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B'ville's Swiss engineer

With a full plate of projects, Tim Baker has hit the ground running.

Baker is the village engineer for Baldwinsville and a jack of all trades.

"You have to be the Swiss engineer, like the Swiss army knife," Baker said referring to his wide range of duties, which include everything from plowing snow and maintenance to street design and grant applications.

When Superintendent of Public Works Claude Sykes announced his retirement from the village after 33 years, board members asked Sykes to create a list of his responsibilities. After reviewing the list, the board determined the position reflected the duties of an engineer more than that of superintendent and decided to search for a municipal engineer to fill the position.

Baker said he heard of the opportunity through Sykes while the two were working on the Southwest Trail's marine power project along the canal. At the time, Baker was working for the Canal Corporation. His experience also includes 20 years as the city of Ogdensburg's engineer and three years as Vestal's engineer.

"Although (the village engineer position) was new for Baldwinsville, it was a job I had been doing for the last 25 years," Baker said.

In addition to the marine power project, Baker is currently working on several other projects including the Route 48 and Chaucer Circle sidewalk project, inspecting the cold storage building being installed next to the DPW on Route 370, a grant application for dock improvements on Marble Street and more. Having started his position only a month ago, he is also in the process of familiarizing himself with Baldwinsville.

Despite the adjustment, Baker is comfortable with what he is doing.

"You find projects at a new location you've already done somewhere else," he said, adding that he had completed a similar marine power project in Ogdensburg before tackling the Southwest Trail project in Baldwinsville. "And the new projects keeps you from getting bored."

In the long term, Baker finds the projects along the river and the canal the most intriguing.

"The commercial development district, the different trails, they all fit together," Baker said. "I find the downtown business district with its renaissance very encouraging for the village and hope it can progress further."

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