An effort to get sidewalks for Glenville’s town center area may go more smoothly now as officials are attempting to form a district to build them. Businesses in the district would be assessed for the cost of the sidewalks.
The town has had a long-sought goal of putting in sidewalks in the area of Glenridge Road and Route 50. As businesses renovated or were built in that area, sidewalks were included as part of the development plan. Key Bank put in sidewalks when they built their new branch in 2011 and McDonald’s has just finished installing theirs.
Sidewalks are also going in with the new Target store under construction. However, the town ran into a snag when the First National Bank of Scotia did not want to sign off on construction of sidewalks across their property because of concerns about liability and maintenance.
Now, the town will shift gears from a piecemeal approach to a more organized effort, according to Supervisor Chris Koetzle. The town is soliciting businesses to sign onto a petition creating the district.
“The maintenance and construction costs will be in the district and that will be an assessment on the businesses. That way you get the entire district sidewalks built at the same time instead of over the years and you get consistent maintenance,” he said.
Another benefit, according to Koetzle, is the town would assume the liability — not the individual businesses.
The district would stretch from across the new Target to Glenville Community Church on the west side of Route 50 and from Bank of America to the Price Chopper on the east side of Route 50, according to a map provided by the town. It would also include the Schenectady County Airport and the Patriot Square property off Lincoln and Wilson drives.
“We basically took what was defined as the town center in the master plan and overlayed it,” Koetzle said.
At least 51 percent of the businesses in the proposed district would have to sign on in order for the sidewalk district to be created, he said.
He said the town has not gotten the rough numbers on the cost to complete the project. It is still compiling information about the assessed value of all the property in the district to determine how much each property would contribute and how much has already been built.
Koetzle said he hopes to have the process completed by late June or early July and have the sidewalks constructed this summer. He also plans to seek some Metroplex funding. He believes it will be a major improvement for Glenville.
“It’s going to clearly beautify our town center. It’s going to define our town center,” he said. “It’s going to be a welcoming place for people to come. There will be consistent lighting, better lighting.”
First National Bank of Scotia President John Buhrmaster said the bank supports the project because it would benefit all merchants instead of just a few. He praised the administration for working on a solution to this issue.
“I think having a district is a right way to get sidewalks in the area,” he said. “If you’re interested in having a walkable town center, this is the most practical approach. It’s not a partial solution; it’s a whole solution.”