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SARATOGA SPRINGS — All five seats on the City Council, as well as both supervisor positions, will be up for vote in November. Of those five council positions, at least four will look different, effectively creating a major overhaul of governing powers in City Hall.
To date, 11 potential candidates have filed “designated petitions” to run for the five council seats. Six candidates have similarly filed regarding the city’s two supervisor positions up for election.
This week, Democrat Ron Kim announced his candidacy for city mayor.
“We have gone through difficult times. We’ve lost good friends. We have seen suffering. We have witnessed injustice. As a community we will only recover if we come together,” Kim said, during his announcement staged in front of Saratoga Springs’ 9/11 Memorial in High Rock Park. Former elected city Democrats Peter Martin and Tom McTygue were in attendance.
“I want to help this community come together. I will do it as your next mayor, as the People’s Mayor working for all of us,” Kim said. “In this new post-pandemic era, we need to have a kinder and more effective city government.”
Kim, a local lawyer who served as Saratoga Springs’ Commissioner of Public Safety from 2006 to 2010, said If elected mayor, his top priorities would include building a long-discussed eastside public safety station, assisting city businesses in reopening safely while also developing long-term strategies to protect their viability, “reimagining” the city police force so there is accountability and transparency, and working with federal and state funding to develop green policies that create a carbon neutral Saratoga Springs by 2030.
The position of city mayor is one of several seats on the city council that will be inhabited by new candidates. Eight-term Accounts Commissioner John Franck, five-term Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan and two-term Mayor Meg Kelly have each announced they will not seek reelection. Additionally, current Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton recently announced she will seek re-election, but that she will do so as a “no party” member, after changing her party registration to no longer being an active member of the GOP.
WHO IS RUNNING:
The 17 designated petitions filed by candidates are aligned with the four currently existing political parties. Recent changes in election law have altered the landscape regarding the number of political parties. Voters previously registered with the Green, Libertarian, Independence, or SAM party, are now considered No Party (NOP). The four political parties that now remain in New York State are Democratic, Republican, Conservative, and Working Families.
The deadline for candidates to file designated petitions was March 25. Independent petitions - that is, potential candidates interested in running for a city position under a newly created party – may still actively pursue their candidacy. In Saratoga Springs specifically, these independent candidates would need to secure 305 signatures. The timing-window to secure those signatures begins April 13, and they must be filed the week of May 18-25.
What this means is that in addition to the 17 candidates aligned with existing parties vying for seven city seats, additional candidates, independent of the four existing parties, are expected to soon come forward. Of the 17, only three currently hold office and are seeking re-election.
According to the Saratoga County Board of Elections, the 17 candidates who have filed designated petitions, their party affiliation, and the seat they seek is as follows:
Mayor: Ronald Kim (D), Heidi Owen (R, C).
Accounts: Dillon Moran (D), Samantha Guerra (R,C).
DPW: Domenique Yermolayev (D), Anthony “Skip” Scirocco INCUMBENT (R, C).
Finance: Minita Sanghvi (D), Joanne Kiernan (R,C), Sierra Hunt (WF).
Public Safety: James Montagnino (D), Tracey Labelle (R,C).
Supervisor (two seats): Tara Gaston INCUMBENT (D, WF), Shaun Wiggins (D), Matthew Veitch INCUMBENT (R,C), John Safford (R,C), Bruce Altimar (WF), Gabriel O’Brien (WF).
Supervisor seats will be up for vote in nearly all county municipalities in November, as well as an array of council and justice positions. County Sheriff and County Clerk will also be up for vote at Saratoga County.
In Saratoga Springs, among approximately 20,000 registered voters, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by about 2,000, according to the most recent (Feb. 21) party affiliation enrollment report from the New York State Board of Elections. That percent breakdown is roughly registered Democrats: 42%, registered Republicans: 32%, registered but unaffiliated with any party: 25%. City voters registered with the Conservative, and the Working Families parties account for the remaining less than 1%.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5. and up for vote in the City of Saratoga Springs: All five city council seats. Those positions are: mayor, and four commissioners — accounts commissioner, department of public works, finance, and department of public safety. Under the city’s commission form of government in matters of governing, the voting power of each of the five city council members is equal; each council member gets one vote.
