Park plans heard at Saratoga Springs meeting

The public was given a look at preliminary plans to develop a 4.6-acre parcel of waterfront property off of Crescent Avenue into a park at the second public hearing on the proposed Saratoga Springs Capital Program Budget on Monday, Sept. 8. The proposed park was the costliest project on the 2009 budget which was drawn up by a committee.

The committee is chaired by the mayor, and includes representatives from all of the city's departments. It has suggested nearly $42.5 million worth of work to be tackled from 2009 to 2014, though anything past 2009 would be open to revision.

Improvements totaling $5.141 million have been suggested for the coming year. Priority 13 of 22 on that list is the development of a waterfront park. Michael Ingersoll, a landscape architect with the LA Group, presented the preliminary plans.

This piece of property is a jewel to the city, said Ingersoll. He said the LA Group worked with the city's Waterfront Park Committee " which submitted a proposal and guidelines to the city in December of 2006 " to create the plans.

The site is three-tiered. The upper tier would be used primarily for parking, with some overflow on the second level. A total of 76 spaces were proposed.

The middle level would also be the site of a natural amphitheater built into the hillside, with a "passive" lawn area at center stage. Events could be staged in this area.

The lower level would be all about providing access to the water. A beach with a 75 to 80 swimmer capacity was detailed. Existing restrooms would be renovated and changing rooms added. A fishing and boating pier extending into the lake was proposed, and the site of the former Waterfront Restaurant could be turned into a unique storm-water lagoon.

"The overall goal here was to get access to the waterfront property," noted Ingersoll. That has been the city's goal since it acquired the property in 2006 for $2 million.

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