Feb 23, 2012 Erin Wisneski Uncategorized
First there was Paper Mill Island. Then the village focused on the Sergei Yevich Trail, followed by the pedestrian walkways along River and Water streets. Now, Baldwinsville’s Waterfront Revitalization Plan will come full circle as construction on Village Square is completed this summer.
In addition, the Southshore East trail, a final route of the four trails connecting each quarter of the village, will also be completed this summer. Residents and visitors alike can walk or bike to the center of Baldwinsville via the Sergei Yevich Trail from the northeastern end, River Street’s pedestrian path at the northwestern end and the Southshore West and Southshore East trails in the southern portion of the village.
“Village Square is the connecting node – Yevich ends there, northshore ties into village square, Southshore West and Southshore East tie together at Route 48 and there is also the Paper Mill Island trail. All four trails come together there – it’s like the spokes of a wheel meeting,” said Village Engineer Tim Baker.
Once known for its mills more than its beauty, the village has changed its image, thanks in part to the development, drawing thousands of villagers and tourists to its center during summer weekends, and nearly as many during winter weekend events.
While the demolition of the old Harrington Firehouse took place nearly five years ago, Village Square construction started last spring. With the cooperative weather, progress has been made all season long including the most recent addition of LED lighting, which was donated by Ephesus, a local company, and aptly named the B’ville Lite.
“The main work is done,” Baker said, adding there is top soil to spread, trees and grass to plant, flower bed work and sidewalks to install. “We’re in the landscaping phase of it.”
In regards to the Southshore East Trail, the village has purchased several properties to provide public access along the river including a five-acre property costing $40,000 from NYS Barge Canal and a $65,000 Meadow Street property through a private sale.
“This will help us to run the trail along the river,” said Mayor Joseph Saraceni.
Other than the purchases, the Southshore East Trail is not overly complicated, Baker said.
“We’ll be putting in a bridge in to cross Crooked Brook,” Baker added, which will also connect Community Park to the village. Incidentally, the pedestrian bridge came from Ogdensburg where Baker served as village engineer prior to moving to Baldwinsville. “It’s a used bridge…where it was used was filled in, so it’s unnecessary now.”
Overall, the trail has been a long time in the making as village officials worked to meet requirements from various entities including the NYS Barge Canals, NYS DEC and the Army CORP of Engineers.
“This is the village following through with its commitment to public access to the Seneca River,” Saraceni said.
Funding for projects
This has been a long-term investment for the village with the cost for Village Square totaling near $500,000 alone. Officials estimate the out of pocket cost to be $466,418 and funding has come from a variety of sources including leftover Pepsi fund money ($187,000) from Paper Mill Island construction; a Community Development grant ($90,000), of which the village had to match 25 percent; village parks department money ($60,000), received from developers as in lieu of parks payments; and Highway Fund money (approximately $65,000). Officials also budgeted $50,000 total in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 village budgets, which came from taxpayers.
The Southshore East Trail received $350,000 in funding through a TEA-21 (Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century) grant. Some of the grant money will be used to pay down a previously secured $344,000, five-year Statutory Installment Bond, which helped pay for various projects in the Waterfront Revitalization Plan including the relocation of the village’s salt storage, engineering costs on Lock Street and the purchase of canal properties along the southern shore of the Seneca River. The sale of the village’s Lock Street property (former village DPW) will also help pay down the bond.
Future waterfront development
Looking at the Sergei Yevich Trail, future plans include the village connecting with a town of Lysander trail that will enable residents living in developments along Route 370 access to the village by foot and bike.
“These trails bring economic opportunity and leisure activities to residents,” Saraceni said.
In fact, the Sergei Yevich Trail was used earlier this year as part of the first annual Syracuse Marathon, which organizers plan to make an annual event.
“Economically, that is huge,” Saraceni said of the village being the halfway point for a marathon of that magnitude. “This waterfront development is drawing economic opportunities to the village of Baldwinsville.”