Saratoga Springs mayor Joanne Yepsen has sent certified notice of intent to use eminent domain and take land owned by the Village of Ballston Spa for completion of a biking and walking trail.
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. 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.
Residents from around the area have opposed the trail plans as unsafe. Land purchase offers were rejected by the Village of Ballston Spa, The Saratoga Water Company and Jack and Marie Pompay while an unnamed family donated land. Artisanal Brew Works accepted an offer from the City however, the amount was not immediately disclosed.
Closer to home, village residents have expressed concern about littering and other possible interferences with the safe delivery of their water supply.
In a statement to the Daily Gazette newspaper, Yepsen said “We’re disappointed that the three remaining property owners rejected the city’s purchase offers, but we still look forward to this decade-long, community-desired plan becoming a reality.”
A video released by candidate for Saratoga Springs supervisor John Safford on Facebook, Sept. 19 said:
An alternate trail plan was offered by tenants of the Grande Industrial Park, donation of land offers were submitted by Saratoga Eagle and Slack Chemicals. Both were rejected by city officials.
When asked about the Saratoga County Chamber’s position on the topic, as a partner in the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail , President Todd Shimkus said “The Geyser Trail is not a direct part of the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail. These two trails are being developed separately. The Saratoga Greenbelt Trail committee on which we serve has no jurisdiction over the Geyser Trail. Our partnership refers to service on the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail committee in collaboration with other groups in the City. The Geyser Trail is a City led effort entirely. The Mayor’s office through the Planning Department is solely responsible for its design.
If built, the Geyser Trail would be a connector to the Greenbelt Trail. No doubt it is unfortunate that the City has not been able to find a way to work more cooperatively on that project with the Village and to find common ground.”
An online petition can be found HERE.