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Friday, 25 July 2014 11:13

New Markers Provide Spa City Information

By Brian Cremo | News

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga 150 Committee may have been developed to help celebrate last year’s 150th race course celebration, but it is still making a presence now and plans to do more in the future.

An example of that is how the committee has established 10 interactive quarter pole markers that have been put up in downtown Saratoga Springs (seven) and at the Saratoga Race Course (three). The poles were purchased with some of the leftover funds from the 150th celebration.

“I have to give all the credit to Bill Dake (Chairman of the board for Stewart’s Shops Corp. and member of Saratoga 150 Committee),” said Charles Wait Sr., chief executive officer and chairman of the Adirondack Trust Company. “He came up with the idea and then he managed to wrangle the forces together to get it designed, built and put in place in three months, which is pretty quick. We were very fortunate in having a surplus from the 150 events, principally from the generous donations we got, the sale of our logo rights and the events we ran. With that surplus we decided we wanted to do something to unify the city on a more permanent basis than just one year, so we brought the committee together and we settled on three projects.”

Wait is also chairman of the Saratoga 150 Committee, which selected the locations of the interactive markers based on places of heavy foot traffic, which are also out of the way of snowplows.

Designed after the infamous red and white markers at the Saratoga Race Course, the poles are equipped with a Quick Response (QR) code, so anyone with a smartphone can get information about the city with the subtle movement of their finger.

The code will take users to ViewSaratoga.com, an interactive site that further takes people into the city’s rich history.

“The website really tells you what Saratoga was like in the old days and what it is today,” Wait said. “The long-range vision is to expand the usefulness of that website.”

Currently, ViewSaratoga.com includes the following 11 subheadings with photos and information:

“The Springs”

“The Battle of Saratoga”

“The Horses” “Grand Hotels”

“Rowing Regattas”

“Conventions”

“Gambling”

“The Spa State Park”

“Culture”

“The Renaissance”

“The Place To Be”

Wait hopes the website will go beyond giving new visitors a brief history of Saratoga Springs, envisioning a site that gives people information on parking, taxi services and box office information.

Aside from the three locations at the track, the poles can be found in various spots including outside of the Saratoga City Center, the information booth on Broadway, the main Adirondack Trust building, and the Stewart’s at the corner of Circular Street and Broadway.

“There are certainly thoughts of adding more [poles] in the future, but we don’t have any specific locations picked out,” Wait said. “We want to see how the traffic is for this.”

The committee will be keeping an eye on how many people use the QR codes in the coming months to see how popular the new features are. The committee is also working on ways to boost the north and south entrances of Saratoga Springs also.

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