The Stockade Association, which consists of about 180 members, has voted to oppose the construction of a new pump station in Schenectady’s Riverside Park.
While the decision, made Thursday, has no immediate impact on the project, it formalizes a sentiment felt by a sizable number of residents that the city should rehab the existing station on North Ferry Street, or build a new one outside of the park. Concerned neighbors have cited the loss of parkland or the obstruction of riverside views if a new facility were built.
“I get that the city has to do something,” Stockade Association President Carol DeLaMarter. “But they ought to be a little more creative than just taking more of Riverside Park.”
The existing pump station handles about 70 percent of the city’s sewage before it is sent to the wastewater treatment plant, and has been doing so for more than 50 years. It sustained significant damage in Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
The City Council approved a replacement station in September 2014, which would include elevated gears and other critical equipment. The project would be financed partly with money from the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, and partly through city borrowing.
Project officials previously said rehabbing the existing station would be an arduous process. For example, it can’t be rebuilt, and faces certain limitations on rehab efforts because the New York State Historic Preservation Office lists it as a historic structure.
However, residents feel the city hasn’t fully explored or explained the potential to locate a new pump station outside the park, DeLaMarter said. A handful of residents raised questions at a May 2 meeting about whether the project consultant would release details on studies related to alternate locations.
“The questions that neighbors have about the due diligence regarding other options, that hasn’t been done,” DeLaMarter said. “There’s still a lot of questions.”
Moving forward, DeLaMarter said, concerned residents will continue to meet with city leaders and attempt to take them into the park to show the potential footprint of a new structure. She’s hopeful there will be an opportunity for broader public input on the project before a decision is finalized, she said.
She added that the issue stretches beyond the Stockade, as the park is utilized by other city residents and visitors.
“I would say if anybody was wondering why [residents] are opposed, they should’ve been in the park this weekend where people were taking prom photos and hanging out,” DeLaMarter said. “This is not just a Stockade Association issue, but we’re in a position to convene on this.”