Making Menands a destination

In addition, information about development projects has been available in the village's monthly publication, The Menands Activities, which reaches more than 1,300 residents and businesses, Reuss said.

The responses so far indicate that the residents of Menands would prefer to live in a "walkable community," as Reuss called it.

New York State Assemblyman Bob Reilly, D-Newtonville, compared this "walkable community" description to downtown Saratoga Springs.

"Saratoga is two things: It's your tourists, you know, outsiders coming in, but it's also people living in the city. That's what Menands can be," said Reilly, who labeled himself instrumental in receiving various grants for assorted development projects throughout Menands.

But according to Coates, no matter what type of development Menands brings in, it will not be able to live up to Saratoga's reputation.

"We couldn't replicate what Saratoga has because, one, we're not big enough, and two, we don't have that kind of architecture," Coates said. "We do want that kind of walkable community."

Reuss said he could understand what Reilly meant by comparing the village's plans to Saratoga.

"Bob Reilly's right referring to Saratoga, in the tourism sense," he said. "We feel that if we can improve the nature and quality of Menands, that will help us become a destination point, instead of everybody driving by us on 787."

According to Reuss, the plan is to first focus on transforming the corridor into a weekend spot where people bring their families. From there, the village hopes to encourage new businesses and residents to come and make a home in the village.

"We really need to flush out what are the properties, what are the communities, what can be more retail, and what can be used for more commercial use," said Coates.

But according to the mayor, even though the plan is in process, from now until the transformation is visible could take a long time and a lot of money, specifically non-state funding.

"It's certainly going to take a lot of private funding. We're hoping to attract that type of investment," he said.

Still, Coates said he believes residents are eager to see their new village.

"What we know is that we have a great resource. We're in a fantastic location, and the people that live in Menands are really excited about change," he said.""

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