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Schenectady preparing to implement first round of sidewalk repairs

Schenectady preparing to implement first round of sidewalk repairs

Decamp Avenue project to go out to bid shortly
Schenectady preparing to implement first round of sidewalk repairs
Bette Salisbury stands on Decamp Avenue in Schenectady. Residents on the block wants to use the city's sidewalk program.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

SCHENECTADY — How much will it cost to replace the sidewalks on Decamp Avenue, and will the pothole-ridden street be paved at the same time?

Answer: About $1,000, and yes, the road will be paved at the same time.

“We’re hoping to put that bid out in the next 10 days,” said city Engineer Chris Wallin, “and we’re looking to have that project completed this year.”

The preliminary estimate is $4,000 for the entire project, including $1,000 of sidewalk work, which will be assessed to the property owners, and $3,000 for curbing, milling and paving.

“Decamp [Avenue] is being bid as a Complete Streets project — sidewalk, curb and pavement,” Wallin said. “At the end of the day, the road should look identical to the neighboring street, Wrlght Avenue.”

Over a half-dozen Decamp Avenue residents sought clarity on the effort at a public hearing on Monday and discussed how the pothole-marred surface affects them.

Laurie Bacheldor read a letter from a resident with ALS who uses a wheelchair.

“I feel every pothole and patch and get tossed around in my wheelchair,” read the letter.

Homeowners on Decamp Avenue, which is located near Central Park, are among the first to take advantage of the city’s new sidewalk replacement program in which neighborhoods can form special assessment districts to repair sidewalks if 75 percent of homeowners on each block approve.

Residents obtained approval from 81 percent of property owners on the street.

The city will oversee replacement of the sidewalks and front the cost of repairs. Residents can then repay the cost of the improvements in full, or through payments that will be added to their tax bills over a designated pay period.

The city assessor’s office will use a formula to calculate the cost for each property owner, and numbers are subject to fluctuate depending on the interest rates and the payback period.

Wallin said homeowners on Decamp Avenue will not be charged for curbing or asphalt. He said he will take special care in assembling in an itemized list. 

“I want to make sure those numbers are extremely tight,” he said. 

Homeowners on Ardsley Road also submitted petitions for the program. But unlike on Decamp Avenue, the sidewalk is separated from the street by a strip of grass, which means the sidewalk can be replaced without impact to the pavement. 

Council members agreed to include $1 million in this year’s capital budget for the pilot program, with the money spent as neighborhood groups petition the city.

Wallin encouraged residents citywide to take advantage of the program.

While he initially set a deadline of May 1 in order to facilitate construction during the summer, residents can collect signatures all year and submit them anytime.

“We are always going to accept your petitions for consideration,” he said, “but the work may not may happen this year.”

David Tobey said he was supportive of the program.

“For me, it’s worth it to have sidewalk from one end of the sidewalk to another,” he said “I think the property value will increase.”

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