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County acts on open space plea

Park designation will hinge on construction of new nursing home

— The new home is to be constructed in front of the current home, with plans to demolish the existing facility upon completion of the project. To construct the home in front of the currently facility, the county had to move out portion of Hetcheltown Road.

“Because you are moving it up against the road, you open up quite a bit of space in the back,” Gillen said.

The county would survey the land to determine the final lines of the proposed parkland dedication, said Gillen. Only a small portion still needs to be surveyed, he said.

County Attorney Christopher Gardner said since the home was constructed in 1930, the area adjacent to the home has served as a sledding hill during the winter. Since the 15 acres has historically been used for recreation purposes, it is legally considered parkland already, according to Gardner.

“It would, I think, end any ambiguity to this specific issue as to whether or not it would constitute a park,” Gardner said. “This would be formally acknowledging what may have already implicitly occurred through implicit dedication.”

Gardner also said the county wouldn’t be exposed to any more liability than it currently faces regarding the open space, because it is already county owned and historically considered parkland.

Residents Kathleen Collar and her husband, Raymond, listened intently as the proposal was unveiled. The couple has been strong proponents of preserving the land and spoke out at a majority of Legislature meetings over the past year and a half.

“I was especially pleased to hear County Attorney Gardner state that from a legal standpoint, it is most likely already considered parkland, but I think formally dedicating it as such is a big plus for Schenectady County residents,” Kathleen Collar said in an email. “Our group, Friends of the Indian Kill Field, has been trying to get this done since July 2010 so I look forward to the Schenectady County Legislature including us in on any future discussion relating to the property.”

County officials said dedicating the parkland post-construction was chosen since there is a small possibility equipment used could encroach on the area for short periods of time.

Buhrmaster expressed concern about waiting to dedicate the land. He feared it could remain in limbo if construction is delayed or isn't completed.

"What happens if it gets pushed to 2015 or 2016," Buhrmaster asked.

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