October 14, 2020 Village of Ballston Spa and Saratoga Partnership Unveil Economic Development Plan to Drive Prosperity and Growth
Key recommendations include enhancing the Central Business District, supporting small businesses, enriching quality of place, and creating a community branding and marketing effort
Plan is launched at ceremony marking the restoration of Wiswall Park fountain, fed by the historic San Souci Spring, which had been capped for several years
Ballston Spa, NY – The Village of Ballston Spa and the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, a Saratoga County-based economic development organization, unveiled a comprehensive and customized economic development plan designed to spur new vitality, promote future growth, and drive long-term prosperity in the village. Guided by input from hundreds of citizens and community, business and government leaders, the blueprint outlines a strategic and tactical approach to attracting visitors, residents and businesses to Ballston Spa by enriching and promoting the assets, resources, charm and character of the quaint and historic village.
A product of the Saratoga Partnership’s Next Wave Communities initiative, the economic development plan was made public at a ceremony in Wiswall Park that provided a visible symbol of renewal and rebirth: the restoration of a fountain fed by the venerable San Souci Spring. Among the initial springs that drew visitors to the village in the 1800s – including to the San Souci Hotel, which opened in 1803 and was the nation’s largest resort at the time – the spring feeds the just-reopened fountain, which had been capped for several years.
“The release of this smart and strategic economic development plan heralds a new beginning for the Village of Ballston Spa, and makes it abundantly clear that we are open for business,” said Ballston Spa Mayor Larry Woolbright. “I’m particularly proud that our village is proactively taking this important step forward, undaunted by the impact of COVID-19 on the state and national economies. I commend our residents for their participation, and the Saratoga Partnership for their enormous contributions to this plan, and look forward to further enhancing our ‘Village of Friends’ as a warm, welcoming place to visit, raise a family, and grow a business.”
“We are delighted to have worked with Mayor Woolbright and the steering committee, the Ballston Spa Business & Professional Association, and village residents to create a thoughtful and tailored economic development plan that harnesses Ballston Spa’s assets and resources and supports its future goals and aspirations,” said Shelby Schneider, President and CEO of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership. “We stand ready to assist in its implementation to ensure the village is well-positioned to meet today’s challenges and build a prosperous future.”
The 72-page economic development plan outlines four major goals, and includes a matrix of timelines for implementation, to strengthen Ballston Spa’s economic and fiscal vitality:
- Enhance the Central Business District. To attract and retain complementary retail and experience-based businesses and create a positive shopping experience, the plan recommends creating a Business Improvement District (BID) to fund infrastructure improvements; reviewing transportation and parking strategies; and encouraging merchants to collaborate, from coordinating hours of operation to developing a collaborative merchandising approach.
- Enrich the Village’s Quality of Place. To bolster the village’s atmosphere for visitors, residents and businesses, the plan calls for updating the Village Master Plan, which was last done in 1994; pursuing the Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Initiative; improving walkability in the Central Business District; creating a facade improvement program; and exploring options for affordable, workforce and senior housing.
- Provide support and resources to small businesses. To help small businesses and proprietors prosper and grow, the plan suggests conducting a feasibility study to explore coworking spaces; establishing a network of supportive workforce services and facilities, including a physical resource hub; creating peer groups, roundtables, and regional business-to-business (B2B) platforms to connect business owners for collaboration and sourcing; and tracking and sharing retail and consumer trends to guide business decisions.
- Create an economic development and community branding strategy. To enable small businesses and proprietors to compete in the regional marketplace, the plan recommends developing a community branding strategy to raise the village’s visibility and showcase its assets and opportunities; targeting vacant and underutilized properties for economic development; evaluating village zoning, land use and other ordinances to support business growth; and conducting community surveys to continue gathering input on future directions.
The Saratoga Partnership worked with the village for over a year to create the economic development plan. A survey of more than 400 Ballston Spa residents was conducted to gauge the community’s vision, identify its strengths and assets, and address current needs and challenges. In addition, Mayor Woolbright and the Saratoga Partnership conducted six focus group meetings with a diverse group of stakeholders, and a public forum was held to generate further participation and solicit additional ideas.
