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Gloversville plans bridge replacement

GLOVERSVILLE — The Common Council on Tuesday authorized borrowing for planning and design work related to an upcoming bridge replacement project and assessments of the city’s brownfields. The approved bond resolutions will allow the city to pay up front for projects that will be funded through reimbursable grants.

The resolutions approved by the Common Council authorized the city to issue a pair of bonds for up to $1.72 million for replacement of the Harrison Street bridge and up to $600,000 for surveys and assessments of identified brownfield sites within the city.

Commissioner of Finance Tammie Weiterschan noted that the city will not borrow the full amount authorized for the bridge replacement project at this time, pointing to plans for the city to complete design work this year for the new bridge that is expected to be installed in 2021.

The city in late 2018 received a $1.44 million BRIDGE NY grant award to replace the Harrison Street bridge that crosses over the Cayadutta Creek. The city was selected as a recipient of the state grant funding to replace the bridge that was previously “yellow flagged” by the state Department of Transportation due to its condition.

A yellow flag is used by DOT to report a potentially hazardous structural condition that could become a clear and present danger if left unattended before the next biennial inspection. The new bridge once installed is also expected to promote pedestrian safety through the inclusion of sidewalk lanes running along each side.

Borrowing related to the brownfield sites will allow the city to move forward with planning related to a pair of grants awarded to the city in 2019; a $225,000 Brownfield Opportunity Area Nomination Study grant through the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Environmental Restoration Program and a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The BOA Nomination Study grant will be used to inventory and identify sites for assessment, assess sites for hazardous substances, complete cleanup and reuse plans and conduct community outreach activities. The city has identified two areas for study covering approximately 197 acres along the Cayadutta Creek Corridor.

Completed plans must be submitted to the state for approval, which once secured, can open additional grant funding opportunities for projects and allows a 6 percent income tax credit to be applied to development projects within the BOA.

The EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant will allow the city to select former industrial sites on which to perform phase one and phase two environmental assessments that will provide detailed information and cost estimates necessary to plan for the redevelopment of sites where pollution is suspected.

The finalized assessments will inform remediation plans for the sites for submission to the state for approval that once secured will allow the city to apply for additional state and federal funding to implement.

The city in March awarded a $248,945 contract to Elan Planning, Design & Landscape Architecture for preparation of the BOA Nomination Study. Elan was also contracted by the city in 2019 to prepare its grant funded Local Waterfront Revitalization Program to identify long term uses and implementation strategies for areas surrounding waterways.

The city was awarded a $78,000 grant to prepare a study of the area surrounding the Cayadutta Creek, which was designated an inland waterway by the state. The LWRP is being developed through a study that includes property surveys, planning, land use analysis, redevelopment analysis and a series of maps identifying sites included in the district, ownership, conditions and defining boundaries.

Completed LWRPs are subject to approval by the state Department of State that once secured will allow the city to apply for up to 50 percent grant funding for identified projects related to redevelopment of the waterfront and surrounding spaces.

The city is hoping to leverage the completed LWRP plan and BOA study and assessments for future grant applications related to brownfields, with several identified brownfield sites located within the boundaries the city has identified for the LWRP.

The city is set to detail plans on the developing LWRP during a virtual open house on Wednesday at 6 p.m. through a livestream over the city’s Facebook page. Following the presentation an online survey will be released seeking public input on waterfront revitalization projects proposed for inclusion in the LWRP.

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