Local officials and business owners held a ribbon-cutting Thursday for the completion of the $1.5 million Nott Street Safety Improvement Project.
The street and plaza safety project was originally expected to be completed at the end of September, but was finished over one month early.
“This was many years in the making, but somehow ahead of schedule all at the same time,” Schenectady County Legislator Michelle Ostrelich said. “And we’re very excited because this is the heart of Niskayuna, and it has just gotten a wonderful facelift. But more importantly it’s much safer than before.”
The project created wider sidewalks around the plaza, removal of steps in the sidewalk close to the buildings, angled parking spaces, a raised curb to separate parked cars at the plaza from traffic, a traffic pattern with a one-way entrance and exit, an additional crosswalk with enhanced visibility features and relocation of the bus stop.
“Before this renovation it was almost frightening to walk over here to shop,” Ostrelich said. “There were no reliable sidewalks, a very small sidewalk over here up against the building that had steps to it.”
The space previously was difficult for people with strollers or people with mobility issues to navigate, Ostrelich said. She said that with the previous layout the traffic was unsafe and the improvements were done with businesses and local residents in mind.
“This development here is not only going to make our roadways safer for pedestrians and drivers, it is also a beautiful face lift,” Niskayuna Supervisor Jamie Puccioni said.
The construction of the project was well-organized, safe and had only small delays to traffic, Puccioni said.
A number of business owners attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and spoke of the improvements made.
“The exterior of our plaza is a safer, and more aesthetically pleasing design that will serve the town for years to come,” Shannon Risley, general manager of the Niskayuna Co-op, said. “At the co-op we were eager for the project to get underway knowing that we would face some obstacles and road-blocks — no pun intended.
“The end result of this project far exceeded our expectation,” Risley said. “I envision this revitalization of the exterior will be a place where people can get together. I am excited to see future Niska-Day celebrations, community drives and everyday life happening in our plaza, a pillar of the Niskayuna community.”
The construction workers on the project went above and beyond, Risley said. She said they greeted customers with a smile and on multiple occasions hand-delivered groceries to customers vehicles during construction.
Business owners and town and county officials were able to work together on this project to make it extremely successful, said Ann Gallo, owner of Niskayuna Specialty Wines and Liquors.
“This project has been a long time coming,” Gallo said. “There might have been a little resistance at the beginning from the business owners, and concerns, but the wonderful thing is that the town of Niskayuna, our county legislators, they heard our concerns, they listened to our concerns, they actually incorporated many of our suggestions into this project.”
Construction on the project, located near the intersection of Nott Street and Balltown Road, began in March 2022.
Schenectady County was awarded a federal grant from the Highway Safety Improvement Program for the design and construction of the safety improvements in 2016. Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority pledged matching funds of $250,000 for the project.