Also up for vote: Both supervisor seats. Supervisors represent the city of Saratoga Springs at the county level.
The League of Women Voters of Saratoga County hosted a pair of Saratoga Springs Candidates Nights, which were staged Oct. 21-22 at the Saratoga Springs High School auditorium. The event featured contested races: eight candidates vying for four council seats, and three candidates vying for two supervisor seats.
Candidates were allotted opening remarks, closing statements and were asked to respond to questions from the audience. LWV distributed cards to the audience to secure their questions as they entered the hall. The questions which were chosen to be read, were selected by two members of the LWV. The group defines itself as a political organization that encourages citizen participation in government but does not support or oppose any political candidate or party. The comments were made by the candidates during the two candidates nights.
Campaign finance figures, which are a matter of public record, are available for viewing via the NYS Board of Elections. The financial disclosures come from the latest figures available, filed on Oct. 4. The final filing date prior to the election is Friday, Oct. 25.
Each night was attended by approximately 200 people. Ann Krul, a resident of Wilton, acted as moderator.
• Candidates: Incumbent Meg Kelly (D, WF, I) and challenger Timothy Holmes (R). Meg Kelly for Mayor 10,000. Friends of Tim Holmes $4,400.
• What is your response to city residents who are inconvenienced by ongoing development?
Holmes: There are a couple of things associated with that. Number one: How does it affect our quality of life here, and 2: What are the capacities of the city for managing the levels of traffic we’re attracting, not to mention the infrastructure to support many more residents. Those questions are very much at the top of the agenda I would like to go into as mayor. We have to look at our planning strategies and processes. Things are moving so fast today in development that I believe we have to streamline the planning process so that citizens can be heard more directly. It’s just imperative we have more feedback from people.
Kelly: I would first refer everyone to the Comprehensive Plan that was passed in 2015. That is our guiding document, along with the zoning ordinances. It’s also who you put on the Land Use boards as mayor. We have really been doing our due diligence to put the right people on, to see the right growth in the city and the right decisions being made. Comprehensive Plan, zoning ordinances and the Land Use boards are critical to be following.
• Will either of you pledge you will do away with free health care for life after 10 years of service?
Both candidates said it is something they would pledge to do.
• Charter Change is coming up for vote. Do you favor or oppose the proposal?
Kelly: I’m not going to say for or against. I lived that nightmare once and I’m not going to do it again. I learned from my experience that it is up to the people. Let the people vote and if we’re going to have charter change the people of the city will do it, not Meg Kelly.
Holmes: I understand that is on the ballot for November 2020. The people will decide, and I would absolutely adhere to their decision on that if I am in office.
• Explain your position on hospital expansion
Holmes: We all love our hospital and I would like to see it prosper and continue service to this community. The question is partly in the details of how they are going to grow. They have a substantial campus. There is a proposal about the zoning on a piece of land they just bought which lies in the middle of a residential neighborhood. I believe the hospital would do well to follow its future path to start building up on its own campus - it has 30 acres, 20 are blacktop and 10 are buildings – and they’ve got lots of opportunity to do that. I’d be in favor of them building on it according to the zoning that’s there. However, should they move to take that property off the tax rolls, I think that they would face an uproar from the taxpayers. Further, if they should turn it into a tax-free housing development, I believe that would be unfair competition to all of the housing that already exists in the city.
Kelly: On the hospital issue, what Meg Kelly thinks is irrelevant. My responsibility under the law is to see that the zoning ordinance is in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan. So, that’s what we will do.
• What steps will you take to keep downtown beautiful for residents, visitors and businesses?
Holmes: Regarding people in dire circumstances who come into the city who are homeless, there are ways to deal with this by working with the county and having the county do its fair share - distributing the resources for that and also facilities in other towns in this county, rather than this city taking it all on.
