Samantha at Saratoga

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Follow Us. Join Our Mailing List. Um, so my next question is, can you tell me like, one story you remembered the most in your work, like? SB: Well, there's a couple. Um, when I first started at the foundation not long after there's a handsome, um, Pre-Civil-War Italianate house that I always, um, admired, walking by with my dog, even before I joined the foundation, and I remember one day, walking by this house, and the windows were being taken out, and, um, the house had been purchased by the adjacent owners who lived on North Broadway.

And they wanted to demolish the house.

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It was in good condition, they had paid for over a million dollars for the house. And, um, it was sort of shocking to see a home so beautiful and in good condition, sold for a million dollars, being proposed to be demolished. So that was a memorable moment. At that time, we, the foundation, ah, asked for a demolition moratorium in the city, which we were successful in getting and throughout that period we attempted to expand the local historic district, which would have given oversight, ah, for demolition, ah, to match the boundaries of the national register historic district.

And unfortunately, as I mentioned before about challenges, many of the home owners in that particular area did not want to have any oversight by the design review commission. They did not want to have to seek approval to make changes to their building. So with that we were unsuccessful and ah, it was difficult to watch 23 Greenfield be demolished. And today it is a fenced yard, with no building.

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Ah, another, sadly, another one I think the loses are the hardest ones, and those are the ones you remember most, um, would be 66 Franklin, which um, was a beautiful Second Empire house granted in poor condition, um, maybe not beautiful to most immediate glance, um, but, um, was designed by J. Stevens, who would also design our, um, historic hotels, ah, the Grand Union, ah, the Grand Central, and this was one of his last works in Saratoga Springs, there are still a couple that remain, but one of his last, and ah, building owner want to purchase the home and demolish it, ah, unfortunately he was unwilling to share, at the time, what he was proposing to build in its place, which was a, um, the historic review ornaments requires that building owner provide an acceptable post-demolition plan, and he was not, by the foundation standards providing that.

Ah, this was ah, I believe a four-year court battle. We were in city court, we went city court, we wanted the state level more than one case and ultimately it was returned back to the designer review commission who accepted a fence and a sign as an acceptable post-demolition plan. So that was another one that was tough to watch, however I'd say one of the most rewarding was the Spirit of Life and Spencer Trust Restoration, because it's truly transformed the way people use the northwest portion of the park. Um, when I first came to Saratoga, the entrance um, the walkway entrance of Broadway was sort of hin, it was dark, um, there, the trees and bushes were overgrown.


It was not welcoming, sadly it was the respite for the homeless. There was no lighting at night, ah, there were no benches, ah, there was little landscape, but some of the trees immediately that variety along the reflecting pool wherein overgrown. And, um, today it is an active, vibrant part of the park with people sitting on benches, having picnics, um, there's people walk through there at night, um, it's just really transformed how people walk and use of the park.

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  8. So that's probably been one of the most rewarding for me since I've been here. Um, I guess my last question is, what do you want to say about the history and environment of Saratoga Springs? SB: Saratoga is, Saratoga Springs is this amazing, little spot in upstate New York that has a great college, more than one actually, with Empire State College, but Skidmore College it has um, the oldest sports venue in the country, ah, with one of the oldest, the oldest state race, Saratoga Race Course, which is truly magnificent.

    It is wholly intact from its early time from s to today, um, we are fortunate to have the SPA State Park with SPAC, amazing performance venue that is home to New York City Ballet and Philadelphia Orchestra, and we have this great downtown and neighborhoods, and that's all walkable and it's a variety of architecture, and it's just has a really rich history And such a community that has embraced it, and supported it at least up til this point, and hopefully that doesn't change. Um, do you have anything else you want to contribute to the interview? SB: No. I think you've covered a lot. Thank you so much, um, for this SB: Sorry.

    HL: No, no, it's totally fine, yeah. Original Format. Duration 21 mins.