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What you need to know for 01/22/2017

Focus: Friendlier Amsterdam riverfront

Focus: Friendlier Amsterdam riverfront

The North Chuctanunda Creek flows beneath buildings and alongside factories as it winds its way thro

The North Chuctanunda Creek flows beneath buildings and alongside factories as it winds its way through Amsterdam before meeting the Mohawk River from a concrete outlet.

The goal to bring natural beauty — and visitors — to the city’s unused riverfront will be the focus of a meeting next week on creating a scenic Amsterdam River Walk.

The city scheduled a Nov. 13 meeting on a feasibility study focusing on a 2.5-mile stretch of land on the north side of the river between Riverlink Park and Guy Park Manor.

Picnic areas, interpretive signs highlighting natural and local history, and access for kayaks and canoes are among ideas being considered in the effort to create more waterfront access.

The river is one of several natural features the city of Amsterdam can take advantage of, said Robert von Hasseln, the city’s community and economic development director.

“We’re the only city in the lower Mohawk that sits on both sides of the river,” said von Hasseln, who also serves as the city’s historian.

Von Hasseln said a $40,000 planning study is already under way, and next week’s meeting will introduce residents to several ideas and challenges while drawing their thoughts.

Funded by the state Department of State and the city, the $40,000 River Walk Feasibility Study is being conducted by the Barton & Loguidice planning and engineering firm.

The site being considered for a River Walk is adjacent to the northern end of the city’s proposed pedestrian bridge — the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook — for which contractors are being chosen this month.

The site is also what people will see from the now-vacant parcel where the Chalmers Knitting Mill once stood on the city’s South Side, a parcel being presented to developers.

“It’s going to tie both sides of the waterfront together,” von Hasseln said.

Von Hasseln said a River Walk there would underline the city’s unique position as an urban area just a few minutes from rural cornfields — a situation expected to serve as a draw for people looking for a place to live not far from high-tech jobs in Malta and Utica.

Other features in close proximity to the city’s downtown include the CanalWay trail bike path, Sassafras Park and, under development are plans for a trail alongside the North Chuctanunda Creek.

“What we’re looking for eventually, we’re going to have a whole waterfront system,” von Hasseln said.

Next week’s meeting will provide residents with an overview of possibilities while exploring challenges like buying land, if any of it is privately owned, estimates for construction and other topics.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, at City Hall, 61 Church St.

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