Park plans heard at Saratoga Springs meeting

The project is the largest on the 2009 Capital Program Budget at $1.33 million, with another $545,000 suggested in 2010. It is hoped that parts of the park would be at least partially completed some time between spring and fall of 2009.

Johnson said that up to about $750,000 worth of the project could be paid for by the city's Open Space Bond Act, though more research is needed.

Though the entire park would probably run $80,000 to $90,000 per year in maintenance costs, there would be some money-making opportunities such as site rentals.

Commissioner Ron Kim questioned the wisdom of opening a beach far from the Lake Avenue Fire Station.

"If we have an accident there, we can't get there," he said of the beach, especially in heavy summer traffic.

$400,000 for the Eastside EMS Facility is the third priority on the 2009 Capital Program Budget, which will cover land acquisition and some site development. Mayor Johnson said that there was some disagreement as to what services the station will provide, so another $4 million is expected in 2010 to actually build the structure.

"You agree what should be built first, then you proceed," said Johnson.

Kim bemoaned the fact neither a complete Eastside fire station nor a proposed $9.7 million public safety building appeared in the 2009 capital program.

He said that when they ask for $4.6 million for a fire station "people say 'that's so much money.'"

Added Kim, "We're spending $1.8 million on a beach and some tables."

While many who spoke at the public hearing supported plans for the waterfront park, most decried the lack of a public safety building.

Former Mayor Valerie Keehn called the city's decisions "fiscally irresponsible" and said the public had been "duped."

Saratoga Springs resident and Saratoga Lake Protecting and Improvement District member William Connolly said he thought the park was a great idea, but the city needs a new police station.

"It's the only jail I can think of where you can kill yourself by eating the paint chips," he said.

The City Council must approve and forward the Capital Program Budget along to the city's finance commissioner by Monday, Sept. 15.

The entire proposed budget is available on the city's Web site: www.saratoga-spring.org.""

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