Saratoga Springs gun show opponents keep up pressure
City Center asked to reject requests for 2014 shows
SARATOGA SPRINGS A group of gun control advocates asked the Saratoga Springs City Center Authority again Wednesday not to host gun shows scheduled for this summer and fall.
“We want those shows canceled and [asked them] not to sign any new contracts,” said Susan Steer of Saratoga Springs.
Steer and other members of Saratogians for Gun Safety attended Wednesday morning’s monthly City Center Authority meeting to keep up their campaign in opposition to firearms shows held by NEACA Inc. at the City Center on Broadway.
David and Cathy Petronis of Mechanicville, owners of the New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates Inc., have signed contracts with the City Center for arms shows in August and October.
An estimated 50 people, including a group of Skidmore College students, attended the authority meeting in the cramped City Center board room Wednesday.
Steer and Mark Baker, president of the Saratoga Springs City Center, said comments were made against and in favor of the upcoming firearms shows during the public comment portion of the authority meeting.
Baker said he did not know so many people would attend the meeting or he would have made different arrangements. The authority members did not discuss the upcoming arms shows at the meeting but at past meetings have stated these shows would be held as scheduled because contracts had been signed.
Steer asked Baker after the meeting if any action has been taken regarding NEACA Inc. gun shows at the city center for 2014. Baker said no contracts have been signed but negotiations regarding show dates in 2014 are under way.
Steer noted that a NEACA Inc. gun show planned for mid-May at the Sportsplex in Halfmoon was canceled after the Sportsplex owners decided they no longer wanted to host the show. This show was moved to the Lake George Forum May 16-18.
Steer has been trying to obtain a copy of the insurance policy that NEACA Inc. provides the City Center for its show. She said center officials have shown her the certificate of insurance for the shows but have not produced the policy itself, despite numerous requests.
Baker said the certificate of insurance provided for the arms shows is “the industry standard” and accepted as proof of insurance by the center.
“They name the city and the City Center Authority as primary, non-contributory insured,” Baker said. If a insurance-covered incident happened during an arms fair, “their insurance pays the claim,” he said.
Earlier in the week, Baker presented the Saratoga Springs City Council with the City Center’s annual report for 2012.
He said “2012 was an outstanding year,” and added that the City Center is reaping the rewards of a multimillion-dollar expansion and renovation done in 2010.
The year 2011 had been the best year on record at the city center but 2012 topped those statistics, Baker said.
Highlights of the report include:
• A 57.1 percent increase in total guest counts from 2011 (90,691) to 2012 (142,404).
• A 10.3 percent increase in events held, from 136 in 2011 to 150 in 2012.
• A 23.9 percent increase in paid event days, from 207 in 2011 to 257 in 2012
• An 18.5 percent increase in building occupancy days, from 248.5 in 2011 to 294.5 in 2012.
Expenses in the center’s $1.4 million 2012 budget were down 2 percent and the center ended the year $8,400 in the black, Baker said.