Ballston Spa Village Board/Ballston Journal

Village May Block Geyser Road Trail

BALLSTON SPA – Saratoga Springs officials are urging their Ballston Spa counterparts not to block construction of the Geyser Road Trail.

Although the proposed trail is in the city of Saratoga Springs, on the north side of Geyser Road and about a mile-and-a-half north of the village line, it passes along the southern boundary of watershed property owned by the village. The Ballston Spa water system is fed by wells located north of  Geyser Road and east of Rowland Street in the town of Milton.

On Monday, Matthew Veitch, a Saratoga County supervisor representing Saratoga Springs, wrote to Ballston Spa Mayor John Romano and the Village Board “to urge your support for the proposed easements.” Saratoga Springs, Veitch said, “is looking for permission to cut down some trees that will be in the proposed path route, and in the long term would look to acquire Right-of-Way access over the Village’s property.”

Molly Gagne, president of the Southwest Neighborhood Association in Saratoga Springs, spoke in support of Veitch’s position at Monday’s Ballston Spa Village Board meeting. She said that in order to protect a species of bat, certain trees cannot be removed after March 31, which means inaction by the village could significantly delay the project.

The Geyser Road Trail would run from Saratoga Spa State Park to the Milton town line, connecting with new sidewalks there that extend to and beyond the Milton town center. From Saratoga Spa State Park, trails connect to sidewalks in the center of Saratoga Springs.

Romano said after the meeting that he met Monday with Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen to discuss the issue, and planned to talk to her again Tuesday. He said he needs more information, and declined further comment. Asked about Gagne’s claim that a property adjoining the watershed has “hundreds of illegal junk cars that may be leaching contaminants next to your emergency water supply,” Romano said he was not aware of that.

Veitch’s letter referred to concerns that have been raised about how a trail may encourage trespassing on the watershed, and noted that neighbors have alerted Saratoga Springs police regarding unauthorized ATVs on the property. He also said he would “be willing to work with the Village and the City” to put up “fencing in that area to keep people out.”

In the public comment portion of the meeting, Frank Rossi Jr. objected to the trail because it might invite trespassing and other problems.

The village will hold a public hearing on the tentative 2017-18 budget at 7 p.m. on April 10. Romano said the tax rate will drop slightly, while sewer and water rates will stay the same.

There were also some comments made on the recent election, in which two Democrats, Shawn Raymond and Noah Shaw, were elected to the Village Board. They will be sworn in, Raymond said, on April 3, and participate in the next board meeting on April 10. They will be the first Democrats to serve on the board in more than 40 years.

Romano paid tribute to two of his Republican colleagues and board members, Courtney Mancini, who did not run for re-election, and Ron Henry, who with Bruce Couture was defeated in the election.

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Reporter Bob Conner has worked 21 years in various positions at the Gazette of Schenectady, and before that four years as a reporter at the Glens Falls Post-Star. He won two first-place writing awards from the New York Associated Press Association for newspapers with circulation between 50,000 and 250,000. Bob has a Phi Beta Kappa bachelor’s degree in journalism from New York University, and an associate’s degree in chemical dependency counseling from HVCC. He is a published author and is currently writing a historical novel about the last four months in the life of Ulysses S.Grant

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