Southwest Neighborhood Association of Saratoga Springs
Minutes – Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Meeting was held in the Saratoga Eagle community room located in Grande Industrial Park.
SWNA officers’ introductions and reports:
President – Molly Gagné opened the meeting at 7:00 PM, with sad news of the passing of two SWNA members, Anita Jaenisch and Stu Hefter.
Vice President – Candyce Robenstein had no new SWNA items to report, but did inform members of an upcoming parade to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Milton Eagles Fire Department. Scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 12 at noon, the parade will assemble on Hayes Dr. and march down Geyser Rd. to Burgess Kimball Park on Rowland St.
Treasurer – Dave Lauzon reported SWNA bank balances as of 8/1/15as follows:
General funds (checking acc’t) – $3,038.80; Geyser Trail earmarked funds – $12,653.30; for a total of $15,692.10.
Corresponding Secretary – Margaret Prough (absent) forwarded information of the correspondences she sent on behalf of SWNA: 1) thank you to Comm. Skip Scirocco for attending our May meeting and for his informative presentation; 2) thank you to Milton Supervisor Lewza for the beautiful, tree-lined sidewalk entrance to Milton along the newly improved Geyser Rd. and 3) thank you to Commissioner Scirocco for the flower plantings at Quevic & Hathorn and for his efforts over the years to make the city wellfield property an attractive part of our neighborhood. Margaret also noted that SWNA received a thank you from the Miller family on Vichy Dr. regarding a “curb appeal award” they received from a SWNA member.
Recording Secretary – Karen Villesvik read aloud Margaret’s emailed report as detailed above. The 5/12/15 meeting minutes were accepted by members in attendance.
Police Report – Lt. Sean Briscoe reported that larcenies from parked vehicles continue in the neighborhood, with an incident on 7/12 on Trottingham Ct. He noted that the vehicles were not locked, and reminded us to lock car doors and not leave valuables in plain sight. There were 101 calls for service in the sw neighborhood including medical calls. Police apprehended a man trespassing in a vacant property after an observant neighbor called SSPD.
Members expressed concerns about loud cars and motorcycles, speeding in the neighborhood and speeding through the school zone. A member reported calling SSPD when her lawn was damaged by vandals in a truck or SUV. No similar activity reported.
Neighborhood Watch – Rob Gatt reported that Zones 4, 6, and 7 still need coordinators. He reassured anyone interested in volunteering that it’s not a time-consuming task. He noted that people are reporting concerns and incidents to him and he forwards all information to SSPD. Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
A special word of appreciation and applause was given to Bill Chisham for founding our SW Neighborhood Watch and for his years of dedicated service.
David Lee, Manager, Saratoga NYS Tree Nursery
David Lee, Manager of the Saratoga NYS Tree Nursery, gave a very informative presentation on the history and current operations of the last remaining state-run tree nursery. The nursery occupies 100 acres, mostly visible along Rte. 9 / South Broadway and headquartered on Rt. 50 in our sw neighborhood.
The original purpose of state tree nurseries was to reforest New York after substantial deforestations occurred during the 19th century. The Saratoga Nursery began in 1911. At its peak, during FDR’s CCC program in the 1930’s-40’s, the Saratoga nursery produced 20 million seedlings per year and today it grows 1.2 million seedlings per year. With 62% of NYS successfully reforested, fifteen years ago the purpose of the state nursery program was shifted to “conservation and habitat support”, and types of seedlings have gone from 22 tree species to 54 varieties of conifers, hardwoods and shrubs.
The nursery is run by the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation. Seedlings are available for public and private plantings. Seedlings are harvested when still quite young/small so as not to compete with commercial nurseries. When possible the nursery uses NYS sourced seed.
The nursery also hosts training for forest rangers with some storage of supplies. Mr. Lee informed us that, once a month there is morning helicopter training for rangers that includes SW neighborhood flyovers.
The Saratoga Tree Nursery offers seasonable jobs, with 30-50 temporary openings in April and May for harvesting, grading, packaging, shipping and counting seedlings. The nursery buys seed (acorns, cones, etc.) by the bushel from residents with varying purchase rates depending on species and demand.
Mr. Lee concluded his presentation with free White Spruce seedlings for attending members as well as informational leaflets. A date and time for a tour of the nursery for SWNA members will be finalized.
• Dave Lauzon, our resident Master Gardener, continued his offer of free soil Ph testing to members. Tablespoons of soil should be taken from two locations at a depth of 4-6 inches and allowed to dry. Email Dave for more info at: email@example.com
• The Geyser School green fiber collection PTO fundraiser continues to do well and dumpsters have been emptied. NOTE: SWNA received notice shortly after the 9/8/15 meeting that this fundraising project has unfortunately been discontinued by the collection company!
• Members were reminded of the SWNA Adopt a Roadside fall cleanup of Geyser Road, and Molly noted she has a supply of orange trashbags and visibility vests.
• Milton’s completed Geyser Road project is planning a ribbon-cutting. The “Welcome to Saratoga Springs” sign will be replaced soon by DPW. There was discussion of ensuring the sign is placed at actual city line and of the need for a crosswalk across Geyser Road at the intersection with Hayes, for safety and convenience. Supervisor Lewza is aware of this request and Matt Veitch said he would advocate for this crossing.
• Update info on the Safe Routes to School and the Geyser Road Trail projects was included in the recent letter handout from Mayor Yepsen’s office. Copies were placed at many neighborhood homes.
• Matt Veitch, Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, reported that efforts to set a 5 ton weight limit for vehicles using Adams Road proceed and Milton town board approval is expected within 2 months. Adams Rd passes through the town of Milton and Saratoga Springs. Both need to approve the new weight limit.
• The DPW repaving project on the south end of Hathorn Blvd. was completed including improvements to grates and manholes as well as eliminating the patchy over-paving along the street ending at Hutchins Rd.
• Annmarie Moskal provided information on the Milton Health Center located on Geyser Rd. just west of Rowland St. Ms. Moskal is a physical therapist practicing there. The health center is not an urgent care facility but is part of a group of regional therapy centers run by Saratoga Hospital. The center offers full rehabilitation services for a number of conditions through a variety of therapy approaches, has a lab, and is staffed by a physician, nurses, and speech and physical therapists. The 30 minute therapy sessions are 1-on-1 and financial assistance is available. Also offered is membership in a fully equipped “adults only” Health and Fitness gym. Ms. Moskal brought flyers and an SWNA member who has used the Milton Health Center for PT rehab attested to the convenience and the fine level of care at this facility.
• John Donnelly was introduced as the new member of the Office of Code Enforcement. He comes from the Albany area where he focused on property maintenance of vacant, abandoned and bank-owned foreclosure homes. Mr. Donnelly covered many code and enforcement topics, with much discussion of our own neighborhood issues. He said it’s his intention to go after the banks holding these properties to demand better property maintenance but also explained why it is often difficult to pinpoint just who owns these foreclosed properties with frequent shifting of ownership between banks. He reported that the long neglected, condemned house on Hathorn Blvd. is to be torn down and rebuilt by the new owner. House structures are limited to two stories. Parking/storage of boats and RV/campers on the city right-of-way is not permitted. He handed out his business cards to attendees and encouraged members to use his personal cell number to report code issues or to ask further questions.
The meeting adjourned at 8:50 PM.
Next meeting will be held at Saratoga Eagle on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, at 7 PM.