LETTER: EXPO 2012 Planned for Malta

To the editor:

As the song goes, “There is something going on in the little town, in the small town of  Malta.” EXPO 2012, an eclectic extravaganza involving a race, a veteran’s parade, and a showcase of educational opportunities, hobbyists, crafters, artists and businesses is planned for Sept. 8 at the Hudson Valley Community College TEC-SMART Campus.

Malta Sunrise Rotary, working with the Malta Business and Professional Association, Hudson Valley Community College, NYSERDA and a host of schools and colleges, are sponsoring this community event. It  will begin at 8 a.m. with a 5K race through the Luther Forest Tech Campus, followed by a veteran’s parade through downtown Malta at 10 a.m. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. exhibitors will be on display at the TEC-SMART Campus located at 345 Hermes Rd. Everything imaginable, from games for children to robotics, antiques, job advisors, educational counselors, crafts, art displays, performers, food vendors, inventors and businesses will be located in the rotunda of the college auditorium. Over 50 displays are planned.

The goal of EXPO 2012 is to create a stimulating event that brings the community together–residents, schools, businesses and artisans. There is something for everyone, at no cost to residents.

So why not stop by with your family and check out EXPO 2012? There is something of interest for all ages.

Paul J. Sausville
Supervisor, Town of Malta

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Town of Milton Day cancelled

BY LINDSAY PANZICA
lpanzica@theballstonjournal.com

The 2012 Town of Milton Day has been cancelled this year due to budget restraints. The announcement was made by Town Supervisor Dan Lewza at the beginning of the Aug. 15 Milton Town Board meeting.

Arranging this year’s Town of Milton Day has been an ongoing issue for over a month. The date of the festival had originally been set for Saturday, Aug. 4. As that date drew closer, the event ended up being pushed back to Sept. 15.

Now though, it seems increasing budget issues associated with the planning have caused this year’s festivities to be cancelled altogether.

Town of Milton Day has become a yearly tradition that residents have come to look forward to. The event has always been a day full of family fun activities designed to allow residents of all ages to enjoy themselves together.

Past activities at the event have included face painting, horseback riding, games, barbeques and more.

According to Town Supervisor Dan Lewza the decision to cancel Town of Milton Day this year was due to budget constraints.

In response, Lewza is considering an alternative idea of asking the Village of Ballston Spa to join in on Town of Milton Day in order to save money. According to Lewza, Milton already gives money to the Village.

His idea is to speak with the mayor and see if the money Milton already gives to the Village can be put toward a combined festival day the two could possibly share at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds. If this idea comes to fruition, it would not be implemented until next year though.

“I think it would be better off for everybody if we combined our efforts instead of splitting everything up,” Lewza said, “but for this year the Milton Day will be cancelled due to budget constraints.”

Tech Campus Looks into the Future

LFTC seeks to redefine allowable uses, tax incentives

 BY JENNIE GREY
jennie@theballstonjournal.com

With global changes affecting even the local economy, the Luther Forest Technology Campus Economic Development Corporation (LFTCEDC), owner and developer of Luther Forest Tech Campus, is planning a new path forward.

“We call today’s economy ‘the new normal’,” said Michael Relyea, president of the nonprofit LFTCEDC. “Over the past three years, the world’s changed financially and politically, internationally as well as nationally. We want to be more competitive on the market.”

At the Monday, Aug. 27 Malta Town Board agenda meeting, Relyea presented an open-format letter discussing changes the LFTC wanted to make to its planned development district (PDD). In Malta’s town code, PDDs are described as “(a) means for the development of entirely new residential, commercial or industrial subdivisions, parks or estates in which certain economies of scale or creative architectural or planning concepts may be used by the developer without departing from the spirit and intent of this chapter, while substantially benefiting the Town in a manner not otherwise available through development under the Town’s existing zoning.”

Many of Malta’s recent building projects are regulated under individual PDDs.

In his PDD amendment proposal, Relyea focused on four main issues: allowable uses for the campus, tax incentives for relocating companies, utilization of the Forest’s Area ll, and the payment of community-benefit fees.

