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Winds of change

Officials forecast bright future for Route 30 corridor

February 25, 2008
By RICHARD NILSEN, The Leader-Herald
AMSTERDAM — When developers of the Walgreens Drug Store on Route 30 announced plans for two additional buildings on their site, it was part of a growth trend along the corridor.

A new Target store is under construction at the site of the former K-Mart, and a widening of the highway with an addition of a center turn lane is planned.

Amsterdam Supervisor Tom DiMezza said the “end product of the project will be beautiful,” but he advised patience while the it develops.

“It’s a busy highway,” DiMezza said. “We need to give the state time to complete their work.”

Besides projects that are currently underway, several business projects are under consideration.

DiMezza said Wal-Mart had approval from the town to expand to a super center, but the company had yet to decide if it would make use of the town approval for expansion.

Also, a 70,000 square foot building at the Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse is under construction, but a tenant is “yet to be determined,” DiMezza said.

“It’ll probably be a ‘big-box store of some type,’” he said.

DiMezza said he expected the Walgreens Drug Store across from Amsterdam Memorial Hospital to be up and running in April, while the Target retail store has a possible October opening date.

Walgreens will have a drive-through pharmaceutical pick-up and officials expect to have 25 employees, according to Carol Hively of Walgreens Corporate public relations.

Amsterdam Town Engineer Gary Kerzic said the original plan was for Walgreens and one other large structure. He said the plans were changed to include a second building that would contain a bank.

The State Employees Federal Credit Union branch may move to the site. A SEFCU representative had no further information available at this time except to say the company is in negotiations to build at the new location.

Kerzic said the proposed building is on the site of the Hurricana Farms — part of a historic district. The town owns a barn on the land and Kerzic said the structure needs to fit in with the look of the structure. The Town Planning Board needs to ensure that the building fits within the confines of the historic district, Kerzic said.

Plans at the Walgreens site also call for a additional 8,500 square foot building with the capacity to hold three stores. Negotiations are under way for possible companies to fill the center.

A public hearing on the Walgreens development is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. March 5, during the Town Planning Board meeting. Kerzic said he expects the board to approve the plan. If approved, the proposal will then move onto the town board for final approval.

Montgomery County Economic Development and Planning Director Ken Rose said another item that may hit the planning board agenda March 5 is an expansion at Power Pallet Inc. at 4715 Route 30.

“It’s not really an expansion of their footprint, but they want to add some machinery and new employees.”

Rose said Power Pallet planned to add 50 new employees with its expansion project and needed to get town approval to access a low-interest loan “to leverage [its] investment.”

Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce President Deborah Auspelmeyer said it is “wonderful to see new businesses coming into the area.” She said it is not only good for Amsterdam, but also good for the entire county to have new opportunities opening up. She said it also will create jobs for the area, “which is always a good thing.”

“Business expansion and growth along the Route 30 corridor and in Montgomery County is a wonderful opportunity for the residents and visitors of our area,” Auspelmeyer said. “The diversity of choice is exciting and contributes to our economic development.”

Auspelmeyer said the chamber also needs to remain cognizant of small businesses that have been in the area for decades that have been supportive of the community through the years.

One of those small businesses affected by the expansion of the area was Chizek’s Hobby Shop. In spite of having to move his business, Ron Chizek of Chizek’s Hobby Shop at 4768 Route 30 said he didn’t see the coming renovations to the roadway as a bad thing.

It was all in the timing.

“I’m not upset about it,” Chizek said last summer. “It was actually opportune timing.”

After more than two years of planning and town meetings, the New York State Department of Transportation will begin proposed work on Route 30 from Voorhees Road near H&M Equipment south to the city this spring, DiMezza said.

“Unfortunately, there will be some inconvenience for some time,” he said.

DiMezza said he expects the work to continue on Route 30 for about a year. Sidewalks will run over covered culverts where there are open ditches and connect to the city sidewalks on Market Street hill.

State Department of Transportation spokesman Brian Hoffmann said the price tag for the Route 30 project is about $6.4 million, with the county paying the $900,000 for the Log City Road realignment.

“We try our best, but you can’t make everybody happy,” Hoffman said.

“I’m the only business that will have to move,” Chizek said. “I’ve seen a lot of accidents at this intersection, especially where cars pass on the right when people are making a left turn onto Maple Avenue. Overall, it’s a good thing.”

Dave Tokarowski of Down to Earth Natural Foods, located just north of the intersection of Log City Road, agreed with Chizek and said the change was needed.

“Most of the people on Log City Road will welcome the [traffic] light,” he said. “It’s always been hard to pull out of Log City onto 30A, especially heading north.”

Tokarowski said the interchange from Maple Avenue Extension to Log City Road across Route 30 will be angled with a light and cul de sac so his business will no longer be accessed from Log City Road, but from Route 30.

“About a quarter-mile of Log City residents to the east will have to back-track to come up to Route 30, but they don’t mind,” he said.

Hoffman said the new Log City Road will cross between the former 84 Lumber Co. site and Chizek’s.

“The existing intersection of Route 30 and Log City Road will be severed,” Hoffman said. “There will be a dead-end street with a cul de sac and the new Log City Road, for want of a better term, will realign with Maple Avenue Extension.”

Hoffman said he expects the project to start in the spring time and be “cleaned up for finish work” in spring 2009.

Robert Montenaro Jr,. of Frank’s Auto, said his building at 4789 Route 30 was within five feet of the curb and he was given some options by the state DOT. He is south of Chizek’s on the east side of the highway.

“We decided to tear the building down,” Montenaro said Friday. “The property constraints won’t allow us to just modify the building.”

He agreed there was a problem with all the traffic on Route 30.

“We’ve seen cars in ditches,” he said. “It’s a good thing, but traffic trying to turn off to businesses across two more lanes of traffic will be difficult, also.”

Chizek said his property was taken by eminent domain, but he felt he was offered a fair market price. He said he had the business for more than 20 years, starting first as a Magnavox TV sales and repair center in the 1970s, and changing to a hobby shop as the TV repair business died.

The business was sold to Mike Castelluccio of Fultonville where it reopened as Master Hobbies at 3276 Route 30A Aug. 6.

July 14 was the last day at the Route 30 location for Chizek’s. He and his wife, Donna, said they took three weeks for inventory and closing things down, and then assisted the new owner in starting at the Fultonville location for a smooth transition.

“After that, we will do some traveling,” Chizek said.

Richard Nilsen is a general assignment reporter and can be reached at'>'>'>

Article Photos

Construction personnel work at the Walgreens site on Route 30 in Amsterdam Wednesday. Amsterdam Memorial Hospital is seen in the background across Route 30.



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