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What you need to know for 10/19/2017

County considers $6.6 million in Metroplex borrowing

County considers $6.6 million in Metroplex borrowing

Funds would pay for several projects in Schenectady, elsewhere
County considers $6.6 million in Metroplex borrowing
Galesi Group employee Dillan Madelone works on the unused space next to the state Consolidated Contact Center.
Photographer: MARC SCHULTZ

The Schenectady County Legislature is moving toward approval of $6.6 million in additional borrowing by its Metroplex Development Authority.

The borrowing — through bond anticipation notes — would pay for a variety of projects, including conversion of the former Macy's at the ViaPort Rotterdam mall into office space and construction of the 1.3-mile Alco Heritage Trail, a new section of the Mohawk Hudson bike path.

The borrowing was approved Monday by the Legislature's Economic Development and Ways and Means committees, clearing the way for a vote by the full Legislature on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

Metroplex put up $970,000 toward the $8.5 million cost of the renovation project at ViaPort, which has allowed hundreds of state Tax and Finance Department employees to move into part of the former Macy's space, which the retailer closed in 2015.

Other Schenectady projects to be funded by the new borrowing include streetscape improvements on lower State Street on the edge of the Stockade neighborhood, reconstruction of the Gateway Plaza park on lower State Street, parking expansions, work on the Foster building renovation downtown and renovation of the former Annie Schaffer Apartments into market-rate apartments. There is also a sewer line extension in Duanesburg on the list.

Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen said such projects attract new businesses and investment to the county.

"It's a competitive environment out there. We have to go out and compete, and we have to invest in ourselves," Gillen said.

The Alco Heritage Trail, which will run from the Stockade through the Mohawk Harbor development to Maxon Road Extension, should be finished by the end of the year, Gillen told the Legislature.

A series of signs that tell the story of Alco will be placed along the trail by next spring. The Mohawk Harbor site was formerly the home of the American Locomotive Co. — later Alco — which built the largest steam locomotives of the early 20th century and also built Sherman tanks during World War II. The company ceased operation in 1969, having produced nearly 90,000 steam and diesel locomotives.

The massive Alco complex sat abandoned along Erie Boulevard for decades, until work started on Mohawk Harbor in 2014. The $480 million commercial-residential development is now the site of the Rivers Casino & Resort.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, swilliams@dailygazette.net or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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