Saratoga Springs votes to regulate, not ban, kids selling water outside racetrack

March 21, 2018 05:29 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Last fall, the City Council said it was time to end the practice of letting kids sell water near the track because there were too many disputes over territory.

"When the police department wanted to shut this down and the former commissioner, I just felt it was a bad idea," said Accounts Commissioner John Franck, who sold pencils outside the track as a kid.


Franck said banning young entrepreneurs sends the wrong message. So he worked with new Public Safety Commissioner Peter Martin on a compromise that passed unanimously Tuesday night.

The biggest difference is where kids can sell water.  The city says you won't see anyone selling on East Avenue or near the main gates on Union Avenue. Martin says it's too congested and too dangerous there.

"A lot of traffic, so a lot of pedestrians were getting kind of pushed into the road with the vendors out here."

The new law says kids can now sell water and writing utensils in the grass between the NYRA fence and the sidewalk along Frank Sullivan Place and Lincoln Avenue, which is near Siro's restaurant. It's also allowed along the sidewalk on the track side of Nelson Avenue, between Wright Street and Gridley Street.

Kids and parents need to register in advance with the city accounts department and will need proof of age and a parent's permission. The parent must agree to hold the city harmless and take responsibility for the child's vending activity. If a child is under 14, a parent will have to stay with them at all times. If a child is 14 or older, they'll need working papers.

"I think it's great that the kids want to sell water. We just want to make sure that they're safe," said Franck.

Franck says they plan to reach out to schools in the coming weeks so the new rules don't take kids by surprise.


Mark Mulholland

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