By Kassie Parisi
CLIFTON PARK — The town of Clifton Park is making an effort to gain ownership of the Kinns Road parkland.
At its meeting on June 5, the town board unanimously passed a resolution requesting the passage of a bill from the New York State Legislature that would allow Saratoga County to transfer ownership of the land from the county to the town.
The bill, which is currently in committee in the assembly and was passed by the senate on Thursday, would authorize the county to give the land to Clifton Park, and would also assure that the land would only be used by the town for public parkland.
In 1938, Saratoga County acquired the 64-acre parcel of land on Kinns Road. After that, the land was designated by the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors in 1940 to be used for reforestation.
Then, in 1976, the board of supervisors directed the county forestry department to create a recreational facility on the land, and designated the lands as recreational lands open to the public. Since its designation as a recreational facility, the town has managed and maintained the park.
Town Supervisor Phil Barrett made the point that getting full ownership of the land wouldn’t be a new challenge for the town to deal with because the town has been taking care of the park for decades already.
“We’ve been managing it for years, so obviously we know how to do that,” Barrett said at the town board meeting.
Kinns Park is heavily utilized by bikers, walkers, and other pedestrians. The bill noted that, since some of the land in the park is still designated to be used for reforestation, the county and town have agreed on a plan to help protect those lands and ensure the forest’s continued use for park and recreational purposes.
This is not the first attempt that the town has made to get true ownership of the land. Last year, the town entered into an inter-municipal agreement with the county that would have moved the Kinns Road parkland into town ownership. Last year’s legislation, upon which the current bill is based, to transfer the land’s ownership passed through the Senate, but failed to get through the assembly due to the fact that the Assembly requested an updated survey of the land, which the town was not able to complete prior to the end of last year’s legislative session
In late March, Clifton Park based firm Environmental Design Partnership conducted an updated survey of the land, and at the town board meeting, Barrett said that unless the Legislature brings forward last minute concerns, the transfer should be approved.
“I would hope that it would be approved this legislative session,” he said.