Ballston Spa Village Board/Ballston Journal

Saratoga Springs plans eminent domain to take Village property, petition started by residents opposed

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.”

Shimkus added, “Our Chamber is a leader in the effort to connect all of the trails that have been built by local communities and Saratoga County. Significant investments are being made across Saratoga County to create an integrated off-and-on road trail system that will connect local neighborhoods with villages and adjacent communities. These trails when all connected will provide expansive recreation opportunities for local residents, new options for people to commute and to shop, and a new opportunity for us to attract more tourists who travel with their bikes looking for great trail networks to explore. We see the creation of an integrated trail system across Saratoga County as important to improving our quality of life and this our economy. In most cases, we’ve seen great coordination between local communities toward this goal. We continue to urge the City to talk to those who have raised concerns like the Village as we all benefit when neighbors find a way to work together.”

RELATED Village May Block Geyser Road Trail

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Keep Bike Path Out of Watershed

RELATED Grassroots Group Actively Opposing Proposed Geyser Road Trail in Milton

RELATED Geyser Road trail plan plan draws mixed reaction

RELATED Pros and Cons of Geyser Road Trail Eyed

RELATED Saratoga Springs sets deadline for Geyser Road Trail alternative 

An online petition can be found HERE.


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