Kelly: The parking garage is vital to the City Center. The City Center is the economic engine for Broadway, so those things go hand-in-hand. With those two things happening I think we’ll have the bigger conventions coming in. That’s why we need the parking garage. We lost 14 events due to parking issues. They’re going elsewhere and we want them to come back here. The music downtown at night is a constant problem, because I get the phone calls Monday morning.
• What are your goals the next two years in your position as mayor?
Holmes: We want to get hold of planning processes, we want to complete the Unified Development Ordinance – which would include an updated zoning map, and that would absorb the Comprehensive Plan that Meg referred to, because these documents are years out of date now. And that is, in part, what is causing confusion and turmoil in council chambers and for residents. We need to get those documents finished.
Kelly: I have a few initiatives that I want to see finished. One is: I want to see that parking garage completed; I want to see Geyser Trail completed. One has broken ground, and the Geyser Trail will break ground this fall. We need an Eastern Ridge EMS station, and that’s critical. I’ve been working on that diligently since April and we should have something to announce soon. We need to finish the UDO as my opponent said; continue to work on our building and Planning departments to streamline the permit process; to reinvent our Recreation Department, because after the (City Hall) fire, we moved into the Rec Center, so we need to reinvent that recreation department.
• Candidates: Robin Dalton (R,C,I,L,SAM) and Kendall Hicks (D). Campaign funds: Dalton for Safety $24,400. Friends of Kendall Hicks $1,280.
• Top Priorities
Dalton: my top priority is as a strong voice for city police and fire departments at the City Council table, while working to address public safety issues: adding officers to an understaffed police force, adding a fire/ems station to serve the eastern plateau, a comprehensive approach to helping the homeless population while ensuring a permanent location for Code Blue, and ensuring school safety and addressing opioid addiction.
Hicks: Affordable housing and protecting the green belt, finding a permanent solution for Code Blue and a fire/ems station for the eastern plateau.
In what way will you address the climate? (Note: In a unanimous 5-0 vote, the City Council on May 21 adopted a resolution in support of the Paris Climate Agreement).
Dalton: I support every initiative in the Paris Climate Accord agreement and pursuing that to become a greener and more responsible community in terms of climate change and everything the Paris Climate Agreement stands for.
Hicks: I also support the Paris Climate agreement. Our city is doing a fairly good job in developing our green space and maintaining our urban forestry. I think that’s really important, because we have a city that’s rapidly developing.
• Envisioning what Problems May be Encountered
Hicks: The willingness for the other side of the table to come to the table with fairness; it takes two to come to the table and have a conversation that we have to have civilly, and to work through any issue that we have in our community.
Dalton: Addressing schools, parents and educators and talking about what to look for in a child who may be suffering from an opioid issue, because they’re (authorities) going out and using Narcan far more often than I realized, and their concern is that the residents of our community are not aware that this problem has seeped into
• Describe your Position on Guns In School
Hicks: Weapons in schools, it becomes a great divide for our community as we’ve seen in the past, but my decision is weapons in schools is not the issue – it’s having the right people with weapons in our schools. We need officers with the proper training – the most up-to-date training, dealing with people with mental disabilities, with mass shootings. As a community we need to allow our school board to do their job and give them the latitude to be able to make decisions about what schools we have our weapons in, and to what capacity.
Dalton: I think the most successful approach would be to use a school resource officer in every school, that school resource officer model as laid out by the Sheriff’s Department. That means an active duty sheriff’s department officer in every school.
• Biggest Problems to Solve in the Future?
Dalton: The most pressing issue to me is the understaffing of our police department. I’ve spent countless hours with our police department on patrol experiencing the various nuanced challenges that come with policing in Saratoga Springs. We need to increase the amount of officers we have on the police force and increase their funding if we want to make sure our city stays safe. We are, right now, extremely, extremely vulnerable.
Hicks: As Robin said, our police force is limited in manpower, but manpower alone won’t help us if we are not up on the proper technology and training and proper policies in place to protect our citizens.
