Barb Fenton lives right behind Ellsworth Commons in Malta. She always thought her home was in a perfect rural location, with the small-town feel she desired for her family. Now, though, she says she hates the monstrosity in her backyard and doesn't want the downtown plan that the Town Board accepted 4-1 at its meeting in early March.
"Quite frankly, in my opinion a lot of people in the town basically ruined it. What they've done is like kids in a candy store; bigger is better and they've created such a mish mash of buildings that it's laughable," said Fenton.
There's not much Fenton can do about it.
"The Town Board voted to go ahead with an urban downtown area and the next step is to begin to address the standards that will apply," said Supervisor Paul Sausville, who was the lone dissenting vote.
Sausville, like Fenton, wasn't in favor of the revised master plan that pitted a downtown area with an urban feel against a town seemingly set in its rural roots.
"We do need a downtown and we do need to concentrate retail facilities in that area, but we have huge shopping malls at Exit 9 and Exit 15, so we don't need big box stores," said Sausville. "I don't want downtown to be like Saratoga. It's lovely, but we don't need to undermine [the city] by developing land in Malta."
The downtown plan has gone through revision after revision in an effort to satisfy varying tastes and opinions for how the downtown area should look and operate, largely in an effort to accommodate repercussions from GlobalFoundries and the wave of workforce and business it is expected to bring.
Tara Thomas, a town board member in her first term, said she's "delighted" with the progress that's been made on the plan and feels portions of it are on point.