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What you need to know for 09/22/2017

Cuomo signs parkland alienation bills for 2 Schenectady projects

Cuomo signs parkland alienation bills for 2 Schenectady projects

Deals with Riverside, Quackenbush parks
Cuomo signs parkland alienation bills for 2 Schenectady projects
The Stockade pump house at the end of North Street.
Photographer: MARC SCHULTZ

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law two bills that will set aside plots of parkland in Schenectady for two separate projects.

One bill alienates land in Riverside Park in the Stockade, which will be used to create a new pump station. The other focuses on Quackenbush Park in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood, where a new Boys and Girls Club will be built. The governor signed legislation Tuesday night approving both measures.

The pump station has been a source of debate between residents and city officials, after dozens of Stockade residents and the Stockade Association voiced opposition to building a new structure. The council in 2014 approved construction of a new pump station at the site of the current one along North Ferry Street. The facility sustained damage in Hurricane Irene in 2011, and is not flood-proof, city officials said.

Residents expressed concerns that a new station would block views of the river and disrupt the nature of Riverside Park, and questioned if a new one was necessary. As a result, the project developer is working on a design that would minimize the footprint of a new structure.

The City Council passed home-rule legislation calling for 0.5 acres of parkland to be set aside for the project. The council then approved a separate resolution stating that, without a public hearing, the council would not approve a contract or design for a new station whose footprint extended more than 30 feet to the west of the existing building, and pledging any unused alienated land would be returned as parkland.

Residents and city leaders said afterward the compromise isn’t perfect, but were hopeful there would be more public input moving forward.

The parkland alienation associated with the Boys and Girls Club proved far less controversial at the city level. The approved bill will set aside 1.35 acres in Quackenbush Park. That land is to be used for the site of a new Boys and Girls Club to serve kids in the Mont Pleasant and Hamilton Hill neighborhoods.

The new facility is still in the planning stages, but is expected to hold between 250 and 300 kids and young adults on a daily basis. The previous site at 400 Craig St. served about 100 per day.

In addition, the proposed complex would include a teen center, a technology center, a gymnasium, a theater and a safe educational setting.

The Boys and Girls Club moved out of 400 Craig St. last November after the building was slated to be renovated as part of an affordable housing project. Since then, the organization has run its programming out of Martin Luther King Elementary and the Steinmetz Career and Leadership Academy.

The pump station parkland bill was sponsored by state Sen. Jim Tedisco and state Assemblyman Phil Steck, while the Boys and Girls Club bill was sponsored by Tedisco and state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara.

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