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GLENS FALLS — Property at 51 South St., where the local Capital District Off Track Betting parlor used to be, would be redeveloped for a parking lot and neighborhood park, with a SUNY Adirondack satellite building on one side and a year-round farmers market on the other, under a scenario being considered for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

SUNY Adirondack officials are estimating the cost to locate the college’s culinary and/or other employment training programs downtown, said EDC Warren County President Edward Bartholomew.

“We should have that cost estimate within the next couple of weeks,” he said.

Conceptually, SUNY Adirondack would be a tenant in a privately owned development.

“They are not looking to buy a building. They are comfortable with a lease,” he said.

The scenario is among concepts a local committee is considering for funding from a $10 million state Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant the city has received.

Consultants have put together a list of 43 projects and concepts that were included in previous downtown economic development studies and plans.

The list, which will be posted at, is just a starting point, said Simon Kates, a consultant with BEJ Planning.

Some projects will be removed from the list and others can be added over the next few months, he said.

The committee already removed two projects and added one at its Oct. 12 meeting.

A previously proposed mixed-use development in the grassy area next to Monument Square office tower and Church of the Messiah, across Bay Street from Crandall Public Library, was removed because city officials had decided against relocating the Civil War Soldiers Monument.

Glens Falls Civic Center was removed from the list because the city has leased the arena to Adirondack Civic Center Coalition, a private group that is undertaking its own renovation plan.

The committee added a feasibility study of redeveloping the corner of Glen and Warren streets, including the Burger King restaurant, even though Bartholomew said convincing Burger King to relocate is not likely.

“It is recognized as one of the top-selling Burger Kings in the Northeast. So I think any effort to move them out of there is going to take the whole $9.7 million,” he said, referring to the amount of money to be distributed after $300,000 is spent on planning.

Bartholomew said it’s getting tougher to recruit retail merchants downtown in an era of internet commerce.

“We don’t want to build a huge building and have it be vacant,” he said.

Jim Siplon, a committee member, said redevelopment of the Burger King corner has been the most common suggestion from the public.

“I don’t know what the options are, but we should consider it, at least, to be able to document to the community,” said Siplon, chief operating officer of Just Beverages.

The committee had a booth Saturday at Glens Falls Farmers Market as part of its effort to get public comment.

“I was liking their idea of more community gardens — rooftop gardens,” said Chloe Durkin of Glens Falls. “I volunteer at the (Glens Falls Food) Co-Op, and we’re always looking for more ideas to get products.”

Jane Kana of Glens Falls said she likes an emphasis on employment training and job creation.

“I’m a former teacher, so I’m very concerned about students coming out of school, or not coming out of school,” she said.

The committee is planning a half-day public forum on Dec. 3, which will include downtown walking tours, at a time and location to be announced.

The committee also is conducting an online survey at

In the coming months, the committee will narrow down the list of potential projects to include only those that are not likely to be feasible without DRI grant funding.

“You’re going to see some things fall off that list that won’t be eligible,” said Glens Falls Industrial Development Agency Chairwoman Judith Calogero, a committee member.

Grant funding cannot go directly to a private developer.

Funding can only go to the city for initiatives such as infrastructure improvements, landscaping or parking to facilitate a project, or for loans or grants for a project that has a public benefit.

“And the key words are public benefit,” said Omar Usmani, co-chairman of the local committee.

“We’ve got a certain amount of money we have to work with, but we want to leverage private investment,” said Kates, the consultant.

The committee has a late February deadline to submit its recommendations to the state.

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Follow staff writer Maury Thompson at All Politics is Local blog, at PS_Politics on Twitter and at Maury Thompson Post-Star on Facebook.


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