Baldwinsville Mayor Joseph Saraceni met with Messenger Editor Erin Wisneski last Tuesday at Big Mama’s Restaurant to chat about what’s new in the village. Steve Darcangelo, the village’s newly appointed engineer, and Michael Randall, a 60-year resident of Baldwinsville, joined them for coffee and a discussion focusing on the South Shore East Trail.
On Oct. 6, the Baldwinsville Board of Trustees appointed Steve Darcangelo as the village engineer. He took over for Tim Baker, who retired Oct. 5. The two worked side by side during the summer providing Steve with a transition period.
During coffee, Steve said he lives in Radisson and worked for Plumley Engineering for 10 years, which provided him with experience with the village as he worked on village projects during that time including development of the business district and Paper Mill Island.
“I’ve come in with no true municipal experience, but I have plenty of municipal design experience both with the village and other municipalities,” he said.
“The village is excited to have Steve on board. His background matches up beautifully with what we have going on in the village,” Joe said. “Steve’s a doer.”
When asked what village project he is most excited about, Steve said the Southshore East Trail and connecting Community Park with the village.
“Community Park is a beautiful park, very underutilized. I think this project will increase visibility. It’s a nice park,” he said.
“It’s just far enough outside the village that people don’t use it,” added Mike Randall, who joined us for coffee.
Steve added that the park currently doesn’t have easy access for kids because of road, but a pedestrian path will change that.
Mayor Joe Saraceni said the path won’t be the only new thing at the park. The village recently added new bathrooms to the park, thanks to Community Development Funds, and he plans to hold a series of ribbon cutting ceremonies to recognize those accomplishments – completion of the path, installing new bathrooms and increasing access to the park.
I asked Steve what has been the most difficult aspect of building the path, which will travel along Meadow Street and the Seneca River over Crooked Brook and to the park, and both he and Joe said the bridge over Crooked Brook.
“Getting across Crooked Brook has been no easy challenge,” Joe said, noting the pedestrian bridge the village acquired several years ago.
Before it could be installed, however, the village needed to complete requirements and obtain approval from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers. One prerequisite required an archaeologist review specifically looking for Indian artifacts and an extinct grape fern, which was last seen 100 years ago along the area where the path will cross the brook. The bridge also has to be above the 100-year flood plane. Steve said the Department of Public Works used crushed sidewalk from the sidewalk repair program to elevate the path and the bridge so it is above the 100-year flood plane.
“We have it so there will be a nice transition up,” Steve said.
All that remains for the project’s completion, which is expected in the spring, is to create footing for the bridge then finish the walking surface, which will be similar to the Sergei Yevich Trail, but a little more conducive for pushing strollers and riding bikes.
“Our objective is to have work done this winter,” Steve said.
Other projects noted during our discussion included a possible docking opportunity for smaller vessels along Canal Park (Marble Street area), maintenance of village trees to maintain Tree City designation and developing rain gardens throughout the village to help with stormwater runoff into the river.
“I’m looking forward to working with Steve and the board is excited to have him on,” Joe said.
“It’s an excellent opportunity for me and I’m excited to be here,” Steve said adding that he has a great crew with the DPW.
Editor’s Note: In the Sept. 26 edition of Coffee with Baldwinsville’s Mayor, Michael Randall referred to filled potholes as speed bumps. Randall was referring to the filled potholes on Edgewood, not Smokey Hollow Road, as reported. Mayor Saraceni and Editor Wisneski are scheduled to meet for coffee at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Canton Woods Senior Center, 76 Canton Street, B’ville. Community members are welcome to join them for coffee and address your concerns about the village with the mayor or send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and Editor Wisneski will ask the mayor for you.