• Candidates: Incumbent Michele Madigan – (I, WF,SAM) and challenger Patty Morrison (D). Citizens for Madigan $12,275. Friends of Patty Morrison $4,725.
• Opening Statements
Morrison: I don’t consider myself an activist or a politician. I consider myself a concerned citizen who is watching another election cycle pass without a choice, and without representation for all Saratogians.
Madigan: For eight years my adopted budgets have kept property taxes stable, two of those budgets decreased property taxes. All ensured the funds needed to function superbly – now and into the future. My administration has achieved and maintained a double-A-plus bond rating, due to my strong fiscal management policies.
• Potential Future Projects
Madigan: Having fiber (optics) on every single city street, to every single resident and businesses. This will bring healthy competition to our community. We have the incumbent – Time Warner Spectrum – and people are excited about the notion of competition, and additional Internet service providers. There are also some other sustainability projects I’m looking forward to working on. One is community choice aggregation – which should lower your energy costs but requires a city ordinance. Also: permanent solution to Code Blue. And a Fire/EMS station.
Morrison: To end taxpayer-funded lifetime healthcare benefits for part-time politicians, and to push for term limits; To implement a nepotism disclosure policy, which council members must sign should the city hire a family member, and to implement a process to collect unpaid taxes.
To continue to look to make Code Blue shelter permanent. An Eastside EMS station. I would look at shared services and have us as a resource for
• What is the relationship between the school board and City Council as it pertains to the SRO vote and the City Council amendment regarding the training of official officers.
(Note: During a special City Council meeting held Aug. 27, the City Council unanimously approved the signing of a two-year contract with the City of Saratoga Springs School district to ensure continuous School Resource Officer (“SRO”) coverage throughout the school year).
Madigan: The vote that the school board took last year to remove the armed security guards, I had no issue with that whatsoever. It was kind of interesting that it looked like I was portrayed as wanting guns in the schools: absolutely not. What the City Council came out with and put forward was a resolution to support the hiring of additional school resource officers. Something that was accepted by N.Y. State government, something that our chief of police had recommended. The reason I like the notion of a school resource officer – and that’s all the City Council’s resolution said – is because we would pay 25% to 40% of that salary. They would still be hired by the city of Saratoga Springs. I have put the money in to train five additional school resource officers and the school board has actually now asked us for those resources. When (the current officer) takes a vacation or is sick, we now have people who are trained police officers who can step in for him.
Morrison: As many of you know, I currently serve on the School Board. The City Council steered out of their lane to have a resolution. We are two separate governing bodies and when we caught wind there was going to be a resolution we had the superintendent (Michael Patton, Superintendent of Schools) and board members reach out to the City Council. And they were ignored. There is no reason why we needed to have that resolution, because it does state more than just hiring a school resource officer.
Madigan: This is not true at all. I spoke to Michael Patton directly about the resolution. Of course, the city police department is involved in school safety, so when an SRO is being recommended and offered to the school board, the City Council is going to have to pay for that because they are active duty police officers. No one was ignored and we felt that we were in our right lane because it was going to cost city taxpayer dollars.
Morrison: When I spoke to our superintendent, he said he reached out and did not get a response. I tend to believe our superintendent. It created an environment of negativity, and that is what I have the biggest problem with. There were residents there who didn’t felt heard in regards to this issue, asking the City Council to reconsider.
• Do you believe the hospital has a right to change their zoning and expand it to a residential neighborhood?
Madigan: Yes, based on the Comprehensive Plan.
• Do you agree there should be Charter Change?
Madigan: That’s up to the voters through referendum.
• Will you pledge to serve out your full term before seeking another office?
Madigan: Absolutely, yes.
Morrison: Should I be elected commissioner of finance, I will step down from the school board and take on my new role.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
• Candidates: Incumbent Anthony “Skip” Scirocco (R,C,I) and challenger Dillon Moran (D). Citizens for Scirocco $11,200. Friends of Dillon Moran $3,500.
