CARS HOMES JOBS

Parking plans for Saratoga Springs rec center pulled

Options include shuttle service

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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— Plans for a large parking lot behind the city’s indoor recreation center at 15 Vanderbilt Ave. have been withdrawn.

Mayor Scott Johnson said Monday the city was planning to buy about an acre of land at 41 Jefferson St. from a group of private developers.

“I tried to negotiate a deal,” he said, but the two sides never reached an agreement.

The mayor had originally included $600,000 for the project in his 2013 capital program proposal released this summer. A total of $400,000 would have been used for the land purchase and $200,000 for the construction of the parking lot on the long, narrow lot behind the indoor recreation center.

The City Council will hold a public hearing at 6:55 p.m. tonight in City Hall to hear comments on amending the capital program for 2013 to reflect the deletion of $600,000 for the parking lot purchase.

City Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan said Monday that the 2013 comprehensive city budget approved by the council Nov. 5 did not include the $600,000 for the parking lot.

“It was already removed from the capital budget,” she said, explaining that tonight’s public hearing will focus on removing the parking lot proposal from the capital program, a document that proposes capital spending through the year 2018.

Mayor Johnson said parking at and near the city’s indoor recreation center is adequate for most day-to-day activities The problems arise when tournaments and other special events are held at the center.

The $6 million facility opened in the summer of 2010.

“We are looking at ways to deal with the overflow [parking],” he said. One idea being considered is to have shuttle buses bring people to the center from off-site parking facilities, such as the Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Nelson and Crescent avenues.

“Overall the recreation center has been a huge success,” Johnson said about the regular programs and special events held in the building.

In another parking-related issue, the volunteer committee that provided local oversight during the construction of the new four-level parking garage at 6 Woodlawn Ave. has proposed regulations for motorists using the garage.

The free parking deck opened in late July, just before the start of the 2012 thoroughbred racing season.

The oversight committee, chaired by local developer and Realtor Thomas Roohan, is recommending a limit of two hours of free parking on the first level of the garage but unrestricted parking on the second, third and fourth levels.

The committee is also recommending a two-hour free parking limit on spaces along Woodlawn Avenue and in the open portion of the city parking lot on Woodlawn, Johnson said.

Mark Baker, executive director of the Saratoga Springs City Center, will also discuss a proposal at tonight’s City Council meeting to provide more parking for the City Center at Broadway and Ellsworth Jones Place (formerly Grove Street).

 
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