City purchases two parcels to expand Elk Street Park

The Common Council on Tuesday approved the purchase of a tax foreclosed property at 113 Washington St., shown Wednesday, and a property going through tax foreclosure at 12 Elk St. from Fulton County. The Fulton County Demolition Team will demolish the Washington Street building and the city plans to incoporate the two parcels into a revitalization project that would expand the Elk Street Park from East Fulton Street to Washington Street. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — The Common Council approved the purchase of two properties from Fulton County at a price equivalent to the taxes owed on the parcels for the purpose of expanding Elk Street Park.

The city approached county officials earlier this year seeking to acquire a tax foreclosed property at 113 Washington St. and a property going through tax foreclosure at 12 Elk St.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors approved the sale of the two properties to the city during the March 11 meeting upon receipt of delinquent taxes and any fees due, totalling $4,658 for 113 Washington St. and $593.82 for 12 Elk St.

The city formalized the purchase agreement with approval of a resolution by the Common Council on Tuesday accepting transfer of the properties to the city for the previously stipulated sale price. Under the agreement, the Fulton County Demolition Team will be responsible for demolishing the existing building at 113 Washington St. “as soon as feasible.”

The city’s interest in the pair of properties stems from a planned rehabilitation project for Elk Street Park. Incorporating the newly acquired land into the project will allow the city to expand the park from the existing basketball court on East Fulton Street back to the parallel running Washington Street.

The park project will be broken into two phases. The first phase will see the basketball court improved through resurfacing, if necessary, followed by the painting of a mural on the court designed by Gloversville High School art students.

The second phase will involve the redevelopment and expansion of the surrounding park space. The project is being organized by city officials and the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth in partnership with community members, the Gloversville Enlarged School District and Project Backboard, a national non-profit that works with cities to revitalize basketball courts.

The city recently formed a Project Backboard Committee to spearhead planning and held a community workshop on March 10 to gather feedback from interested city residents and those living in the immediate surrounding neighborhood.

“We had a pretty successful meeting initially, but we’re hoping for a lot more input from the neighborhood,” Mayor Vincent DeSantis said Tuesday.

The committee will gather additional information and ideas from community members to be used by Mary Moore Wallinger of the LAndArt Studio design firm in Schenectady who is preparing a design concept for the project.

City officials are hoping work on the basketball court can be completed court by this September, working with school officials to involve local student artists to design mural concepts using ideas gathered from community members, who will later have a chance to vote on mural submissions to select the final design to be painted on the court by students and community volunteers.

A timeline for park redevelopment will be based on a variety of factors, including the scope for the project as outlined by community members. The project will be funded through donations from local businesses and other private sources.

By Patricia Older

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