Clifton Park responds to Shen on land issue: Let’s talk

MARC SCHULTZ/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
Sign near the Shenendehowa campus on Route 146 for special land vote on April 4, 2017.MARC SCHULTZ/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER Sign near the Shenendehowa campus on Route 146 for special land vote on April 4, 2017.

CLIFTON PARK — The Town of Clifton Park wants to meet with Shenendehowa Central School District leaders to discuss the future of a controversial 32-acre parcel of undeveloped land.

Town Supervisor Phil Barrett offered to facilitate a meeting to discuss the parcel in a written response to a request for such talks made last week by district Superintendent Oliver Robinson. Barrett asked the school to select some dates that would work for the meeting.

Barrett said that, while initial talks would most likely only have the representatives from the board in attendance, the content discussed and subsequent progress will be made public. The letter also reiterated the town’s interest in obtaining the land.

“We have a unique opportunity before us to work toward an amicable solution that will serve our community and the municipalities of the school district, now and well into the future,” states the town’s letter.

Barrett added that there should not be any obstructions to forging some sort of deal with the district, including the price of the land. Initially, the town offered $1 million for the property, but the school district went with BBL Construction’s offer of $2 million for the property. That sale was overwhelmingly shot down in a referendum earlier this month.

In January of 2015, Hilco Real estate appraised the land as being worth $1.5 million.

“I don’t see anything as being a roadblock,” Barrett said on Thursday. “The town has, and continues to be interested.” Barrett added that he expects to hear from school school district officials soon.

The school board also said that it is prepared to move forward in a public manner.

“The district plans to engage in honest deliberations, including a fair assessment of price valuation,” the board said in a prepared statement after receiving Barrett’s letter. “The district extended a welcome to the town to engage in conversations, and we are pleased that they accepted.

“The public will be kept informed, as both boards — the Shenendehowa and the town of Clifton Park — engage in constructive discussions, deliberations and, hopefully, a decision that benefits the larger Shen community.”