AMSTERDAM — The city wants to add decorative lighting to the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge over the Mohawk River.
The city this week placed advertisements seeking bids from companies interested in putting decorative LED lighting along the sides of the bridge and on the historic tunnel just east of the bridge that channels the Chuctanunda Creek into the river.
In addition, the lettering "Amsterdam" on the sides of the bridge would be illuminated from dusk to dawn each night, according to the bid request.
The $16.5 million pedestrian span that was championed for years by city native U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko opened in late 2016. It links the city's south side with Riverlink Park on the north side of the river.
Primarily because of its cost, the bridge was controversial during its design and construction, and the City Council balked at providing funding for decorative elements. The state then awarded additional grant money for decorative features that were cut from the original budget, including the lights.
Now, however, city officials said they are pleased with the amount of daily use the bridge receives.
"We really want to give the bridge some nice accent," said Rob Spagnola, city of Amsterdam recreation director, who is overseeing the lighting project.
Spagnola wouldn't estimate the cost of the LEDs but said the money will come from what remains of $635,000 in state grant money the city received for aesthetic and decorative enhancements to the bridge. The money is from two separate grants from the state Department of Transportation and the Department of State.
Some of that money has already gone to amenities like parking on the south side of the bridge, a tool shed and equipment, some artistic elements — including sculptures — and kiosks with information about local businesses and destinations.
The bridge already has ovehead lighting that allows it to be used in the evening.
With proposals due back to the city Recreation Department by March 28, Spagnola said he hopes to see the decorative lighting in place by summer.
Spagnola said the bridge — intended to attract people to the city or bring them downtown — has succeeded beyond expectations.
"If you're there on a daily basis, you see people walking, biking and jogging, and thousands have come to special events we've had there," Spagnola said.
Specifications on the lighting project are available at the City Clerk's office during regular business hours. Written proposals are to be submitted to City Hall — to Spagnola's attention — by 10 a.m. on March 28.