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Shen Land Sale Finalized

Officials at the site of what supporters hope will become a future park in September 2017.
Lucas Willard

The sale of 37 acres of land from the Shenendehowa School District to the Town of Clifton Park has been finalized.

The future of one of the last undeveloped parcels in Clifton Park’s commercial corridor was the subject of much debate and two public referendums in 2017.

The town in southern Saratoga County has been heavily developed over the last several years, with suburban neighborhoods bumping up against shopping centers and the Adirondack Northway.

In April, voters soundly rejected a proposal to sell the land owned by the Shenendehowa School District to a developer.

The developer had planned to build a supermarket on the property and donate half to the town to build a park. The district has proposed using the proceeds from the sale to acquire land to potentially build a new elementary school.

On a rainy April day, voters turned out in large numbers to be heard — like Marie Leonardo, who spoke after voting at Gowana Middle School.

“We just don’t need any more Shoprites here or grocery stores or strip malls. We just need some trees and a place to hang out,” said Leonardo.

In September, town officials announced they intended to purchase the 37 acres for $1.1 million.

A group called Friends of Clifton Park Open Space applauded the announcement. The group is seeking a “Central Park” for the town to be developed on the property.

In December, voters again turned out, this time overwhelmingly approving the sale.

At the time, Shenendehowa School District Superintendent Dr. Oliver Robinson said what happens to the land is up to the town.

“The only stipulation in the contract is that land be used for municipal purposes, non-commercial purposes,” said Robinson.

On Wednesday, the Town of Clifton Park closed on the purchase.

Town Supervisor Phil Barrett…

“Now that that part has been determined, as we closed on the property this week, now we set our sights on the next phase of the process. So we’re excited about it,” said Barrett.

Barrett said multiple community meetings will be held. The town does not have any plans at the moment for specifics on the property.

“It’s a community project and making sure we have a clear indication from the people the community as to what they want to see in that area is very important,” said Barrett.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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