SCHENECTADY — Plans to construct a 680-foot public dock at Mohawk Harbor are moving forward following a pandemic-induced delay.
The plans date back to 2016, when the Galesi Group began seeking state funding to construct a 1,000-foot dock near Rivers Casino & Resort amid the harbor’s ongoing development. The size of the dock would later be reduced to 680 feet in 2018 in order to reduce costs.
Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority applied for the funding on behalf of Galesi Group and the city, eventually securing more than $1.5 million, including around $950,000 in 2019, needed to advance the project, according to Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen.
The design phase was expected to get underway in 2020 but was delayed due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There were some delays, but it’s moving ahead very nicely now,” Gillen said.
He added the goal is to design the dock this year and begin construction sometime in 2023 following a series of public hearings to gain additional input.
MJ Engineering of Clifton Park has been enlisted by the city to design the dock and conduct the necessary engineering studies needed for the dock to move forward at a cost of $230,000, according to project plans provided by Gillen.
The design and engineering studies will be paid for by a $155,000 state grant and $75,000 from Metroplex, which the development authority’s board approved earlier this month.
Construction of the dock itself is expected to cost just under $2 million, with $1.4 million being covered by the state. Galesi Group has also pledged $300,000 to fund the project as well, according to project plans.
Once built, the dock, which will run parallel to the river’s shore and have running water and electricity, will allow vessels greater than 40 feet to dock. It will also feature an ADA-compliant rampway that will connect to the Alco Heritage Trail that runs through the harbor.
Plans are currently being finalized to link the trail to the heart of downtown using the abandoned Alco tunnel as part of the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, a $10 million state grant awarded in 2019.
Gillen said the goal is further reconnect the city to the riverfront and bolster visitation by attracting tour boats that run up and down the river. The dock will be publicly accessible thanks to a permanent easement granted by the Galesi Group to the city.
Meanwhile, Gillen said Metroplex is working on reaching out to tour boat companies that may be interested in utilizing the dock, a process he said was progressing until the pandemic disrupted talks in early 2020.
“That’s something we’re hoping to get back,” he said.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.