Agency steps in to aid Riverlink Park project

Expansion at Amsterdam’s Riverlink Park — stalled earlier this month for lack of funding — will go o

Expansion at Amsterdam’s Riverlink Park — stalled earlier this month for lack of funding — will go on as planned following action by the city’s Urban Renewal Agency.

The park alongside the Mohawk River is accessible to pedestrians via a footbridge that crosses a Route 5 connector and the CSX railway, but construction work to expand it to include additional playground equipment and landscaping has to cross the tracks.

CSX sought $60,000 to pay for an employee to coordinate safety at the crossing but agreed to accept $30,000 and bill for the remainder if it costs more, City Engineer Richard Miller said Thursday.

The park’s expansion is considered an important element of the city’s development of waterfront recreation locations. The second phase, to be completed this construction season, will dovetail with the $17 million pedestrian bridge project.

“All is going to tie together,” Miller said.

Pressured by a major budget deficit, the city’s Common Council early this month rejected a measure to loan the project $100,000, leaving the work — and grant funding to support it — in question.

But on Wednesday, the Amsterdam Urban Renewal Agency agreed to front the $30,000 out of its revolving loan fund, Mayor Ann Thane said.

“So it’s a ‘go’ in a timely fashion. It’s wonderful,” Thane said.

The city won’t be on the hook for the money because the project is being funded by grants, but the grant money isn’t paid first — the city has to spend the money and then get reimbursed.

The city is in line for a $350,000 grant from the state Dormitory Authority and another $350,000 from the state Department of State to get the second phase completed.

Miller said the lack of funding could have scrapped the project altogether.

“We would have lost the funding,” he said. The city already contracted with CFI Contracting for the work to begin this season, and officials were concerned that halting the project may have led to legal action.

Categories: Schenectady County

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