• Opening Statements
Scirocco: Since first being elected, I focused on rebuilding the infrastructure, working within our means to keep taxes low and making sure our city is beautiful year-round. This election, I’m running on my record and accomplishments. This includes over $10 million of investments to the city’s water system and a four-year plan that includes an addition $4 million investment to replace undersized water mains; it includes the creation of a new water source at Bog Meadow to meet water source capacity and the preservation of Saratoga Lake as a recreational natural resource, and the emergency renovation of City Hall and a 50-year plan for the building.
Moran: I’ve been working in the field of water for over 25 years. We are at a point right now where there are some serious decisions that need to be made about the investment in our infrastructure. We are not on a good path right now. At a time where we are growing like we never have in our history, we are not making a reciprocal investment in our infrastructure. With growth comes a responsibility to maintain our infrastructure. Since 2014 we’re not collecting a single penny from that development to support the infrastructure going forward. That’s because of the choice Skip Scirocco made to eliminate connection fees. Connection fees are legal, they are used everywhere in the state including Clifton Park. They’re appropriate and it’s just. I will be looking to reinstate connection fees.
Scirocco: The City Council was the one that eliminated connection fees, not Skip Scirocco. The connection fees were challenged in court two times and lost. It was a failed policy and the City Council looked at it and said: that’s the end of it, we need to figure out a different way to get the infrastructure up and running in the city. And, we instituted a Capital Improvement fee, which is working; $10 million we were able to put into infrastructure in the city – that says a lot.
Moran: That fee that was eliminated from the developers was placed on all of you. If we’re talking about taxes, that’s the first thing to look at. It is entirely appropriate for developers to pay a connection fee when they connect themselves to our $500 million water system.
• If given $500,000 for infrastructure, where would you spend it?
Moran: First of all, we have a source of water that has not had a Safe Yield study on it since 1988. That’s inadequate. We need to understand how much water we actually can and do produce because at key flow we’re at about 85 percent of our capacity. We don’t know if that’s a safe level because we haven’t done the testing. I’d also put that money directly into a study to solve the problems of flooding at Geyser Crest.
Scirocco: I would look at stormwater, it’s obviously been an issue for a long time. At Geyser Crest, we are working on it with a consultant to come up with a solution to mitigate the issues.
• What would be the plan for backup water supply in the event Loughberry Lake is out of commission?
Moran: Our main water source, Loughberry Lake, is threatened. In terms of protecting our infrastructure, our water system, and keeping that ours, is essential to our future. There are taps along the county water pipe, in an emergency situation we can tap into them. Secondly, we’re going to change the way we treat our water. We use chlorine way too much and we’ve had problems because of that.
Scirocco: The city has a backup we developed a few years ago. We drove four wells out to Bog Meadow and it seems to be sufficient based on the Department of Health. Regardless of what my opponent is saying, everything in that water treatment plan is regulated by the department of health. As far as the county water system is concerned, I say let’s stay independent. It’s not going anywhere, and we have plenty of water. I’m not in favor of going to the county unless it’s as a last resort. As for the chlorine, if you don’t like the chlorine in the water, get a filter and you can filter it out. We talked to the experts on that and that’s the answer.
Supervisor: Nancy Dwyer
I am running to be Wilton's Supervisor because:
It’s time….governing be about people not party.
It’s time…we work together to turn our challenges into opportunities and our opportunities into reality.
It’s time…we not only have real transparency but that we seek ways to share information through forums, advisory groups, and workshops.
It’s time… that we be inclusive and bring different people with varied opinions from ALL sides of an issue to the table, to our boards and our committees.
It’s time… elected leaders do their job instead of doing “favors” only a privileged few benefit from.
It’s time…we stop saying “that’s just the way it is” and allowing others to impose their will and vision and desires upon us just because they hold a position of power.
I see the possibility of what things could, should, can and will be, IF, we stop accepting what we have now and demand that those we elect be public servants and serve the public….not just SOME people but ALL people.
