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No. of vacant buildings reduced

GLOVERSVILLE — The city has reduced its number of vacant buildings from 360 to 134 in about five years, city officials heard recently.

During departmental reports to the Common Council at City Hall, Fire Chief Thomas Groff reported the figure. He said the city will begin inspections in June of multiple dwellings. Two-family homes will begin to be inspected in July, the chief said.

Mayor Vincent DeSantis said the 134 vacant buildings in Gloversville represents a huge reduction from what used to be about 360 in 2016.

He said he was encouraged that some buildings were being “followed up on” as a codes and quality of life issue for the city.

DeSantis said Monday that the Common Council in 2016 passed a vacancy ordinance that mandated that notices go out to all vacant property owners and the appropriate financial institutions. The ordinance mandated that the vacant properties be registered with the fire chief and a plan be mandated. The plan had to deal with renovation, demolition or continued vacancy, and fines could be meted out after 365 days if plans weren’t followed.

The mayor said the ordinance got property owners and banks to take notice of their situations.

In a related buildings issue, DeSantis said he recently conferred with Fulton County Department of Solid Waste Director David Rhodes on the city’s demolition “portfolio” in Gloversville. He said there are 17 on the Fulton County Demolition Team list to take down.

“He wants to chop away at that, and do at least four in Gloversville this year,” DeSantis said.

The council discussed some of the issue in a closed-door, executive session.

Department of Public Works Director Chris Perry reported that garbage carts from private firm Twin Bridges have been delivered to city residents. That service was starting in earnest this week in the city, which assumes trash collection from the city.

“It’s going relatively smoothly,” Perry said of the cart process.

DeSantis discussed a “catch pond” being done near Nathan Littauer Hospital, hopefully in the next month to help remediate an East State Street stormwater runoff.

Perry also reported on the proposed spray park project at Trail Station Park, which went out to bid in May. It had an original anticipated date of completion of July 4.

“It’s going to be tough to get it done by the end of the summer,” the DPW director said.

The city in January accepted a $345,000 state grant award announced in late 2019 for the installation of the spray park. The grant was through the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation covering 75 percent of the cost of constructing the park.

The city originally eyed spring 2020 for construction of the project before officials early last year became aware of stringent grant requirements that would delay plans. That process also involved the revision of the original plans for the water feature. The city in 2019 was awarded a $78,000 Local Waterfront Revitalization Program grant through the state Department of State to study and develop a land use plan for the area surrounding the Cayadutta Creek.

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