CLIFTON PARK — The town is seeking federal funds to offset the cost of planning a 37-acre park to be built on land the town is buying from the Shenendehowa Central School District.
The land has been the subject of controversy over the past year, but on Dec. 5, district residents approved the sale of the undeveloped parcel off Maxwell Road for just over $1 million.
The vote came eight months after residents soundly rejected a proposal to sell the land for more money to a developer.
The Town Board unanimously passed a resolution during a December meeting that gave the go-ahead to submit an application for a $60,000 Community and Transportation Linkage Planning Program grant, taking the first step toward turning the land into a public park.
The grant program, which is run through the Capital District Transportation Committee, provides federal funding to municipalities for multi-mode transportation improvements.
The town plans to put the grant funds, if awarded, toward the projected $90,000 cost to hire a consulting firm to help plan the park, according to Clifton Park Supervisor Phil Barrett.
The grant application was submitted last week, and the town expects to know by March whether it will get the funds. Early March is also when the planning process is expected to start, Barrett said.
The town expects to cover the remaining $20,000 cost of planning, along with providing $10,000 worth of work by town employees to implement the plan. Clifton Park is also seeking $7,500 worth of CDTA staff assistance to analyze traffic and transportation options in the area.
In a memorandum of understanding between the town and the school district, the town pledged to provide between $300,000 and $350,000 toward the effort to turn the land into a public park.
The planning process will include public hearings, at which residents will be able to voice opinions about how the park should be designed and used.
Additionally, since the land is directly adjacent to Shatekon Elementary School, district officials, including Board of Education President Bill Casey and Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson will work with the town on plans for the park.
Barrett confirmed the town will continue to seek funding in the form of grants throughout the development process.
While Barrett could not provide a specific closing date for the sale of the land, he said it could be completed early next year, possibly next month.