Amsterdam bridge draws new business proposal

An overview of the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook Pedestrian Bridge in Amsterdam Aug. 31.  (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)

An overview of the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook Pedestrian Bridge in Amsterdam Aug. 31. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)

AMSTERDAM — The Mohawk Valley Gateway pedestrian bridge has helped to attract its first new business development.

The Montgomery County Planning Board Thursday approved a site plan and special use permit for a cafe and restaurant project proposed by Rick Insogna and Rob Zyzes.

The project would be built at 2 River St. and include a 50- by 40-foot building with a 36- by 24-foot open patio and a 75- by 45-foot paved parking lot. The business is directly aimed at potential foot traffic coming off the $17.5 million pedestrian bridge.

Montgomery County Senior Planner Amanda Bearcroft said the bridge, which opened Aug. 31, has spurred business investment among existing businesses near to it, but Insogna and Zyzes’ proposal is the first entirely new construction.

“They would be the first new business there,” Bearcroft said.

Insogna said his family owns the land where the cafe would be built, at a cost of approximately $100,000. He said his plan is to build the structure and then rent it to a tenant restaurant.

“This will be basically be a light fare type cafe that will draw people to the area and folks using the bridge or the bike path can come by and have a snack,” Insogna said. “In my opinion this is what the goal of the bridge was, to introduce private investment to the area to create jobs to create buzz to create excitement. This is going to bring people down to the bridge. People right on the bridge, using the bike path, will likely stop by and get some light fair.”

Zyzes said the aesthetic qualities of the bridge, which include scenic overlooks and local artwork, was a key part of the decision to make the investment.

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