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Ballston, Malta discuss joint projects

The table at the Town of Ballston Town Hall was doubled in size on the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 16, as officials from the Town of Malta met with Ballston's staff in a joint meeting.

It was the first such meeting between the neighboring towns. The discussion centered on how the towns can collaborate on certain projects especially development and road repair on Route 67. Ballston officials also took advantage of Town of Malta staff's knowledge on how to best approach the issues of increasing population and dealing with impending development.

It will help make it a smoother transition," said Ballston Supervisor Patti Southworth. "We don't have to reinvent the wheel."

It was acknowledged by all parties that as neighbors, residents of Malta and Ballston already use services in the neighboring town, perhaps even unknowingly.

"I would guess the average citizen doesn't know the boundary between the Town of Malta and the Town of Ballston," said Malta Supervisor Paul Sausville. Yet residents of both enjoy Shenantaha Creek Park, for example.

Malta's Parks and Recreation Director Audrey Ball detailed the town's recreational offerings, and Ballston Town Board members expressed their hopes to expand upon their own park system. To that end, the town is considering raising the parks and recreation fee for new developments from $500 to $1,000. Ball said that Malta made that jump in the past and that the proper time to do it would be now, not after the town has already expanded.

It was also suggested that the linkage of existing trails be pursued, and that Ballston should take care to preserve its open space as it grows.

"Even though you're growing you can still maintain a rural quality," said Ball. "Preserve what you have, because you can never get it back."

Echoing that sentiment was Saratoga County Planner Jason Kemper, who noted the county made available $750,000 for open space projects this year, and will attempt to do so in the future. Mike Valentine, a senior planner with the county, said that funds are also available for work on Route 67, though they may be long in coming.

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