Amid recent talks of a medical center being built within the village of Cazenovia, it seems the vacant lot on Riverside Drive will remain vacant in the following months.
St. Joseph’s Hospital, the organization which was examining the feasibility of constructing a new location behind the Cazenovia Public Library, recently informed the village board it was putting plans on hold in order to focus on expanding its facility in the Atwell Mill Annex. During the Feb. 6 Cazenovia Village Board meeting, trustees discussed other uses for the space and the possibility of acquiring 118 Albany St. in order to create a road connecting the property to Route 20.
“In the near term, Sphere [Development]’s proposal to them to build a new building on the Riverside Drive site is not going to happen,” said Village Mayor Kurt Wheeler. “I think we have a good site plan, and when [St. Joseph’s is] ready to go, it will be very positive for the village. Personally, I’m not prepared to say we’re going to let that site lie fallow indefinitely in hopes that will happen.”
Sphere Development, the firm designated as the lead construction agency for the project, is able to independently decide its next move. The village is not contractually obligated to work with the firm on the parcel, because the initial agreement was specifically for a medical center.
Mayor Wheeler also discussed continuing toward the acquisition of 118 Albany St. He said creating a road which links the main drag to Riverside Drive will alleviate current parking concerns and could make the site more attractive to developers. The parcel is directly across from the heavily-trafficked junction of Route 13 and Route 20. Including a road to Riverside Drive would create a four-way intersection.
Not all village trustees were in agreement, as Dave Porter voiced his issue with demolishing a historic building in the center of Cazenovia in order to create a new road.
“I was never completely sold on the idea that we had to have access off Route 20, and I’m still not convinced. However, I can see for certain businesses that would be more important than for others,” Porter said. “Some use may not require it, and perhaps we should look the possibility of some kind of village planning from an outside perspective. It might tell us what’s the best thing to do.”
In other board news
—Trustees unanimously authorized the release of bid requests for work to be done on Carpenter’s Barn. Responses are due at the village office by 10 a.m. March 9.
—Upcoming budget work sessions were scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 15 and 7 p.m. Feb. 28. Both meetings will be held on the second floor of the Municipal Building, at 90 Albany St.
—The organization “Syracuse Chargers” were authorized to put up two tents in Lakeland Park on July 4 for use during the annual footrace. The tents will be removed the same day.
—Cazenovia was recently named an official Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or email@example.com.