This town, this county, this state, this country belongs to the people…and it’s high time we the people start taking that responsibility seriously and stop abdicating it to others.
That’s why I run. Let's get to work!
You can find more about my background and qualifications on my website DwyerforSupervisor.com or follow me on Facebook: Dwyer For Wilton Town Supervisor.
Supervisor: John Lant
My platform is quite simple. I’m running for Wilton Town Supervisor to ensure continued quality of life, continued fiscal responsibility and continued leadership that listens and works with everyone. Also to keep no town and highway taxes like it has been for 30 years.
As far as pressing issues in Wilton:
1. I’ve been working with State officials to fix Mount McGregor Road. As you know, that is a state road which leds to Grant’s Cottage (historical site) and the condition of the road is hazardous for local residents. Grant’s Cottage is not only a local prize but a national treasure.
2. The board has requested to County and state officials to lower the speed limits on some town roads. We will continue to study many other roads that might need lower speed limits.
3. The court times for the Pickle Ball controversy at Gavin Park have been resolved.
Listen, there are always improvements that can enhance everyone's world; however, “Life cannot be better in the Town of Wilton right now.”
Council Member: Michele Hill-Davis
My name is Michele Hill-Davis and I’m running for Councilwoman - Wilton Town Board. After almost 18 years in education and nearly five as a volunteer public advocate for issues such as victims of violent crimes and their families, Epilepsy, mental health issues and other causes, I made the decision to step into politics at the local level. I am very passionate about the issues of our town and believe that it is my duty to represent ALL citizens regardless of party affiliation.
Some issues that I’d like to work on for Wilton include development that is both economical and environmentally viable, finding a safe space for outdoor activities such as a walking path or a place for biking, keeping businesses in the Wilton Mall by creating an activities center for seniors and families, continuing to keep our taxes low and being responsive and totally accessible to our community. I’d also like to work on getting a traffic light by Maple Avenue middle school; something that would keep that intersection safe for everyone as well as other like projects. Feel free to reach out to me at any time.
Council Member: Raymond O’Conor
Among the biggest challenges is managing growth. Wilton is blessed with beautiful natural landscapes and resources. The Orra Phelps Preserve, the Stream Resource Corridors and the Wilton Wildlife Preserve, all projects in which I played a role, will continue to be protected. I also support efforts to expand conservation areas including the Southern Palmertown corridor project. Balance between development and conservation is the key.
With growth comes financial pressure on resources. During prior board service, I helped craft sixteen balanced budgets with no general fund or highway taxes. I plan to continue the practice of prudent budgeting and spending, while allocating resources to maintain our roads and other infrastructure critical to public safety and the future of our community.
Among the reasons families find Wilton attractive is our exceptional recreation facilities. Our recreation facilities and programs will be among the best and keep pace with the changing demands and tastes of our residents.
Negotiation and compromise are more productive than acrimony. In a political world that is dominated by the latter, I hope to foster an atmosphere of cooperation to best serve the people and small businesses that call Wilton home.
Council Member: Erinn Kolligian
My/Our platform is "Strengthening our financial base while providing recreation programs, services for our seniors, preserving open space, ensuring public safety and maintaining critical infrastructure. Working together for the kind of community our children, families and local businesses deserve. Keeping Wilton town and highway tax free."
I hear a lot about development these days. I've been on the Wilton Planning Board for nearly 10 years and the board does great work making sure new projects sit within the proper zoning and fit within the feel of the community. My goal is to ensure that responsible growth and development continues in the Town of Wilton.
SUPERVISOR: Dan Pemrick
Greenfield is the largest town in Saratoga County and includes Middle Grove, Porter Corners, Greenfield Center and some of Route 9 referred to as Maple Avenue. As a result we continually look for ways to develop and foster a sense of community within our town. We are accomplishing this by continually developing our parks and expand out recreational programs and activities for our citizens of all ages.
With close to 100 miles of roads in our town and a growing population we will continue to support our excellent Highway Department and our Road Improvement Program that works to keep us all safe. We have improved our website making it more interactive and useful. We have a strong presence on Facebook and use this tool to communicate with our residents, announce events and keep the public informed.
