Blog Master G

Word. And photos, too.

Blog Master G random header image

City of Hope

Monday, March 27th, 2006 · No Comments

From the Sunday, March 26, 2006 Times Union special section Capitaland Quarterly: City of hope / Saratoga’s splendor offers shining model:

No small city in the Capital Region has been as successful as Saratoga Springs. It’s the hometown everyone wants to emulate.

The Broadway shopping district boasts shops and cafes. Businesses like The Ayco Co., an affiliate of Goldman Sachs, and First Guarantee Mortgage Corp. occupy the floors above the stores. New condominiums rise six stories tall, teeming with people who have money to spend.

Good-paying manufacturing jobs are nearby, at Quad Graphics Inc. and Ball Corp. in the W.J. Grande Industrial Park off Geyser Road. Entertainment venues like the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and Saratoga Race Course are well known.

The city achieved what experts say can be accomplished when a compact, dense downtown area provides a robust heartbeat and identity to urban life that is affordable.

Edward Miller, co-director of the Center for the Small City at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, said a characteristic of small cities is “everybody is engaged.” So citizens must decide how they want their community to look in the future and make it happen.

“If you look at surveys, individuals prefer to live in smaller communities; they prefer that for the quality of life,” he said. “People are moving back to small cities out of the metropolitan areas.”

Small cities cash in on their sense of community by offering an identity not found in sprawling suburbs. They use that to sell themselves to new residents and industries.

Saratoga Springs residents knew what they wanted.

“Saratoga stands out as a community with citizen involvement bar none. There’s always been an attitude in Saratoga County and Saratoga Springs that we can do it,” said Joseph Dalton, president of The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.

They promoted downtown and poured money into improvements. The Saratoga Springs City Center opened to provide convention space and hotel rooms. Government pushed to attract industry.

Saratoga Springs’ population soared 69.2 percent, to 26,186, from 1950 to 2000. That’s in stark contrast to the region’s other small cities, where population slipped as much as 43 percent in the same 50 years.


Tags: saratoga springs