The Luther Forest Tech Campus consists of 1,414 acres, described on its Web site as “specifically designed for semiconductor and nanotechnology manufacturing, and other innovative technologies.” GLOBALFOUNDRIES, the $4.2 billion semiconductor facility, comprises 223 acres there.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ economic impact has been great on the Town of Malta, as well as on the region, Relyea said. However, there will be more to the campus than just the chip fab.

“We want to redefine ‘nanotechnology,’” he said, noting his first point. “We want to describe the allowable uses for the campus.”

He has said LFTC’s long-term goal is to attract a diversity of industries to the park, not only those dependent on computer chips.

A second key issue was tax incentives for tenants. Tax breaks and payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) have been key in the past. Businesses pay PILOTs to compensate a local government for some or all of the tax revenue it loses because of the nature of the land ownership or the use of a particular piece of real property.

“Companies don’t relocate from around the world without tax breaks,” Relyea said.

With New York State’s Empire Zone tax incentive ending, he sought fresh ways to attract businesses to the area.

The next item was the future of Area 11, a section of the LFTC north of the GLOBALFOUNDRIES campus, down to Route 9P. That portion has been zoned for a hotel and conference center. Relyea would like to open up the possible size there.

His final presentation point involved the community-benefit fees a facility larger than 100,000 square feet must pay. The fees could be paid at site-plan approval or at the reception of a certificate of occupancy. Relyea wanted to confirm which.

“Sixty percent of the LFTC will remain green space,” he reminded the Town Board as he concluded. “We have 7.5 miles of walkways and trails.”

The Town Board agreed to hold a workshop on the proposed amendments, possibly bringing in Malta’s Planning Board as well as the Ballston Spa School District at some point.

“LFTC is really the biggest thing in town,” said Councilman John Hartzell, approving the workshop.

“We want to make where we’re going an easier path,” Relyea said.

BSpa's Picard named Service Star

Amy Picard. Photo courtesy Saratoga Hospital.

In an Aug. 27 press release, Saratoga Hospital announced they have named Amy Picard of Ballston Spa the Service Star of the Month for June. Amy has committed four years of service to the hospital and works as a program assistant for the Child and Family Health Plus program.

The Service Star of the Month program recognizes employees and volunteers who go above and beyond the call of duty to provide exceptional service to the hospital’s patients, visitors and staff. A hospital-wide celebration was held in her honor.

Saratoga Hospital is the only acute-care facility in Saratoga County. The hospital has a medical staff of over 450 physicians and other credentialed providers, offering care in a broad range of medical specialties.

Saratoga Hospital was the first in the Capital Region to earn Magnet Designation for nursing excellence. The hospital achieved redesignation in 2010.

Hospital facilities include Saratoga Hospital, Saratoga Care Nursing Home, Wilton Medical Arts, Malta Medical Arts, Saratoga Surgery Center, Mollie Wilmot Radiation Oncology Center, Saratoga Family Physicians, The Saratoga Center for Endocrinology and Diabetes, Saratoga Hospital Pain Management Center, The Regional Therapy Center, Saratoga Family Health, Schuylerville Family Health and Galway Family Health. For information visit the hospital’s Web site at www.saratogahospital.org.

When heroes took small (and giant) steps

BY SAM CAPUANO
sam@theballstonjournal.com

Last Saturday, I was passing the time (as I often do) inside Excellent Adventures on Milton Avenue, talking with owner John Belskis about comics, and anything else which was on our minds. During the middle of the conversation the subject of Neil Armstrong’s death came up.

John and I are the same age, 49, and so were born during the last year or so of the Baby Boomer era. And if there was one thing we Boomers knew and followed growing up, it was the Space Race.

I can remember my parents allowing me to stay awake later than I ever had on July 20, 1969, so I could watch Armstrong take that famous bouncy walk down the ladder of the lunar module and become the first human ever to step on the moon.

He thus became a hero to many of us. If you had asked a youngster during this time what they wanted to be when they grew up, “astronaut” would have been as likely an answer as “baseball player.”

The Space Race was everywhere. Toys? Yup, your columnist had a G.I. Joe astronaut and space capsule set. Comics? Indeed, as Dick Tracy (much to the chagrin of his hard core readers) took a trip to the moon. Even James Bond got into the act, as he battled Jaws aboard the Moonraker in space.

