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SARATOGA: City to acquire lakefront property

Saratoga Springs residents may be able to enjoy picnics and sightseeing at a new waterfront park as early as next year, according to members of the Waterfront Park Committee.

The committee has recommended to the Saratoga Springs City Council that it develop a site just off of Crescent Avenue, on Saratoga Lake, into a waterfront park. Although the parcel is relatively small at 4 acres, the committee felt the property's shoreline access and natural three-tiered layout lent itself to recreation and an enjoyable experience for city residents, said Gerry Magoolaghan, co-chair of the committee.

Magoolaghan said the parcel slopes toward the lake but forms three naturally occurring plateaus as it does so. This unique feature led the committee to think of the project in three phases.

The first phase, the top level, would be a parking area for the park. For purposes of site integrity and beautification, the lot could be hidden from view with a raised earth berm and vegetation. Because the parking lot will be used seasonally, Magoolaghan said it would not require paving, and could be surfaced with either gravel or turf.

The next level down would be a group picnic area and family gathering place, with the possibility of having intermittent stone grilling facilities, tables, and shelters, such as gazebos.

The beachfront level would require the most work, said Magoolaghan, as the committee has proposed a buoy-protected swim area, a floating diving platform, a seasonal dock and launch site, and a boardwalk-style promenade above a permanent shoreline bulkhead. As it stands, there is currently at the beachfront site only a gazebo, a comfort station and a few metal grills.

Magoolaghan said the three areas would be connected to each other by what he described as rustic trails. If the site is approved, broken concrete slabs and large stones also would require removal from the shallows. "While it is a spectacular site, it does require some work," Magoolaghan said.

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