Thursday, October 27, 2016

Of Bridges and Ramps at Public Works

Last night, at the Common Council Public Works Committee meeting, Rob Perry, DPW superintendent, told the committee that three of the four engineering firms that had been asked to submit letters of interest on the Ferry Street Bridge had done so. He further reported: "We have reached out the Columbia County Engineering Department for assistance with this portion of the project. The county owns and maintains many bridges throughout the County and has replaced dozens over the past few decades. They are intimately familiar with the FHWA scheduling and reimbursement process."

Lately, it seems there cannot be a meeting in the Council Chamber without rancor and raised voices. Last night's Public Works Committee was no exception. At the end of the meeting, after Perry had completed his report, Alderman Abdus Miah (Second Ward) asked about the status of the ramp at Promenade Hill. It was interesting that he should ask at that time, since the design for the ramp and the selection of the materials had just been completed, and those involved in that process had spent the day considering when the project could go before the Historic Preservation Commission for review. It was also interesting that he directed his question to Perry, who bowed out of the planning process when it reached the design phase, instead of his fellow Second Ward alderman, Tiffany Garriga, who has been a part of the design phase, working with the landscape architect and the representatives of the Mrs. Greenthumbs Hedge Fund, which provided the money to hire the landscape architect to design a ramp sensitive to the design of Hudson's most historic park.

Miah groused that the ramp wouldn't be done for another ten years, alleged that the mayor had promised it would be done by spring, and reminded all present that he had been asking for a ramp at Promenade Hill since 2009. Garriga was having none of it. She challenged Miah's implication that he was the great champion of the ramp by demanding, "Did you get any money allocated for it in 2009?" The answer, of course, was no. It wasn't until 2015 that $20,000 was allocated in the 2016 budget for the ramp. 

The ramp now being pursued, the design for which will go public when it is presented to the HPC on November 18, will cost considerably more than $20,000. The cost estimates for the ramp are still being finalized, but Garriga reported that the mayor is "finding the financing."

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