This was when science was cool. In recent times, as evidenced by the outstanding emphasis the Ballston Spa Central School District has placed on the sciences, it’s been all about technology, the Internet, etc. When I was growing up, we were into it so we could be an astronaut. (By the way, one of the earliest uses of the Internet was for NASA purposes.)

Despite the fact he was a hero, Armstrong wore the crown reluctantly. “I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer,” he said. For those of us who remember the NASA control room, there were plenty who fit that description behind the consoles. But not in the rocket.

Because, Neil, you and the astronauts were more than this to us. Much more. You were the fly boys who took the next step. A step into the unknown. And, you led us in the battle against those evil Soviets in the Space Race.

The USSR beat the USA when it came to the first satellite, had the first man into space, then the first man into orbit. So, perhaps a little too boldly, in 1962 President Kennedy committed to put a man on the moon, and return him safely to earth by the end of the decade.

Thus, the rest of the decade was chock full of missions to reach this goal, with a dual purpose of fulfilling the the soon to be assassinated president’s challenge, and to finally beat the Soviets in this race. From the Mercury Program, then onto Gemini, and finally to Apollo, rockets were constantly taking off from Florida, then splashing down in the ocean. Life magazine frequently had the astronauts on the cover; my mother saved each one of them.

When the moment finally arrived, even CBS news’ stoic Walter Cronkite was just shy of being giddy as the lunar module touched down on the moon. Moments later when Armstrong, then Buzz Aldrin, left their boot prints there, he was almost speechless. The American flag was then planted on the surface. Mission accomplished.

We don’t have many moments like this anymore. Eleven years later, in another victory against the Evil Empire, the U.S. Olympic hockey team stunned the Soviets in Lake Placid. But events like these are rare now.

Some have said the ambitions of the government aren’t as lofty as they once where, and there is less risk taking. Armstrong himself, in a rare moment of putting himself into the spotlight since his Apollo flight, publicly criticized President Obama’s space initiative, or lack thereof, when the Prez backed off his predecessor’s plan to get man back on the moon.

Such policy is probably more a sign of the times (to say nothing of the tremendous cost) then anything else. It doesn’t seem as important these days to walk on the moon, and the Soviet Union is long gone. So, sadly, are many of our heroes. Godspeed, Neil Armstrong.

LETTER: Ballston Politics

As I returned from my vacation to Rome and the Mediterranean, I find that I am again the subject of the Ballston Journal front page and editorial section. We have Supervisor Southworth indicating that her personnel file was “missing” and laying the obvious bread crumbs for the Journal to indicate that I am to blame. For the record, I have no idea where town personnel files are kept, have never seen a personal file for any of our town employees and have no idea what happened to the Supervisor’s file. I find it highly coincidental that the week after I question the Supervisor’s retirement filings and her husband threatens public retribution that an issue like this surfaces. I also agree with the Journal that this is a new low for Ballston politics, officials accusing other officials of criminal activity as a political statement. This kind of rhetoric is disgraceful, embarrassing and needs to stop.

I take my role as Councilman very seriously. If I have questions I will raise them, if our residents have concerns I will support them and if see changes are necessary I will propose them. This is the role of every elected representative. I also understand that this direct approach does offend people and I publicly apologize if anyone is offended. That is not my intent. I believe the direct approach is best but admit I have work to do on my style.

I would also like to suggest the Ballston Journal has a role to play here as well. I have not been contacted by the Journal on either of these issues. The Journal should not take a one-sided “he said/she said” facebook approach to news. The Journal should dig into the issues and not amplify this trash talk. As the real issues are uncovered your readers will understand who is working to resolve these issues and who is blowing political smoke.

William Goslin
Councilman, Town of Ballston

[Ed. note: repeated attempts by the Journal to contact Councilman Goslin prior to publishing the 8.16.12 edition were unsuccessful.]

Backpacks of Hope Hits 100

Members of The Chamber of Southern Saratoga County’s Women in Business Committee assembled 100 Backpacks of Hope for children utilizing the services of Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services of Saratoga County (DVRC), the committee announced in an Aug. 22 press release.

