Amsterdam’s South Side cooks again

City officials are inviting the public to a ceremony this evening to celebrate completion of a $970,

Lunch is back on the menu at the South Side Coffee Shop, one of several operations that saw business slow or come to a halt for major reconstruction.

The South Side eatery canceled lunch over the past two months but was able to stay open for breakfast while crews built new sidewalks and cleared a new parking area as part of a $970,000 project.

City officials are inviting the public to a ceremony this evening to celebrate the work’s completion. City officials are gathering on the South Side for a 6 p.m. ribbon cutting. The event will be followed by “Cupcakes at the Castle,” a tour of the Amsterdam Castle Bed & Breakfast housed in the former armory building with cupcakes from Dolci.

“Things have already picked up since the end of construction,” said Paul Parillo, owner of the Bridge Street diner that’s now serving lunch Wednesdays through Fridays.

The Bridge Street area now features antique-style lighting, new sidewalks and landscaping, a sight that’s bringing smiles to the South Side, Parillo said. “The feedback has all been positive, it really does look nice.”

When Lisa Vertucci opened her gourmet bakery Dolci on Bridge Street last year, there was no sidewalk on her side of the street nor place for customers to park.

A vacation, flooding and construction kept the bakery closed for five weeks, but Vertucci said she’s happy to welcome guests to the neighborhood that now has “an old world feel.”

“It has definitely increased business, it looks absolutely gorgeous,” Vertucci said.

Mayor Ann Thane said the project was completed with the support of grant money from the state departments of State and Transportation and $125,000 from the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency.

The project has been in the works in terms of planning for about 10 years now, Thane said. “I’m just proud to have brought this project to finality after a decade of delays.”

Work continues on the South Side, with demolition of the former Chalmers Knitting Mill complex ongoing. That work itself is helping to bring more business such as that from workers at the demolition project Vertucci said have become “like family to all of us.”

It’s been decades since the South Side neighborhood had new sidewalks, The ones that were there either wore away or were removed over the years due to plumbing work, Amsterdam Fifth Ward Alderman Richard Leggiero said.

Some residents have complained the utility lines should have been buried to make the street even more pleasant, “others say it looks good,” Leggiero said. The scene will look even better once demolition of the Chalmers facility is complete, he said.

Categories: Business, Schenectady County

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