Below is a letter to the Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Public Works regarding the development of the Flat Rock Park area of High Rock Park
September 13, 2022
Commissioner Jason Golub, City Hall, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Dear Commissioner Golub:
At a recent City Council meeting, you presented a proposal for a small public park within the area of the City-owned High Rock parking lot south of the City Center parking structure. Sustainable Saratoga would like to thank you for inviting public comments on the proposal.
Sustainable Saratoga has focused on the development of the City-owned High Rock parking lot since a parking structure for the City Center was proposed in 2012. Because this important parcel is of great interest to all the people of the city, from the beginning we have advocated a comprehensive planning approach with an open public process for the entire parcel.
On November 20, 2018, the previous City Council adopted a resolution which, among other things, separated the development of the parcel into two phases. Phase I would include the design and development of the Downtown Connector segment of the Greenbelt Trail and the parking structure. In Phase II, the Council and the committee who developed the original Flat Rock Center concept would work to “increase and reconfigure the public park, green space and outparcels,” and the Council would “schedule a special meeting to present the proposals to the public for input and consideration.” Sustainable Saratoga offered suggestions and design elements that could be incorporated into the Phase II design, and we offered to participate in that planning process.
With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the attendant challenges to City finances and staffing, planning for the future of the High Rock lot was suspended. We understand that the proposed public park is intended as an improvement of modest cost that will involve only the planting of trees and other landscaping, and the installation of footpaths, benches, and a small amphitheater. However, we are concerned that it represents a continuation of a piecemeal approach to the development of the High Rock lot, and a significant postponement of the resumption of a comprehensive planning process involving public participation from the start.
We urge you and the rest of the Council to initiate a comprehensive planning process for the entire High Rock lot as soon as possible. We look forward to the eventual creation of an exciting plan for this important piece of public land.
Very truly yours,
Dianna Goodwin, Co-Chair
cc: Mayor Kim, Commissioners