“The hard work of village residents and the Saratoga Partnership for over a year has led us to this day, and the release of our new economic development plan,” said Rory O’Connor, Chair of the Steering Committee. “This plan is both comprehensive and flexible; it will help guide us toward the goal of maintaining our unique village, while improving our ability to attract new residents and businesses to join us in the opportunities our community offers.”
“In the age of Amazon, small downtowns like Ballston Spa have continued to thrive because they offer something neither the mall nor online retailer can: the social connection of entering a shop and talking to the owner, the person who has a vested interest in giving you great service because this business is their livelihood, passion and vision,” said Ellen Mottola, executive administrator of the Ballston Spa Business & Professional Association. “This economic development plan recognizes the importance of small businesses in Ballston Spa, and we are excited to work collaboratively to create a future where we can all succeed together.”
“I am thrilled to open my new restaurant in Ballston Spa, and confident I have found the perfect place to make my dream a reality,” said Nafeesa Koslik, owner of Nani’s Indian Kitchen on Milton Avenue, which will open in a few weeks. “Seeing this proactive plan for future growth that emphasizes the importance of maintaining the village’s charm and character assures me that we are headed in the right direction.”
“As a property owner and developer, I’m thrilled to know we have an advocate, supporter and partner in the Village of Ballston Spa,” said James Beaudoin, owner of the prominent 125 Bath Street property. “This economic development plan articulates a clear and exciting vision for the village’s future, and I look forward to playing a role in making it a reality.”
“The Village of Ballston Spa is a very special and unique community in the 49th Senate District, with many wonderful small businesses, and this new plan will offer a roadmap to helping the Village bounce back from the economic impact of COVID-19 and become even more vibrant,” said Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville).
“One of the greatest parts of public service is celebrating the great individuals, businesses and organizations that do so much to support our community and help it to grow,” said Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C,I-Ballston). “The Village of Ballston Spa is the heart of the 112th Assembly District, and the plans to restore and revitalize the economy of this beautiful and historic village is an incredibly exciting opportunity for residents and visitors alike. I applaud all who have worked so hard to make this project a reality and will do all that I can to support their efforts moving forward.”
The Saratoga Partnership’s Next Wave Communities initiative involves creating tailored economic development plans for individual municipalities in Saratoga County. Similar efforts are currently underway in the towns of Galway and Malta.
Prosperity: Ballston Spa’s Plan for Growth, Saratoga Today, 10.16.2020
New Hope for Economic Development in Ballston Spa, The Daily Gazette, 10.15.2020
Ballston Spa Touts New Economic Development Plan, WAMC, 10.14.2020
Ballston Spa Unveils Economic Development Plan to Drive Future Growth, WTEN, 10.14.2020
Ballston Spa Officials Announce New Strategic Economic Development Plan, Saratogian, 10.14.2020
Ballston Spa Turns Tap Back on to Historic Spring, Albany Times Union, 10.14.2020
Partnership Unveils Plan to Revitalize Ballston Spa, CBS 6, 10.14.2020
Village of Ballston Spa and Saratoga Partnership Unveil Economic Development Plan, WGY News, 10.14.2020
About the Village of Ballston Spa
First settled in 1771, the Village of Ballston Spa was incorporated in 1807. Today, it is a charming historic village with a friendly, hometown atmosphere, destination shopping and eateries, and a visible sense of community. For more information, visit www.villageofballstonspa.org.
About the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership
The Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership leads a host of critical economic and workforce development initiatives across the public and private sectors, driving economic success for residents, businesses and government in Saratoga County, New York. The Saratoga Partnership provides a point of contact for business retention and expansion, enabling a seamless delivery of programs and services for businesses seeking to grow, and spearheads semiconductor industry marketing and attraction, global trade assistance, community economic development, and data collection and planning. For more, visit us at saratogapartnership.org and on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership is a member of the Saratoga County Economic Development Alliance, which includes the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation.