Within two years, the Clifton Commons on Vischer Ferry Road may be dwarfed by a new Rexford Commons on Route 146 near Nott Road in the western part of the town.
The Clifton Park town board held a press conference Monday, Aug. 27, announcing the $1.4 million purchase of the 54-acre property. Combined with an adjacent property, the entire size of the new town-owned parkland is 151 acres almost twice that of the 81-acre Clifton Commons.
The town hopes to finalize a design early next year and begin construction so that the park will be operational in early 2009.
Councilman Tom Paolucci, who is one of two incumbent Republican candidates for town board this fall, said that he expected the property would be officially designated as parkland at a board meeting in September.
We know that when the town took ownership of these two parcels, the potential for residential development was pretty much abated," Paolucci said.
"However this designation also eliminates all other public or institutional uses."
Supervisor Phil Barrett said the purchase was part of the town's open space plan, which was first outlined in 2003, and that all of the town's recent open space acquisitions have been purchased with surplus funds.
"Getting this property in the hands of the taxpayers of Clifton Park, as we've been purchasing other properties all around town, has been a tremendous effort on behalf of many people, not just the town board," Barrett said. "It's been a team effort, as everything is in town."
Todd Kerner, the chairman of the local Democratic Committee, said that Democrats have been pushing for an additional town park for the past eight years.
"Clearly it's politically based, but we're happy to see that they're finally headed in the right direction," Kerner said.
The park is being designed by C.T Male engineers and will include athletic fields as well as bike and walking paths, open space, picnic areas, and nature preserve areas.