Don't Mall Ingersoll
Dear Supervisor Luke Smith and Council Members, Niskayuna Town Board We, the undersigned, being Niskayuna residents and/or nearby neighbors and concerned area citizens, do hereby request: That you vote to reject the special use permit for the 12.5 acres of land on State Street and Balltown Road, where a brick mansion serves as home to about 20 to 25 people, and is called the Ingersoll Residence. This special use permit would change the present permitted conditions of the adult home, and allow construction of a shopping area, or mall, with as many as seven stores. The 1816 mansion with its additions, has, since the 1920's, served as home to indigent men over fifty, under the will of George Ingersoll. Recently, woman were also allowed to enjoy this elegant setting of a beautiful building upon a graceful hill, surrounded with lawns and groves of trees. The loss of this historic mansion and its equally significant and ancient lands, should never be determined to be justified for the mere increase in commercial stores with an average life span of 20 or so years. Your vote to deny the Special Use Permit is a legal right, granted to you as a town, to afford such protection to a community's environment, priceless cultural and scenic resources, and treasures. Developers' rights should not override community rights in this special circumstance. The historical value is well founded by two duly constituted Town Committees in 1975 and 1985, where groups of leading town citizens, after extensive research and visits to Ingersoll/Stanford, selected this site for town officials and residents to notice and protect. It was accepted as eligible by the State then, and again in 2006, it was established as eligible for both state and national listing, by New York's Historic Preservation offices. Over the time of nine decades, the not-for-profit Ingersoll was tax exempt, an ongoing contribution from surrounding citizens to the charitable services that were provided for years within this elegant home. It is not right for the community which contributed so long to make possible this charitable operation, to now suffer this terrible loss of history and beauty, of pleasurable environment and healthy surroundings, to benefit a few developers far out of proportion to eighty years of community investment. This was the home of the 19th century New York State Senator Charles Stanford, a key participant and main supplier of manufactured goods in the international enterprises of the Stanford Brothers businesses in California, Peru, Australia, and New Zealand. This place is the remaining existing residence in the Capital District of the parents of Charles and Leland, and their brothers. California Governor Leland Stanford, who founded Stanford University with his wife Jane, visited this patriarchal mansion during trips East to confer with his family. Charles was also an active Schenectady businessman, and started local newspapers. We note that approvals for Ingersoll Trustees to construct a new adult home and memory impaired facility on Consaul Road could cause this older facility on Balltown Road and State Street to be sold and dismembered. We urge officials and citizens to work with the Trustees of Ingersoll to seek other solutions to their desire to move from this special setting. This is certainly not the only way to solve their changing needs. Preservation of this unique resource should be a paramount factor in any decision.