Thursday, 12 October 2017 19:31

Ballston Spa Moves to Give Creek Group Permanent Home

A view of the William S. Kelley Park from the Michael A. Spensieri Park in Ballston Spa; and Friends of the Kayaderosseras founder Ruth Dibelius. Photos by Larry Goodwin.

BALLSTON SPA – Village officials approved a preliminary proposal Monday to lease a parcel of land in the Michael A. Spensieri Park to the nonprofit group Friends of the Kayaderosseras.

If formally starts a process through which the Friends of the Kayaderosseras can start raising funds and eventually prepare site plans for construction of a headquarters there. The group has lacked actual meeting and storage spaces since its creation 13 years ago.

“You’ve been a good friend to the Friends of the Kayaderosseras from the beginning,” Ruth Dibelius, the group’s founder, told Ballston Spa Mayor John Romano.

On its website (https://kayadeross.org), the group’s stated mission “is to promote awareness and appreciation of the Kayaderosseras Creek… and to inspire action to preserve and protect the creek, its tributaries and its watershed as habitat for fish and wildlife, and as a recreational and scenic resource for residents and visitors in surrounding communities.”

The Kayaderosseras Creek flows through the Town of Milton before winding through the Village of Ballston Spa and making its way east to Saratoga Lake. The village swimming pool at Spensieri Park and the William S. Kelley Park are popular attractions largely because of their location along the creek’s banks.

Romano indicated that numerous discussions regarding the project have taken place recently among village officials and Friends of the Kayaderosseras members.

After a formal resolution is prepared and approved by the village board, the land could be leased to the group for 99 years at $1 per year, Romano said.

Village Attorney James Fauci said any structure on the site would be built “completely at the expense” of the nonprofit group. The mayor explained that the construction would occur toward the rear of the parking lot at Spensieri Park.

Richard Bashant, the current Friends of the Kayaderosseras president, appeared before the village board to express his appreciation for the political support, calling Spensieri Park “a logistically important place.”

Currently, Bashant reported, the Friends of the Kayaderosseras operates on an annual budget of $10,000 and has about 350 active members. 

The group engages in various activities, he said. It has a fall cleanup of Kayaderosseras Creek scheduled on Saturday, Nov. 4, with a meeting point in Kelley Park. 

Aside from Romano, the other village board members present expressed support for the group’s plans as well.

Trustee Noah Shaw admitted that he and his son have enjoyed several adventures together on the Kayaderosseras Creek.

There are not likely to be “negative” consequences for entering into a lease agreement with the nonprofit group, Shaw said, though he did request that Fauci explore all available leasing options.

Trustee Stuart Hodsoll praised the Friends of the Kayaderosseras, saying its members’ “contributions are immeasurable and they continue to grow.”

In the early days of establishing the group, Dibelius recalled, she received a phone call of encouragement from former New York Gov. George Pataki. That was when Friends of the Kayaderosseras meetings were typically held in her living room with maps strewn about the furniture, she said.

Dibelius opined that there are “many people who deserve credit” for expanding the group’s network of volunteers since its founding in 2004.

Dibelius added, “It seemed the world was waiting for somebody to save the Kayaderosseras Creek.”

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