Photo courtesy The Chamber of Southern Saratoga County

Backpacks of Hope is part of the Committee’s Baskets of Hope initiative, which has been providing women entering the Saratoga County Domestic Violence Shelter with gift bags of personal care items. The backpacks meet the needs of the children who are also affected by domestic violence.

“Many children living in the Domestic Violence Shelter at the time of school starting have no school supplies,” said Maggie Fronk, Executive Director of DVRC.  “Having a new backpack filled with the supplies they need immediately raises the confidence of the child and reminds them that people in their community care about them and their practical needs.”

Donations of the backpacks and school supplies came through donations from professional women throughout southern Saratoga County and beyond as well as from members of the community.

“The members of the Chamber’s Women in Business Committee and the community are always so generous in donating the supplies that we need for both the Backpacks and the Baskets of Hope,” said Liz Roggenbuck, Member Services Manager at The Chamber of Southern Saratoga County. “Their commitment to the program enables us to help hundreds of women and children every year.”

The Women in Business Committee continues to seek donations of personal care items such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste and other toiletries and will be assembling Baskets of Hope later this fall. Anyone wishing to participate in the program can do so by bringing donations to The Chamber of Southern Saratoga County, located at 15 Park Ave. in Clifton Park (behind Shoppers World Plaza).

Questions about the program should be directed to Liz Roggenbuck at 518-371-7748 ext. 108.

In addition to the Baskets and Backpacks of Hope programs, the Women in Business Committee provides networking and educational opportunities year round for professional women in all industries.

The Chamber of Southern Saratoga County is a membership-based business organization representing over 1,030 businesses in the region. Their mission is to work for members, customers and stakeholders to create a successful business environment, provide valuable resources and be a vigorous advocate for the business community, enhancing the quality of life in Southern Saratoga County.

For information, visit the organization’s Web site at www.southernsaratoga.org.

Fun for All Slated in Malta

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will host Malta Expo 2012 on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Festivities will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the MBPA 5k Race. The run will begin at Hudson Valley Community College’s TEC-SMART facility at 345 Hermes Rd., inside the Saratoga Energy + Technology Park, and wind through STEP, Luther Forest and up through GLOBALFOUNDRIES, giving runners a firsthand look at the new fabrication plant.

At 10 a.m. the Malta Military, Veterans and First Responders Appreciation Day will begin with a parade on Route 9.

Also at 10 a.m. the Family Fun and Vendor Showcase will begin at 345 Hermes Rd. HVCC will host the Malta Sunrise Rotary Club for an all day free showcase of local and regional talent, inventors, musicians, artists, crafters, growers, organizations and businesses. Attendees will have the opportunity to sign up and participate in various competitions, such as robotics, LEGO, paper airplanes, photos, art, music, and film. Attendees will also get the opportunity to build an origami mobile, “Dunk-a Politician,” and learn about the state-of-the-art educational facility providing instruction in clean energy and renewable technologies.

The final event of the Expo is an Adaptive Sports Fundraiser for Veterans, scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway, 2671 Route 9, Malta.

For information visit the Center for Economic Growth Web site at www.ceg.org/events/malta-expo-2012.

Street-Side Dining Coming to Ellsworth Commons

Developer Albany Partners will build a ground-floor patio for a restaurant tenant.            

BY JENNIE GREY
jennie@theballstonjournal.com

A new restaurant in Ellsworth Commons will have outdoor eating on two levels, offering diners fresh air with their meal. Developers Albany Partners secured the site-plan amendment at the Tuesday, Aug. 21, Malta Planning Board meeting.

After nearly two years of construction, the four-building Ellsworth complex opened last fall to tenants. While most of the 312 Ellsworth apartments have rented quickly, leaseholders for the development’s 68,000 square feet of street-level commercial space are appearing at a slower rate.

Ellsworth is asking $18 per square foot, plus a prorated share of insurance, maintenance costs, and taxes on the $57 million complex.

