Referendum-What To Know: Create A Legacy


On April 4, taxpayers in the Shen School District will vote on the fate of 34 acres of land in the heart of the commercial center of Southern Saratoga County.  The vote about this land is reminiscent of another controversial land acquisition in Clifton Park. Almost 35 years ago in 1983, Clifton Park made a decision to invest in 71 acres of land adjacent to the Town Hall.

The town recognized the need for playing fields for youth sports as well as the potential for other community facilities such as a new Town Hall, library, and pool. They saw the property’s central location as ideal and cited the importance of the acquisition to future generations. By 1986 it had officially became “Clifton Common”.

With the input from a Citizens Advisory Committee, the Town eventually built baseball, softball, and soccer fields. It also installed outdoor basketball courts, a playground area, an outdoor stage for the performing arts and two indoor skating arenas. The Adult Community Center was also located in the Clifton Common.







For residents of the area, it is difficult to imagine Clifton Park today without the Common.  

  • It is a central hub for recreation and athletes from across Southern Saratoga County have taken advantage of the sports programs and camps conducted on the property.
  • Over 1800 athletes from the area participate in youth softball, ice hockey, soccer, and baseball programs.
  • In addition, the Common soccer fields have served as a contingency site when the School District’s fields are unavailable or a game must be played at a neutral site.
  • Likewise, the ice rink serves as the Shen hockey team’s home during the season.


Arts and culture also have a home at the Common.

  • The outdoor stage is the scene of six summer concerts by local performers as well as two weekend performances by the Clifton Park Players.
  • There are also five children’s shows.
  • Residents throughout Southern Saratoga mark the birth of our nation by attending the Town’s July Fourth Celebration. In addition to live entertainment, there are amusement rides and a large fireworks display.
  • And, the Adult Community Center provides a wide variety of activities and services for seniors including organized games, arts and crafts, public speakers, tax assistance, meals, dance instruction, and many others.


The Clifton Common is clearly an indispensable resource for the community and one that is unique within the Capital District.  If the sale of the Shen School District property for more development is voted down by taxpayers on April 4, then the opportunity for a Shenendehowa Central Park is still alive.






Like the Common, there are many reasons to support a park at this site.

  • Parks add economic value to a community and improve the quality of life.
  • There is an opportunity for synergy with the nearby Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library, CAPTAIN, the Southern Saratoga YMCA and the school programs on the Shen Campus.
  • And, like the Clifton Common, there would be little adverse impact to the adjacent land uses as a park would actually serve as a buffer between the adjacent schools and the commercial district.

In retrospect, the Clifton Common has fulfilled the promise that the Clifton Park Town Board envisioned in 1983. The decision on the 34 acre property has the potential to have the same impact on Southern Saratoga County. A central park can benefit people in the same way the Common has been a critical resource for kids, adults and seniors.

The referendum on April 4 will decide whether the land is lost forever to development–or if future generations look back in 35 years and marvel at the foresight of the voters to keep the land in the public domain.