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Stillwater officials target July opening for Brown’s Beach

Boaters might be allowed as early as Memorial Day

Friday, March 14, 2014
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Brown's Beach at Saratoga Lake in Stillwater is pictured on Thursday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber
Brown's Beach at Saratoga Lake in Stillwater is pictured on Thursday.

— Town of Stillwater officials hope to reopen Brown’s Beach on Saratoga Lake this summer, with boating facilities possibly ready by Memorial Day.

With anticipated support from GlobalFoundries, the town purchased the beach last fall with the goal of re-establishing non-boating public access to the lake.

“We’re hoping for July,” town Supervisor Edward Kinowski said Thursday. “We aren’t going to push it and do it wrong, but we believe it will be this summer.”

It’s been seven years since the beach was last open to the public. Kinowski said Panza’s Restaurant has been selected to operate a food concession at the beach, while Menneto’s Powersports has been selected to operate the beach and marina.

Panza’s is a fine-dining Italian restaurant on Route 9P just across the highway from the beach, while Menneto’s has a sporting equipment sales location in Clifton Park.

Leases are still being negotiated, but Kinowski said the two companies will pay the town for the concession rights.

The town purchased the seven-acre property at the southeast corner of the lake last September, paying $4.1 million to a Saratoga Springs development company that once had plans for a hotel and resort on the site. Some debris-clearing and other site improvement work began last fall.

The town has borrowed the money but hopes to eventually be reimbursed $3 million of the purchase cost by GlobalFoundries as part of a community benefit package.

The computer chip manufacturer agreed to help pay for re-establishing the public beach as a community benefit if it goes forward with a second computer chip plant at its Fab 8 site in Luther Forest, located on the Malta-Stillwater town line. Since the necessary zoning changes were approved last August, however, GlobalFoundries officials have said only that the company’s decision to build the second plant, being called Fab 8.2, will depend on market conditions and demand for its products.

“We’re hoping GlobalFoundries [commits] to 8.2 and starts giving us money,” Kinowski said.

He said the existing 100-year-old vacant restaurant building on the site will be used, and a snack shack and changing room-pavilion building will be erected on the property. He expects that work, which will also include a new entrance from Route 9P and a new parking lot, to cost about $250,000.

From the mid-1980s until the beach closed as a public attraction in 2007, the beach was the only public access on the lake other than a state boat launch at the north end of the lake. But it has a long history of public use dating back to 1918. In its heyday, the beach attracted families from throughout the Capital Region. In the 1950s and ’60s, an amusement park operated on the site, but that was demolished a quarter century ago.

 
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