BY JUSTIN MASON Gazette Reporter
Schenectady County plans to turn over the former Check Marks Realty property to Duanesburg so the town can locate a small memorial park at the highly visible intersection of routes 20 and 7.
County Legislator Tony Jasenski said the once-blighted property would make an ideal location to honor the region’s veterans for their service. He will call on fellow legislators to deed the property to the town with the purpose of the park being established there one day.
“This location, at the main crossroads in Duanesburg, is the perfect location to serve as a constant reminder of the sacrifices made by the veterans in our community,” he said in a written statement this week.
The derelict property and small building were owned by the estate of Glen Marks, who died in 2006 and hadn’t paid taxes on the property since 1995. Before the cleanup last year, the former gas station contained five buried fuel tanks and some petroleum contamination.
The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority arranged a cleanup of the quarteracre site through the Comptroller’s Oil Spill Fund. County offi cials initially considered the property for a substation to serve the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department’s road patrol.
But the land proved to be far too small for the substation. County spokesman Joe McQueen said the parcel was too small to include a septic system and water well in accordance with state Department of Health standards.
“The parcel was just not large enough,” he said.
McQueen said county offi cials are continuing to look for properties for the substation but have nothing concrete in mind. Sheriff’s deputies on road patrol now must travel more than four miles from the department to reach the edge of their coverage in Princetown.
Supervisor Rene Merrihew lauded the county for turning the property over to the town. Merrihew had initially suggested establishing a small pocket park, including a gazebo and garden to honor Duanesburg’s veterans, when county officials started planning the cleanup.
“We thought it would make a nice area for a small green park,” she said.
Merrihew said she’ll now discuss how to best move forward with establishing the memorial with the town’s Parks Committee and other community-oriented organizations in the town. She hopes to iron out a plan sometime this winter so work can begin in the spring.
“We’ll take the winter and see what the residents want to do,” she said.
The blighted property with its dilapidated building had become emblematic of the economic struggles at Duanesburg Four Corners. Now it could be come a sign of the bustling intersection’s revitalization.
The vacant Countryside Mart was demolished by its owner last summer and could one day draw new construction across from the Check Marks Realty property. Metroplex also funded a facade grant program that has allowed several established businesses to spruce up their buildings.