The town of Cobleskill awarded contracts this week for a major sewer and water line extension that’s already creating some economic development.
Town Supervisor Thomas Murray on Wednesday said Stewart’s Shop is applying to build a new store at the intersection of state routes 145 and 7, where construction of the sewer and water service extension is expected to begin in April.
The $9 million project will bring sewer and water service from Borst Noble Road east to the town line to serve Howe Caverns and other businesses. Murray said this corridor has been eyed for development since the 1960s.
“We need to build our tax base up,” said Murray, who still laments the loss of a Lowe’s home improvement store, quashed years ago over difficulties making water available for the operation, which might have created 60 jobs.
The project is in line for $4.1 million in state funding, along with $2 million appropriated by Schoharie County. National Grid pitched in $175,000, and $150,000 was approved by the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Howe Caverns Inc., which is undergoing expansion to be served by the new infrastructure, committed $2 million initially and came through with another $1 million recently to help overcome a funding shortage, Murray said.
The tourist attraction also agreed to host a 275,000-gallon water tank on its property. The tank will assure adequate water pressure for firefighting and hold as many as six hours worth of water that can feed back into the village of Cobleskill line, which the extension is being tied into.
The Town Board on Monday awarded three contracts for the construction:
• Seaway Earth & Pipe LLC. of Hannibal was awarded the general construction contract for $7,349,000.
• Vacri Construction of Binghamton will handle electrical work for $429,123.
• Statewide Aquastore Inc. of East Syracuse will provide the water tank for $433,872.
Murray said work has to begin in April because part of the job entails a trench that will cross the main driveway to Howe Caverns. The goal is to get that work done to ensure minimal disruption to the tourist attraction.
Murray said officials and contractors will be meeting Feb. 19 to iron out early change orders and make an effort to cut down on the cost of the project.