which have not yet been determined, but will likely be addressed “over the next year or two,” Ingersoll said.

Published in News

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Amateur boxers came together in Saratoga Springs this past weekend to fight for a good cause. 

On March 25, the Saratoga Springs City Center played host to a night of amateur boxing to honor and raise money for celebrated Capitol Region boxing promoter, Bob Miller.  Miller, a 60-year industry veteran and founder of the Uncle Sam Boxing Club in Troy, was in a serious car accident on Oct. 15 of last year that left him paralyzed.  Shortly after, the Miller family established the Bob Miller Fund, a GoFundMe campaign with the goal of raising money to help cover Miller’s expenses, including “his medical care, the equipment (e.g., wheelchair, braces) he will need, and lodging for Linda, our father's wife, and the immediate family so that we can continue to support him during his long rehabilitation away from home,” according to the page’s description. 

Doors opened for the event at 6:30 p.m., with the first bout commencing at 7:30 p.m.  A total of 13 bouts took place over the course of the show, which drew around 850 attendees.  According to city center executive director Ryan McMahon, when factoring in volunteers and trainers, the total attendance number for the night was closer to 1,000. 

“Very strong,” McMahon said about the night’s attendance figures.

Some of the bouts on the card included Schuylerville-native Joey Barcia against Francis Hogan of Boston, Alison Watson of Vermont against Jamere Shelby of Albany, Malachi Davis of Albany against Richard Hogan of Boston, and the Uncle Sam Boxing Club’s own Tugar VanDommelen against Gianni Gragnano.  In addition to the boxing, other fundraising activities at the event included a raffle and a silent auction.

At time of writing, event organizer Dave Wojcicki estimates that the event raised around $15,000 for the Bob Miller Fund.  When asked if the city center would possibly work with Bob Miller and company in the future, McMahon was optimistic.

“We would love to,” McMahon said.  “Bob is a long standing client and fixture in Saratoga Springs boxing.”

Anyone interested in donating to the Bob Miller Fund can find the campaign’s page at www.gofundme.com/bob-miller-fund-2unsxys.

All photos in this story are by PhotoAndGraphic.com.

Published in Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Mark Baker was there the day they first put the shovels to the ground on Broadway.

This week, after a 33-year career, the only president the Saratoga Springs City Center has known announced his retirement, to take effect at the end of the calendar year.

Baker came to Saratoga via Wisconsin in the summer of 1983 and remembers hearing about the grumblings of those opposed to the construction of the new building he would oversee in 1984. Decades later he would bear witness to lively debates regarding the design of the building’s multi-million dollar expansion, its booking policies absent of a gun show, and its push for the development of a parking garage. Baker has presided over the Saratoga Springs City Center from its humble beginnings - 24 events accounted for 43.5 days of use in 1984 – and helped it reach the 170-or-so event mark it is anticipated to land this year, with more than 261.25 revenue-producing days. Advance bookings into 2017 are already expected to exceed 2016 sales figures and current bookings for conferences and conventions have been scheduled into the year 2021.

“I have vested much of my professional career, and personal commitment to the success of the City Center,” Baker said in a statement. “I want to be able to pass this incredible facility on to the next leader, with care and well wishes.”

Throughout his tenure, Baker said the City Center has maintained the same mission: to be a positive economic engine for downtown Saratoga Springs. Following the loss of the 5,000-seat Convention Hall in a 1965 blaze, there was much wrangling in the city about what Saratoga should build. By the late-1970s, Glens Falls built its Civic Center, and Albany had The Egg. In Saratoga Springs, it was eventually decided to construct a facility that would bring people into town and provide the opportunity for them to stay. In retrospect, it was the right project at the right time, Baker said. City Center Authority Chair Joseph Dalton said interviews are underway for potential candidates to replace Baker.

Baker, who anticipates retiring Dec. 31, said he is willing to remain in office until the transition of leadership takes place. It is expected Baker will remain on the City Center staff in a limited role to oversee and orchestrate the construction and launching of the City Center parking structure. “It is critical to get this important asset built for the future of the City Center,” Dalton said.

Workshop on Monday for a New Neighborhood Watch Program

A workshop will be held on Monday at the Saratoga Springs Public Library to start a discussion about forming a new Neighborhood Watch program in downtown Saratoga Springs. The free workshop – which is being organized by the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association, the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and the city Police Department – will take place 5 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14. “We’re hosting this workshop to bring neighbors living and working downtown together so they can look out for one another,” Todd Shimkus, President of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “We’ve also committed to creating and distributing Neighborhood Watch signs which will be a visible reminder that the community has taken the necessary steps to deter crime and that this area is being observed.”

Upcoming: The City Council will host a pre-agenda meeting at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 14, and its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15 at City Hall. It is anticipated the City Council will move to amending the recently approved law prohibiting sitting or lying on public sidewalks. Also expected is a vote regarding the conservation easement for the city to purchase the development rights of the Pitney Farm, and vote regarding the Saratoga Springs Complete Streets Plan.

City water and sewer utility bills are due for the fourth quarter on Tuesday, Nov. 15. City and county taxes, as well as utility bills may be paid in person at the Office of Finance in City Hall, by mail, or online at www.saratoga-springs.org. These payments can also be made at Adirondack Trust Co. and Saratoga National Bank. You must have your tax stub to make payments at these locations.

The Design Review Commission will host a meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16 at City Hall.

The New York State Department of Transportation will host a public information meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 16, to discuss a project to replace the Crescent Avenue bridge over the Northway in Saratoga Springs and the East High Street bridge over the Northway in Malta, both in Saratoga County. The bridges, both built in 1962, are safe but aging to the point where this project is necessary. The project is expected to begin in late 2017 and last until the end of 2018. The meeting will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Music Hall on the third floor of City Hall.

Published in News

Blotter

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