Thursday, 18 July 2019 13:06

Investments Guarantee World Class Status for Saratoga

By Todd Shimkus, President of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce | Business

I am lucky as President of the Saratoga County Chamber to get invited to a lot of ribbon cuttings, ground breakings and grand openings.

The vast majority of these taken on their own represent a new investment in the community. It’s a new business opening. An existing business expanding. It’s a new organization relocating to our region. It’s a rehabilitation or improvement to an existing facility or amenity.

It seems the race to open new facilities or to break ground is often dependent on construction schedules, the weather, or the start of the summer season. There is often little else that they have in common.

But sometimes, a group of these events demonstrates a trend that is even more significant. And I think that is the case right now.

The exact number is likely somewhere over $100 million dollars. That is the total amount of money that has been or will be invested in this community from a series of these recent events.

Each individual investment standing on its own is impressive. 

But collectively, these actions represent an effort to ensure Saratoga remains a vibrant world-class destination for years to come.

The list is impressive: SPAC, UPH, Skidmore College, Yaddo, the Saratoga Race Course, the Saratoga Casino Hotel, and Caffe Lena.

These seven organizations or institutions are among the top attractions bringing people to Saratoga from around the world for fun, leisure, and learning.

They are in the hospitality, education, arts, culture, and tourism sectors. 

And recently, all of them have completed or begun significant investments in efforts to modernize their facilities and to make them world-class.

Caffe Lena’s beautiful new facility on Phila Street is receiving rave reviews. The Yaddo Mansion has been restored and modernized. The Saratoga Casino will look completely different inside when it is done with their renovation project.

While new ramps and restrooms may not be glamourous, these improvements at SPAC are vital as it looks to meet rising expectations and to accommodate larger crowds and more events. 

UPH is being transformed before our eyes as construction proceeds. When this is completed, Saratoga will be able to host cultural events we can only dream about. 

The Saratoga Race Course just opened the new 1863 Club. 

Gone is the temporary At the Rail tent and three temporary camper-like “luxury boxes.” And in their place, we now have a modern air conditioned facility on par with what is expected by a segment of consumers at major sporting venues around the world.

At Skidmore College, the Center for Integrated Sciences when completed will put 10 Skidmore science departments and programs under a single roof in order to foster dialogue between and among scientific disciplines, the humanities, arts and social sciences. The science facility will house 46 research labs, as well as the IdeaLab, a creative maker space for students and faculty. 

Seriously, where else do investments like these take place all basically at one time?

They will help us as a community to attract new students, artists, performers, musicians, writers, and yes, visitors and tourists. 

And best of all, these investments make our city an even better place to live, work and play.

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