New docks for last major step for Riverlink Park rehab

Amsterdam could have its waterfront park put back together in time for the warm weather, depending o

Amsterdam could have its waterfront park put back together in time for the warm weather, depending on progress building new docks that were trashed by last year’s tropical storms.

The city’s Common Council held a special meeting Tuesday afternoon and approved issuing a request for proposals to rebuild the docks that welcomed boaters — up until flooding from tropical storms Irene and Lee tore them up. The flooded Mohawk River destroyed a utility shed, swept away five antique-style light posts, sent 3 feet of water into the park’s cafe building and littered the grounds with debris.

The damage took place just weeks after the city completed an expansion at the park that included the Painted Rocks sculpture — one of the few additions that didn’t sustain damage in the floods.

By the time the water receded, it was evident that the docks didn’t survive, city Recreation Director Robert Spagnola said.

“The old docks are of no use to us,” he said.

It’s unclear yet precisely how much it will cost to replace the 240-foot stretch of docks, and officials intend to issue a formal request for proposals to get bids. But the city’s insurer has issued two payments of $25,000 toward rebuilding and is expected to pay the entire cost except for a $250 deductible.

The city called a special meeting for the work because it could take two to three months to get a new set of docks built and installed — any delay could limit the park’s usefulness for boaters once they start traversing the Erie Canal.

Mayor Ann Thane said the docks are important to provide boaters with a reason to stop in Amsterdam as they travel through the canal each navigation season. Boat and yacht owners provide a big boost to the privately run cafe, and she said getting the docks fixed is a “proactive” move.

“It’s the front door to the city on the river,” Thane said.

Fifth Ward Alderman Richard Leggiero questioned whether the number of dock sections could be reduced to lessen the cost, but the idea didn’t garner any support because officials project replacing the whole thing will cost only $250, which represents the insurance deductible.

Spagnola said the cafe building was gutted successfully and repairs to the park, not including the docks, are 90 percent complete.

Categories: Schenectady County

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