Onondaga County Third District Legislator Tim Burtis announced last week that the county has approved additional funding for the Brewerton Revitalization Project.
Burtis (R-Cicero) announced Wednesday, July 22, that the legislature had approved an additional $45,000 in funding for the Bennett Street and Riverfront Park design that makes up the bulk of Cicero’s efforts in revitalizing the hamlet in the northern part of the town.
“The development that has been made in Brewerton, capitalizing on the beautiful gateway to Oneida Lake, has taken patience,” Burtis said. “However, I am excited to see the project progress. I am committed to doing everything that I can to help promote and develop the Brewerton area. I want to thank everyone on the Brewerton Revitalization Committee for your hard work and dedication to this project.”
The project started in 2006 under then-Supervisor Chet Dudzinski. The town has received numerous grants for the proposal, including an initial $125,000 development grant and an $800,000 grant from Sen. Chuck Schumer’s office. Town and state officials hope the redevelopment will make the riverfront hamlet a tourist attraction.
A variety of setbacks, including the discovery of artifacts requiring authorization from the Onondaga and Oneida nations and issues with funding, have caused the project to stall several times, but Phase I was completed in July of 2014 with the construction of picnic tables, new streetlights, a 400-foot brick walkway and benches along the riverfront. The improvements cost a total of $102,400, which was made possible through matching grants to the town of Cicero, in-kind services from local businesses and town departments and donations from Brewerton residents.
Phase II involved the expansion of the walkway, access to the walkway, ramps, new lights and other improvements at Riverfront Park. To date, the town has spent $976,886 on the project.
The town is currently working on Phase III, which includes developing a concept plan and curbing for Bennett Street, sidewalk installation, trees, landscaping and decorative lighting, but once again, funding has been a problem. On May 27, the town board voted to table a decision on appropriating $90,750 for construction. Phase III of the project requires the town to match 50 percent of the $181,500 Department of State grant Cicero received.
The funding Burtis announced Wednesday will pay for installation of 170 linear feet of sidewalk, including wheelchair ramps, and 280 linear feet of curbing with a permeable pavement strip between the sidewalk and curbing. Four lights and up to five street trees with tree grates will also be installed.
The funding from the legislature was part of a budget amendment approved July 7 to support capital infrastructure improvements countywide. The amendment also included $40,000 for improvements to Johnson Park in the village of Liverpool, $10,000 for Mercer Park in the village of Baldwinsville, $10,000 for Brundage Road in the town of Lysander, $70,000 for Chestnut Street in the village of North Syracuse.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.