Saratoga County

Mechanicville shelves plans for walkway

The city has shelved plans for a proposed pedestrian walkway in the face of criticism from Park A

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The city has shelved plans for a proposed pedestrian walkway in the face of criticism from Park Avenue businesses and will instead use the money to improve a wall along Route 67.

County Supervisor Tom Richardson said that business owners on Park Avenue and in the neighboring plaza were concerned about access to their stores for both customers and deliveries.

“I’m not interested in doing a project where everybody’s not on board,” Richardson said. “We’re doing these projects to help the city of Mechanicville.”

The walkway plan would have permanently closed off traffic to a 400-foot section of the street and would have added benches and a fountain.

Instead, Richardson said, the city will move forward with a plan to improve a 100-foot wall and shoulder along Route 67 near DiSiena Furniture at the northern part of the city.

The city hopes to begin work on the project this spring and finish by midsummer. The plan would improve the deteriorating concrete wall between the side of the road and a creek. The city also wants to add Victorian-style lights to the wall.

Officials are also considering adding a sidewalk beside the wall and a welcome sign on the side of the road.

“We have to address the entire area, not just the wall,” Richardson said. “It’s a rather large project.”

Mechanicville plans to use the $100,000 that Richardson got last year through state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, to help pay for the project. The city had planned to spend the money on the pedestrian walkway.

Bruno’s office earmarked that money for economic development and authorized the city to use it for the wall improvement project, according to Richardson.

The total project cost is $235,000, and Richardson said the city is still looking into ways to fund the rest of the project.

“I’m pretty excited about it,” said Public Works Commissioner Jack Messore, who is also on the city’s revitalization committee. “It’s going to form a person’s first impression of the city.”

Richardson said the road will soon be important because it will be the gateway from the city to Malta and the Luther Forest Technology Campus, where AMD may build a $3.2 billion computer chip factory.

“You’re going to have a lot of people floating around the area who are going to be working in the tech park. They’re going to be moving this way,” he said. “This is all part of our plans to dress up the city so that people will come this way.”

If the city breaks ground on the wall improvement plan, it will be the first major project by Richardson’s revitalization committee to begin construction. The committe was formed in 2006.

“I’m pretty sure it’s going to go through,” Messore said. “I was on the last committee before Tom was involved and we had a different leader, but we didn’t get anything done.”

The city spent about $83,000 of a $100,000 grant from the county Board of Supervisors last year on engineering and grant writing for a number of possible revitalization projects.

Messore said that he didn’t expect traffic would be disrupted for more than a day or two on Route 67 if the project begins as planned in spring.

“Nobody wants to drive into a place that doesn’t look so hot,” Richardson said. “If it looks nice, they take the time to stop and look around.”

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