Schenectady County

Work progressing at Jay Street fire site

Work on Jay Street across from Schenectady City Hall will be done in two weeks after a fatal fire on
Work on sidewalk continues on Jay St. near the Thursday Farmers Market.
Work on sidewalk continues on Jay St. near the Thursday Farmers Market.

Work on Jay Street across from Schenectady City Hall will be done in two weeks after a fatal fire on March 6 damaged the sidewalk and utilities.

When 100-102 and 104 Jay St. were demolished after a massive fire, the sidewalk, streetlights and underground utilities were also destroyed. National Grid just finished its work and the city started repairs on Thursday.

“Our crews are putting in a new curb, pouring sidewalk and installing two new light pole foundations, which were all ruined when the buildings fell,” said City Engineer Chris Wallin.

Wallin said the city would also put parking kiosks back up on Jay Street and remove the big green fence that is blocking the now vacant property.

The fence, which Wallin said city employees have been calling “the green monster,” will remain in back of the property to prevent people from cutting through the site.

City crews also plan to pave a portion of Jay Street directly across from City Hall. Wallin said he expects all of the work to be done by the start of June.

National Grid finished its repairs on Wednesday after working on the scene since April 30.

National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella said the buildings came down where all of the underground utilities are located underneath the sidewalk.

“When the buildings collapsed and the duct bank was collapsed we had to replace all of that,” Stella said. “We installed a new duct 100 feet under the sidewalk and a new electric cable.”

Stella said the newly installed network did not affect power in the city. City Hall temporarily lost cable and Internet service after the fire in March, but it was restored soon after.

“The network systems in cities are built to be looped in from several sources to try and avoid outages,” Stella said. “During this time the backup feed was missing, so everybody had electricity. If we had a problem on the main feed it would have been an issue.”

Wallin said the Schenectady County Farmers’ Market on Thursdays and the Schenectady Greenmarket on Sundays — both around City Hall — will be able to operate as usual around the work site.

When work is finished, the markets would be able to use that portion of sidewalk on Jay Street again, Wallin said.

Neighboring 108 Jay St. and 96 Jay St. were also damaged from the fire and demolition. Businesses in those buildings have been closed since the fire.

Ashok Mirpuri, owner of the two buildings, said work is moving slowly to repair them.

Both buildings sustained heavy water damage during the fire and roof damage from the demolition. Mirpuri is waiting for an estimate from his insurance company to determine the cost for repairs.

“The basement of Bel Cibo has been cleared out and the mold removed,” Mirpuri said. “But the businesses cannot go in there.”

It is unclear when the Executive Lounge, at 108 Jay St., and Bel Cibo, at 96 Jay St., would be up and running again.

Mirpuri said the owner of Persian Bite, also located in 96 Jay St. on the corner, is considering relocating to another location.

“I hope the city fixes my sidewalk too, he said. “It was damaged from the demolition. There is still a lot of work to do.”

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