SCHENECTADY — The city has received $3 million in grant funding from the state for the construction of what is now a $12 million pump station reconstruction project on North Ferry Street.
The grant was announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office Thursday. It is part of $41.5 million in funds awarded to municipal water infrastructure projects across the Capital Region.
“Investing in our state’s water infrastructure is critical to regional growth and prosperity and maintaining safe, healthy communities,” Cuomo said in a prepared statement. “By improving our water infrastructure, we are protecting our natural resources, laying the groundwork for future prosperity and helping to create a stronger, healthier New York for all.”
City Commissioner of General Services Paul LaFond said the grant will reduce the amount of money the city and its taxpayers need to put toward the project, especially since the cost of the work, originally estimated at $7.5 million, has ballooned to $12 million.
LaFond said the new costs are a result of the city trying to fit the new pump station within 30 feet of the current pump station. That has forced design changes and some delays, including for a second-phase archaeological study that was completed earlier this year. That study was done after an initial study found there could be remains of a house from the early 1800s on the site, which is located in the Stockade neighborhood.
The second study revealed there were no significant findings that would have to be placed on the U.S. National Park Service’s Register of Historic Places.
“The grant is much appreciated,” LaFond said on Thursday. “It’ll be put to good use.”
The project is meant to replace a pump station that was damaged during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. While that station handles nearly 70 percent of the city’s sewage, it is still not flood-proof.
The new pump station would have to meet requirements of a consent order issued by the state Department of Conservation, which calls for elevating critical equipment above ground floor.
Some of the building will extend into nearby Riverside Park, but that portion would be built underground.
LaFond said the design calls for the new pump station to be L-shaped, so it can fit next to the current pump station, which was built in 1913.
The design of the new station, which is being done by CHA Design Constructive Solutions, has not been finalized, LaFond said.
The hope, though, is to have it complete by the end of the year, so the city can put the project out to bid by the beginning of 2019.
The City Council approved a $16 million bond for the project in August. That was done to prove to any funding organizations that the city was planning to move forward with the project.
Mayor Gary McCarthy previously said the city is not planning to bond for that amount of money and is instead funding it through other sources, including $5 million in no-interest financing being sought through the state Environmental Facilities Corp. The city also is going after another grant through the DEC that would cover up to 25 percent of the remaining cost of the project.
The city currently has approximately $3 million through the governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, which is funded by the federal government. It also has set aside $3 million for capital projects, including the pump station.
McCarthy had said if the city needs any other money for the project, it could be obtained through the $16 million bond.
LaFond said the city will continue to look for other funding resources for the project.
“We will pursue all grant opportunities we can to reduce the taxpayers’ burden,” LaFond said.
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