From Grassroots to Saratoga Associates

Here is a company that is steeped in the history of the Saratoga Springs rejuvenation. In the early seventies, Saratoga Springs was a failing city, losing what was left of her grandeur. With no business model to follow, a group of business owners, city fathers, and a city planning firm called Saratoga Associates, banded together to create one of the great revitalization projects in the country. Since then cities throughout the country have followed this formula to rejuvenate their communities. Today, The Saratoga Associates has become one of the premier planning and design firms, not only in Saratoga but the north east.

The Saratoga Associates Logo

The Saratoga Associates Logo

The Saratoga Associates are located in the old YMCA building

The Saratoga Associates are located in the old YMCA building

Bob Bristol is a Founder, current chair, CEO and President, Senior Principal at this time. He and the original founders had all but retired from day to day operations, when their replacement Dan Sitler was overcome by cancer. This tragedy brought Mr. Bristol back to the helm again.

On their Website their mission is – Creating Compelling Destinations, Enriching Communities, Safeguarding Special Places. 
Their services include Landscape Architecture, Architecture and Interior Design, Civil Engineering, Planning & Economic Development, Environmental Regulatory Planning. 

We will focus on their two main local projects in Saratoga Springs. The Saratoga Associates have based their entire business model on their role in the redevelopment of the downtown area of Saratoga Springs. That model was simple

  • Keep downtown the main business center
  • Get People to live within walking distance of downtown
  • Promote businesses that will supply people living in the area with the things they want. 
  • Create governing bodies that will guide this program slowly towards its goal.

And this is the program the the Saratoga Associates has gone on to promote since the day they had a hand in developing it.

Street Wayfinding signage, Building Signage Standards and Historic Buildings

Street Wayfinding signage, Building Signage Standards and Historic Buildings

Green Areas on Streetscape

Green Areas on Streetscape

Broadway in Saratoga Springs 1997

Broadway in Saratoga Springs 1997

The other great Saratoga Landmark that the Saratoga Associates has had a lasting impression on is the Saratoga Race Track. They have created three buildings that will define that track for possibly one hundred years.

Main entrance to Saratoga Race Track

Main entrance to Saratoga Race Track Photo by Randal Perry

Jockey Club Exterior

Jockey Club Exterior Photo by Randal Perry

Jockey Club Interior Photo by Randal Perry

Jockey Club Interior Photo by Randal Perry

It is hard to describe how an organization like the Saratoga Associates has effected our daily lives. Planning is a hard thing to point out as you walk along broadway. There are so many people who have had a hand in the final changes once they began, but there had to be an original thinker that could create and explain a vision so those that followed could move forward. Saratoga Associates are not working in the city very much these days, so it is hard to think of them as a mover ad shaker in town. But it was their minds that got things started.

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