Clifton Park moves closer to owning Kinns Road Park

The Town of Clifton Park is hoping to gain ownership of Kinns Road Park, which is currently owned by the County.

KASSIE PARISI/GAZETTE REPORTERThe Town of Clifton Park is hoping to gain ownership of Kinns Road Park, which is currently owned by the County. KASSIE PARISI/GAZETTE REPORTER

CLIFTON PARK — The town has overcome one more hurdle in its path to officially owning Kinns Road Park.

The state Senate passed a bill Thursday afternoon that would transfer ownership of the popular park from Saratoga County to the town. The bill now needs to pass the Assembly and be signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo before the town will officially own the land.

The town has been trying to obtain full ownership of the 64-acre Kinns Road Park for a few years. The county has owned the park since it acquired the land from the state in 1938.  A stream south of the park also connects the area to the Sherwood Forest neighborhood.

Then, in 1976, the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors directed the county forestry department to create a recreational facility on the land, and designated it as recreational land open to the public. Since it’s labeled a recreational facility, the town has managed and maintained the park, including maintenance of the parking lot and trails, tree removal and public safety.

In 2015, when the county unveiled logging plans for the park — which is used for hiking, running, walking and other activities — the town intervened.

According to town spokesman Matthew Andrus, pedestrians noticed that trees in the park had been marked to come down, and expressed concern to town officials.

After creating a formal management agreement that outlined the town’s responsibilities toward the park, the county discarded its logging plans for the park.

The town has since entered into a partnership with Capital Region BOCES, in which students receive vocational training by maintaining the park and cutting down dead trees.

“Kinns Road Park is a serene and very special place that should be enjoyed by the residents of Clifton Park and the 49th Senate District for generations to come,” state Sen. Jim Tedisco, who sponsored the bill, said in a news release.

The efforts to officially own the land stem from the town’s desire to have the final decision-making power over the land, and to keep it as parkland for town residents.

This is not the first attempt that the town has made to obtain true ownership of the land. Last year, the town pushed for similar legislation that would have moved the park’s land into town ownership.

While last year’s bill, upon which the current bill is based, passed through the Senate, it failed to get through the Assembly, which requested an updated survey of the land that the town was not able to complete prior to the end of last year’s legislative session.

In March, Clifton Park-based firm Environmental Design Partnership conducted an updated survey of the land.

During a recent Town Board meeting, Town Supervisor Phil Barrett said that unless the Legislature brings forward last-minute concerns, the transfer should be approved.

“Kinns Road Park has been managed by the town for many years and continues to be an integral part of our growing recreational network in Clifton Park,” Barrett said in a news release after the Senate passed the bill. “Town ownership and our commitment that the park will be preserved is the best outcome for Clifton Park and the many people that frequent Kinns Road Park.”