Praise for Village of Ballston Spa revitalization efforts rang through the halls of a newly refurbished village landmark Tuesday morning, Nov. 13, as members of the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) came to town to congratulate everyone who had a stake in the effort.
I came through the village recently, and quite frankly I was very impressed with what I saw, said Jack Kelley, SEDC senior vice president. "There have been grants, but the private sector is now investing capital in this community, and all of you need to be applauded. Economic development percolates its way up, and this is a period of rebirth for our smaller, quaint communities like Ballston Spa."
Kelley admitted questions about the AMD micro-chip factory possibly locating in the Luther Forest Tech Park have been coming up in all Saratoga County communities, large and small.
"I've heard the initials AMD around the room this morning, and I'm very confident that very shortly they'll be making their announcements, but even without that, this community is thriving," said Kelley.
Village Mayor John Romano credited business and home owners, members of the Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association, and teamwork with other municipalities for putting Ballston Spa on the map.
"You'd need to see how the village was 12 years ago to fully appreciate the dramatic change," said Romano. "The first thing we needed to do to revitalize downtown was to generate interest and give people a reason to come to Ballston Spa. We decided we wanted to rekindle the family spirit and a sense of community pride."
Village officials launched a wide array of family activities including winter festivals, villagewide cleanup days and open swimming at the village pool. They brought the flavor of the historic village back with subtle changes, including adding Victorian street lamps and trash receptacles, and helped encourage downtown shopping with more off-street parking lots. Attractive signs were placed at all gateways to the village, crosswalks were given an old-fashioned red brick pattern, and trees were planted along Milton Avenue.