Property could be seized for Saratoga path leading

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A new walking and biking trail in the Spa City inched closer to the finish line.

The city may use eminent domain to build the trail on private property along Geyser Road, something many homeowners are against.

Many homeowners say a trail is too dangerous for the busy road, especially with the speed limit at 35.

These safety concerns are the same reasons why others support the trail.

Upstate Distilling Company opened on Geyser Road just 15 months ago. It shares a space with Artisanal Brew Works.

It’s worried about the people they see walking and biking on the busy road.

“Seeing families with young children on their bikes on Geyser Road is a concern because it’s a fast paced road and it’s windy,” Lindsay Richardson, Partner at Upstate Distilling Company, said.

“One of the problems we have here, people want to park, come into our establishment, have a beer, have a bite to eat and then they want to walk over to SPAC,” Kurt Borchardt, Co-Owner at Artisanal Brew Works, said. “I don’t want to pick up that liability of having someone get hurt walking on a road that clearly is not designed for pedestrian traffic right now.”

The city is hoping to change that.

Planning to build a trail along the road as part of its Complete Streets Plan. It would lead right into the Spa State Park.

Those same safety concerns are reasons why some homeowners don’t support the trail.

“Whether the trail is there or not it’s going to be dangerous,” Jack Pompay, homeowner on Geyser Road, said.

Pompay says traffic is too heavy and the trail would also take away something sentimental.

“My father and I planted these shrubs.”

The city would have to seize a half-acre of private property along the road through eminent domain, which is unsettling for many homeowners.

“Does it really have to be done this way? There are many, many options that you can take,” Pompay said.

“The government can take anything from you and just kind of throw money at you and be like alright there you go even if it’s not for sale,” Cara Kenyon, homeowner on Geyser Road, said.

Kenyon says the trail would cost her some privacy,  including a tree that would come down. She’s remaining open since it appears to be a done deal.

“A sidewalk that we can use to get to SPAC would be awesome. I don’t know, I guess it remains to be seen.”

The trail would be about 13 feet wide and begin at the city line with the town of Milton.

The city of Saratoga Springs received a $1.4 million state grant for the project. Some people have proposed alternative ideas that would not require the city to use eminent domain. However, the Southwest Neighborhood Association (SWNA) says the grants are specific to the plans submitted, and that they have to follow the plans that won them the bid. Molly Gagne from the SWNA says the trail would “help a neighborhood that has been trapped by a road.”

The Geyser Road Trail would be 2 miles long. Construction bids are expected to go out by fall.

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