COUNCIL MEMBER: Ty Stacey
I am looking forward to the opportunity to give back to a community that I benefitted from while growing up.
As a volunteer, I have had the opportunity to chair a Veteran’s Committee that developed the Greenfield Veteran’s plaques on display in the Town Board meeting room. I also chaired a Recreation Committee which devised a plan that recommended the development of a park in the hamlet of Greenfield Center and a pavilion at the Park across from Brookhaven Golf Course.
If I am fortunate enough to serve as a Councilman, I look forward to assisting the Town in developing and maintaining the recreational opportunities for all citizens with the main focus on youth programs.
As with any community, there is a balance that needs to maintained between development and the rural character of Greenfield. Our zoning law has been designed to be a living document to assist in guiding the Town during development. Along with a growing Town, a highway department needs to be supported in order to ensure the safety of our citizens throughout the year.
COUNCIL MEMBER: MaryAnn Johnson
Candidate did not respond.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Sara Cummings, a mother of two, recently went out to a popular chain restaurant and noticed that the kids there weren’t having a good time. They were fidgeting in their booths and had energy that couldn’t be contained in a regular restaurant setting. But Cummings had a plan. Her and her husband, Patrick Finch, have designed a place where parents and children can both be happy. The Saratoga’s Kids Castle, a restaurant paradise for kids, is opening its doors on August 13 to provide Saratoga with a much needed family space.
“We thought ‘I think we’re onto something here,’” said Cummings. “The community has given us a positive response and we’re really excited about it.”
Saratoga’s Kids Castle features giant structures for children to play on, such as castles and pirate ships. There are play and craft tables and dress up stations where kids can put their imaginations to work.
For children under the age of three, there is a baby and toddler play area called “Crinkle Manor,” where there are age-appropriate toys for little ones to build their cognitive development while also having fun. It is also safe for small children since they cannot enter or leave “Crinkle Manor” by themselves.
“There is no TV and no electronics, just real play and real interaction,” said Cummings.
The menu is yet another kid-friendly aspect of Saratoga’s Kids Castle. The menu was created by registered dietitian in nutrition, Nichole Doolingm of Whole Nichole Nutrition. The food is all nutritious, healthy and authentic. There are even special sections of the menu with food designed based on the age of the child. The menu is mindful of food allergies and intolerances with special menu items for both parents and children. There is also a full café menu which includes lattes, coffees, loose teas, smoothies and juices.
Sara Cummings and Patrick Finch both have a history in real-estate and operating a restaurant. In 2006, Finch purchased and operated the Saratoga City Tavern and in 2014 he renovated and opened Kings Tavern. With this experience under their belts, they are ready to take on this adventure together.
“I’m looking forward the most to the birthday parties,” Cummings explained. “A lot of the employees are in the local drama club so they’re very interactive and creative with the kids.”
There are eight detailed party packages to choose from including the Princess Spa Party, the Dragon Party and the King or Queen Party.
Adding to the festive and lively atmosphere of the restaurant/play land are large murals painted by Gretchen Tisch from Saratoga’s Paint and Sip. Interestingly, the king and queen mural overlooking the baby area is based on the likeness of Sara Cumming’s parents while the pirate room has a mural of crazy pirates based on Patrick Finch’s parents. In the kitchen area, there is a lacrosse princess mural that represents Cumming’s 13 year old daughter, Katie.
Visitors will finally get to see Saratoga’s Kids Castle on August 13, opening at 9 a.m. with a ribbon cutting tentatively scheduled for 11 a.m. Hours will be Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. On the weekend, it is open from 5 to 7 p.m. with a special focus on birthday parties during the day. Admission is $10 for all-day play per child. From 4:30 to 7 p.m., admission is free. There are also monthly passes available.
Saratoga’s Kids Castle is located at 26B Congress Plaza in Saratoga Springs. For more information please visit saratogaskidscastle.com/