Candidates in Malta spar

— “We have compact urban cores throughout Saratoga County—Mechanicville, Ballston Spa, Saratoga Springs—to recreate that in Malta is absolutely ridiculous,” said Sausville, who said he conducted a survey that found 76 percent of people wanted a hamlet-like downtown.

Sausville cited safety and financial concerns as driving forces behind his vision.

“To have urban sprawl creates safety problems on Route 9. There are financial impacts associated with the cost of government; have you ever seen a city that didn’t have a tax?” said Sausville.

Young disagreed with Sausville’s claims that a high density commercial downtown would turn Malta into “another Schenectady or Troy” and also took issue with the moratorium.

“We’re trying to make Malta a special place and I think it can be a special place,” said Young. “The thing I don’t like about the moratorium is it creates confusion among developers.”

A commercial district encompassing downtown Malta would benefit the town from a fiscal and cultural standpoint, said Gregoire.

“It would help us on our school taxes. Commercial development allows commercial properties to pay into that system,” said Gregoire. “It will create a walkable community that everyone can enjoy. My parents moved here because they liked the rural character of this town. … Shorter building heights, larger setbacks, that creates the ability for stripmalls to be created in Malta.”

Henry used a red card to buy extra time and add to Gregoire’s notion of building a new Malta still entrenched in its past.

“We’re not building for the current residents, we’re building for the 21st Century, future generations that have different wants and needs than those who grew up in the Baby Boomer era or World War II,” said Henry. “What that kind of community wants is walkable; they’re not just looking for work, they’re looking for living.”

As the downtown plan continues to move forward and development projects are completed, potential opportunities for art, recreation and cultural events in town arise. Candidates were challenged to spell out how they would promote those community activities.

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