Two currently known lessees are DNSE Electronics, and Myrtle Street Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Now Albany Partners is making plans for a restaurant. Malta won’t know the name of the eatery for a while, since broker CBRE Albany, which manages Ellsworth’s commercial rentals, doesn’t announce leases until they are signed, for confidentiality and competitive reasons. Before any signing, Albany Partners must finish construction on each space.

“There is a patio on the upper level of this Ellsworth Boulevard site now,” said presenter David Bogardus, vice president of Northeast Land Survey and Land Development Consultants.“We are proposing to build a street-level patio under it.”

The new construction will be 1,741 square feet, and a stairway will lead to the existing upper patio.

Stormwater management and parking adhered to town requirements, according to the planning department.

A rain garden will take the water from the patio, Bogardus said. A rain garden is a planted depression that allows rainwater runoff from impervious urban areas such as roofs, driveways, and walkways.

“Our landscaping plan shows buffers between the patio and the sidewalk,” he continued. “The screening will be about five feet high.”

Glenn Rockwood, deputy supervisor and chairman of the Planning Board, expressed concern about carrying meals to customers across the patios.

“You’ll be carrying food quite a distance,” he said.

A stairwell would make access to the kitchen and to the patio easier, said Neil Swingruber, co-owner of Albany Partners.

He said his tenants were looking to build what he called an entertainment center in Ellsworth Commons, creating several establishments to draw in various kinds of people.

At a Planning Board meeting last year, members discussed Albany Partners’ compliance with Ellsworth’s original proposed architectural details. Member Carrie Woerner then mentioned the lack of depth in the façade. She would have liked more pronounced bays and recessed windows. At that time, Swingruber said future stairs, patios, awnings, and street lights would add to the depth. The streetscape would be a vital part of the design.

At present, two patios will be part of that plan, and hopefully attract Malta to come dine out.

“Everything we have here I think is a plus,”  Bogardus said.

Ballston Board Amends Condos Rule

Amendment will remove 55-plus age restriction

BY MARCI REVETTE
news@theballstonjournal.com

The Ballston Town Board voted at the Aug. 7 town board meeting to approve Local Law 3, amending the Beacon Hill Condos Planned Unit Development District. The vote removes the provision requiring the condominium homes to be sold only to those 55 and older.

The vote was unanimous.

Beacon Hill Condos, a 52-unit development off Route 50, began construction in 2007. The project is currently being built by Traditional Builders.

Beacon Hill Condos. Photo by Marci Revette.

The original developers, New York Development Corporation, decided to make it a 55-and-older residential area, in part due to the state of the housing market at the time. Market conditions were then more favorable to such age restrictions.

A few months ago Donald Zee, the attorney for Traditional Builders, asked the town board to remove the age restriction because the developers were having trouble selling the units with the restrictive provision in place.

The board wanted to make sure current residents who had already purchased condos had no problem with the removal of age restrictions. The Beacon Hill Homeowners Association, representing the residents, indicated they were in favor of the restriction being removed. A public hearing was subsequently held on July 31 of this year.

At the public hearing, Zee presented the board with some pertinent information concerning the elimination of the age restriction. Zee noted at the hearing that other communities have lifted age restrictions because new developments are ineligible for Fannie Mae-type financing unless 70 percent of the units have sold.

Because of the difficult financing and the limited market pool, only 12 condos have been sold since construction began.

Also at the public hearing, Zee presented a letter from Carl Heiner, President of the Beacon Hill Condominium Association, stating that the Association members had already voted for the elimination of the age restriction.

Following the vote, board members commended Zee and the Beacon Hill Homeowners Association for their efforts. “I would just like to say it was a very professional presentation from beginning to end,” said Councilman Bill Goslin. “You did an excellent job. You came in months ago, asked our opinion, came back, gathered all the info, did a lot of work. This is as professional as we’ve seen here.”

“I would like to commend the folks at Beacon Hill,” Goslin continued. “I don’t know of anyone who is opposed to this. You guys did a great job.”

“I absolutely agree with that,” said Councilwoman Mary Beth Hynes. “You even produced articles talking about the financial conditions that precipitated the request. You really did put together a great package.”

Effective immediately, the Beacon Hill Condos will now be open for purchase by anyone, regardless of their age.