BALLSTON SPA – The project to make the village’s 66 Front Street office handicapped-accessible got more expensive Monday. [Read more…]
The Village of Ballston Spa is looking at a few important items this year. Topping the list is the fate of the old Angelica plant on Bath Street. Losing Angelica was a tough break for more than a few of our friends and neighbors, many of whom lost jobs they had held for a long time. It’s meant problems for the village as well, not the least of which is the impact on the municipal water and sewer systems. The facility was a heavy user of both. With the plant shuttered and the building vacant the village loses its biggest customer.
But at least the building is still there, and the site itself is a hefty 6.3 acres in a pretty desirable location. Mayor Romano is working to fill it, with the help of SEDC and his neighbors in Milton. We suspect with a little ingenuity and flexibility they’ll be able to find someone to come in and make good use of it.
Over on Low Street, not far from the Angelica site, is another intriguing project, the Lost Submariner’s Memorial Monument in Veteran’s Park. It’s intended to commemorate the 447 New Yorkers who lost their lives while serving on submarines. That makes it kind of unique. All the other memorials of its kind in the country commemorate those who died while serving on one particular boat or another; this is the only one which honors everyone from one entire state who did so.
Serving in the Silent Service has never been an easy duty. Even now, with all the modern conveniences available in our nuclear submarines, sailors still have to spend long stretches submerged beneath the waves, never seeing the sun or the stars. And even in the best of times it means doing a lot of pretty risky things. After all, most boats spend all their time trying to stay on top of the water; submariners sink the one they’re in on purpose.
There’s a lot of flexibility and ingenuity involved in what they do, too. Part of the memorial, once it’s complete, is going to be a 25-ft. model of the U.S.S. Albany, a Los Angeles-class attack submarine. It was designed and built during the Cold War for the express purpose of hunting Russian submarines and being in a position to sink them before they could fire their missiles, should the necessity occur. But of course the Cold War thankfully ended before anyone had to do that.
But that didn’t mean mothballing the attack boats simply because their original mission had changed. Instead, Navy leaders put their thinking caps on and began considering the best ways of using their submarines in facing down the next threat. It meant coming up with some new weapons, some new tactics, and then training sailors and their commanders to operate their boats in ways very different from those for which they were built. It meant a lot of hard work, and it cost some money too, but the end result was a submarine service adapted to a new set of missions.
There’s a lesson in that for the village. There probably is little, or maybe even no, hope of anyone wanting the Angelica plant for an industrial purpose in the future. It would be nice to have the 113 or so jobs back, but Mayor Romano and his neighbors have to accept the fact that isn’t likely to happen. Rather, their time would be better spent looking for a more ingenious way of taking advantage of a pretty sizable space. Certainly almost anything would be better than having it just sit there, vacant and unused.
From all indications that’s exactly the conclusion the mayor has reached himself, and we applaud his efforts in reaching out to others to get help in making something happen with the plant. Right now we have no idea what that will ultimately be. But we’re sure with a little creativity and effort it can end up being something of a memorial of its own.