Preservation Foundation Raises Concerns Over Skidmore College’s Plans For Its Entrance

[JK:The Saratoga Perservation Society has raised objections to the planned reconstruction of the Skidmore entrance on North Broadway. Here is their release]

The Foundation appreciates the important role that Skidmore College has in our community as an educational institution and the economic benefits it provides as well as it appreciates the college’s desire to be more visible on North Broadway. The Foundation has reviewed the proposed changes to the North Broadway entrance of Skidmore College that will be discussed at tomorrow’s Design Review Commission meeting, June 5th at 7PM at 15 Vanderbilt Avenue. The Foundation has significant concerns about the proposed entrance, which can be viewed here. These concerns have been discussed with Skidmore representatives and we look forward to continuing our open discussion about this proposal with Skidmore College and the local community.

Historically, North Broadway was a wide, tree-lined street with large residences that led through what is today known as the North Woods to Maple Avenue. The introduction of six signs, two of which are monolithic stone walls with large signage; the widening of the road; changing the pavement material and color; introducing red pavers to the sidewalk; and landscaping would introduce incompatible features that are uncharacteristic of the streetscape and significantly compromise the integrity and the spatial relationship of the historic district.  It creates a visual barrier and gives the false impression that the road beyond it is owned by Skidmore College and is private property, not a public street that leads to the North Woods. The proposed entrance also creates the false impression that the properties to the east and west were once part of one large private estate rather than multiple properties.

The Foundation recommends that if Skidmore College wants to significantly enhance its entrance that it should do so on its private property not on North Broadway or in the public right-of-way.  If there are concerns about way-finding for the campus, including the Admissions Office and other offices on the east side of North Broadway, the Foundation feels that there are less obtrusive ways to address wayfinding than what is currently proposed. The Foundation’s full comments on the proposed entrance can be read here.

If you have any concerns or comments please join us at tomorrow’s DRC meeting.

Thank you to our members and friends for your support!

Efforts To Schedule Finance Commissioner Debate Founder

Two different organizations have attempted to plan a debate between Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan and her challenger in the upcoming June 25th   Democratic primary, Patty Morrison.  Both efforts have been unsuccessful so far.

As reported in an earlier post Eddy Miller, of the Independence Party which had endorsed Commissioner Madigan, had secured a room at the Racino for a debate. To ensure fairness they had a commitment from Chad Beatty, the publisher of Saratoga Today, to be the moderator. When Ms. Morrison responded that she was unable to attend on that date, Mr. Miller on May 14 offered her 6/17 and 6/19 as alternate dates.  Ms. Morrison never responded.

The League of Women Voters has now been trying to organize a debate between the two candidates.

I contacted Michele Madigan who forwarded me several emails she had sent to the person in the League organizing the event. Madigan sent her many dates beginning at the end of May up to the primary when she would be available for a League event.

Patty Morrison notified the League that she would not be available until June 19th (the Wednesday before the election). Interestingly June 19th was one of the two dates for a debate that the Independence Party offered Ms. Morrison that she did not respond to.

The date finally offered by the League was June 21, the Friday before the Tuesday primary and Michele Madigan’s anniversary.  For obvious reasons Michele Madigan was unavailable for that date. Oddly the venue offered was a small space in the Unitarian Church.  Commissioner Madigan had given the League a number of dates when she was available when the much larger space in the Library was also available. 

After once again offering Ms. Morrison a number of dates that she again rejected, the League has announced that their forum will not be happening. 

Meanwhile Independence Party Chair Eddy Miller has again reached out to Patty Morrison with a new offer of June 14 for a forum for the two candidates with Chad Beatty moderating and is hoping for a response. The forum is scheduled to take place in the Riley’s/Arrowhead Meeting Room at the Saratoga Casino Hotel, 342 Jefferson Street at 6:30 with the debate scheduled to run from 7PM to 8PM. Commissioner Madigan has accepted the invitation.

I am not aware of any events at this point where Ms. Morrison will be available to the public but will let readers know if I learn one is scheduled.

It is unfortunate that Ms. Morrison has such limited availability. The public would benefit by having the opportunity to hear from the two candidates together.


Ugly Anonymous Website Appears on Saratoga Scene

Someone sent me a link to a new website being promoted by Bob Turner on his Facebook page.  The site is a sorry example of the way the web can be used to manipulate the public.

On the website’s “about” page it begins with “Who Are We.”  It offers:

“X (I am not giving ithe website’s name as I want to do nothing to further promote this enterprise ) is a group of citizens that loves our city.  We want our children and grandchildren to grow up here and enjoy this wonderful place for years to come.  We are made up of citizens from all walks of life and varied political affiliations…. (It goes on at some length with more of the same).”

The next section is entitled “What will we do”

It offers:

“X (Website name) will create forums and opportunities through which all citizens will be able to express the civic values embodied in our Mission Statement (I could find nothing on this website that called itself a mission statement).  X  will also provide an organizing platform, when necessary and desirable, to advance public policies that reflect these core values.”  

The site offers no information as to who the people managing this website actually are. In fact, under “contact” there is no email address or telephone number.  There are places to put your name and email address and then offer a “comment.”

I used this option to ask them who they were ( hopefully they will not paste in the pablum from their “who we are.”) .

I still haven’t heard back from them, but I went on the site today and saw that Ellen Egger-Aimone had successfully posted a comment.

As making a comment will apparently be the only way to participate in this group, and its mystery managers will excercise their powers of censorship and control over what comments are published this really is a parody of what a community website should be.

There are several articles on the website with the kind of shrill accusations that sound very much like the stuff that the people who were guilty of the worst excesses of the city manager charter campaign put out.

Interestingly, there was a previous website with the same website name that went moribund for a while.  The following is a screen shot from the people who posted a “Like” for it.  Of the six people listed, three were active with “It’s Time Saratoga” which was the group formed to promote passage of the city manager charter and they also served on the charter commission that drafted the plan.  They are Gordon Boyd, Jeff Altamari, and Bob Turner.  In addition, Susan Steer is married to Bob Turner.

This city deserves better.