MILTON – The Town Board on Wednesday appointed Scott Ostrander as one of its members, to fill the unexpired term of Bruce Couture. [Read more…]
MILTON – The Town Board voted 3-2 Wednesday to appoint Diane Turo as town justice, filling the unexpired term of Carlos Calderon. [Read more…]
MILTON – The town will accept applications for town justice until Feb. 15, Supervisor Dan Lewza announced at Wednesday’s Town Board meeting.
BALLSTON SPA – The Village Board on Monday released $39,216.18 for an “interest and principal payment for the sewer, DPW truck and Police car bonds.” [Read more…]
MILTON – The Milton Republican Committee has endorsed John Frolish for town justice, Supervisor Dan Lewza said at Wednesday’s Town Board meeting.
MILTON — At the May 15 Milton Town Board meeting, a routine update on the proposed improvements to Burgess-Kimball Memorial Park and the development of a new town park on Rowland Street erupted into a heated exchange between Supervisor Dan Lewza and residents John Frolish and Jim McHale over the need for the improvements.
The new park and the upgrades to Burgess-Kimball are both part of the million dollar three-phase Geyser Road Project announced last year.
Lewza hopes the project will attract new businesses to the financially-strapped town, and he sees the parks as a big part of the picture.
“This is something I feel will bring money to the area,” Lewza said. “There could be all kinds of benefits for the town. This needs to be done. We need to start somewhere and I think we can do better.”
At the meeting, town engineers MJ Engineering gave an update on the proposals after an online survey was conducted to find out what local residents would like to see done regarding the parks.
According to Jackie Hicks from MJ Engineering, the changes to Burgess-Kimball Park will advance the strategic plan that Lewza proposed and help to enhance existing recreational facilities and increase public opportunities to access the facilities.
“The important piece of developing these concepts is really getting community feedback and understanding what it is the community would like to see in terms of recreation improvements,” Hicks said.
The changes to the previous proposal on Burgess-Kimball include the relocation of one of the softball fields to allow for a proposed fitness trail. The change was based on public comments that the fitness trail should be larger. Also a walking trail will be added to connect to the fitness trail.
“We tried to make it a mile long and call it ‘The Milton Mile’ but we’re a few hundred feet short,” Hicks said with a laugh. “People can just do a few more loops through the fitness trail.”
The pavilions would also be moved in order to make room for the proposed “Kiddie Land.” The proposed play area would feature organic and natural equipment, with the possibility of a water feature to be added at a later date.
After the presentation several audience members questioned the need for the improvements to Burgess-Kimball and the new park.
Frolish questioned how much the existing facilities were being used.
“My concern is with this plan, it’s nice to have a survey and everybody looks into the future and sees what they might want, but what about the people who are presently using the facilities and how are we accommodating those people,” he asked.
No softball fields were being removed, they would just be better, Lewza said.
“We want to make it a better facility all around,” Lewza said. “There will be the same amount of fields. We want to attract other leagues besides the Miss Scotties to these fields. It will bring more business to the town of Milton and that’s the whole point of doing this.”
Frolish also questioned the location of the fields, but Lewza indicated the positioning was in deference to the residents along the park’s property line.
“By cramming another field back in that spot, we don’t want to make it hard for the residents back there,” Lewza said. “We want to make it as convenient as possible to the residents back there. To put another field back there, it would be almost on top of the residents.”
Frolish wondered if the residents were even complaining about the location of the fields.
Lewza shot back that the plans for the park were well-thought out.
“I didn’t go out and poll anybody, but how would you feel if you had a softball field stuck three feet from your yard?” Lewza asked. “It’s not correct the way it is and that’s the reason why we want to change things around. If we’re going to be doing this, we’re going to do it correctly. We’re not going to be doing it half-assed like we did in the past. Those days are over.”
McHale questioned the need for the parks at all. The condition of existing parks is deplorable and they are seldom used, he said.
“You say you don’t have the time and money to fix what we have,” McHale said. “You want to build a $100,000 park and you can’t take care of what we have.”
McHale said even though the town currently has $400,000 for parks and recreation, no improvements are being made to the existing parks.
Lewza denied that was true. For instance, in Boice Park improvements have been made to the trail system by the town and Friends of the Kayaderosseras, he said. A timeline has been set to finish clearing the trails.
The rest of the parks will be addressed once Boice Park is finished, Lewza said.
“What the town has done in the past, we do one thing and then we move on to the next without completing the first thing,” said Lewza. “I want to make sure that Boice is completely done. Because we have a limited crew, I want to make sure we complete one thing and then move on to the next.”
McHale interrupted Lewza at that point to talk about Trieble Park.
“Trieble Park is a disgrace, the fences are down, there’s one little trail which is used as a public bathroom,” McHale said. “Rock City Falls Park is the same thing. We don’t have time, we don’t have money to fix what we have.”
Lewza said the county would be going in there very shortly to work on it, at which point McHale interrupted him again.
“Everything has been coming very shortly,” he said. “Let’s get first things first. Before we build the Taj Mahal let’s fix the pup tent.”
Lewza said the Boice Park improvements will be done by the end of June, and then Trieble Park and Rock City Park will be addressed.
“Just because we are doing these two different parks out here doesn’t mean we’re not going to be working on trails in the other parks,” Lewza said. “The current parks we have are finally going to be addressed. They haven’t been addressed in I don’t know how long. That’s why the parks are a disaster. We’re getting there, Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
McHale finally relented and backed down in his complaints.
“Fine, I will see you in June,” McHale said. “I will be here to see you.”
Also at the meeting, the board accepted the positive recommendation by the planning board for the Route 50 Transition Plan and the Open Space Plan to be attached to the Master Comprehensive Plan. A public hearing will be held on June 5 at 7 p.m.
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Historic structures guidelines almost finished
BY BARBARA COOK
After seven years, the Milton Historic Structures and Places Committee may be reaching the end of its quest to establish guidelines and a listing of historic buildings in the town.
The committee has a simple goal: to preserve and protect the town’s historic structures and places outside the village of Ballston Spa. Chairperson Karen Staulters requested April 4 that the guidelines be put on the agenda for the town board meeting two weeks later. At the board meeting, Supervisor Dan Lewza said the committee would need to go before the planning board and zoning board of appeals for their input before the town board would approve the guidelines.
When Staulters went before the planning board on May 9, she explained that the guidelines had been “thoughtfully and carefully prepared” over the course of several years. The board asked questions and made some suggestions, but overall said the guidelines were acceptable.
The committee is not looking for control over what owners do with their historic properties. If an application is submitted to the building department for a demolition or building permit on a structure that is on the list, the committee is asking that it be notified so it can make recommendations. However, if nothing else, the committee would want to take photos of the outside of the structure before it is changed.
As far as interior changes, Staulters said they are of no concern to the committee unless they are in public buildings, like inns or restaurants.
Planning board member John Frolish explained that the committee is not trying to become another layer of government, it merely wants to preserve the town’s history.
There are currently about 60 structures or places on the listing. One requirement is that the property be at least 100 years old, but it must also have historic significance.
Staulters said the committee can also serve as a liason for property owners to apply for grants and as a resource for owners who want to research their historic structures.
Some of the structures on the list include Mansion Inn and Simpson United Methodist Church in Rock City Falls; Milton Grange #685, which more recently was Christ the Savior Orthodox Church on Galway Road; the King Farm on Finley Road and Rose Hill Farm and water tower on Middleline Road.
Once the guidelines have been approved they will be posted on the town of Milton website.