Mayor Ann Thane gave an overview of some of the projects she would like to coordinate with Montgomery County on at a committee meeting held Monday afternoon.
“We’re working very closely with the county with our plans for the city for economic development and the regional council strategic plan,” said Thane. “We’ve put together our strategic projects for the city. The county is working with a development team and they are going to be asking their board for some funding to do an opportunity analysis on Thursday night. I want to go up there and advocate for that.”
Some of the projects Thane outlined included the recreation center that was proposed earlier in the year by Recreation Director Rob Spagnola, incentives for business start-ups in the downtown area and Chalmers property on the South Side, an engineering study for the relocation of the train station to downtown, developing trails along the Chuctanunda Creek and Mohawk River, extending water and sewer lines to new areas south of the city, and additional parking solutions for the Bridge Street area in anticipation of increased traffic due to the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge.
Thane also talked about the idea of creating a local clean energy power plant in the vicinity of the Clock Tower and old FGI buildings under the state’s NY Prize program.
NY Prize’s website describes the program as “A first-in-the nation $40 million competition to help communities create microgrids – standalone energy systems that can operate independently in the event of a power outage.”
Thane said, “We think a small power plant, that is ‘off the grid,’ that services this industrial complex would be very beneficial to the city. And you could even link in City Hall. So that we would be selling energy back to the grid rather than paying for our energy.”
According to Thane, the owners of the former FGI building are either interested in bringing in another industrial company, or possibly re-purposing the building for residential use. Thane also said she would like to see the area encompassing the Clock Tower and FGI buildings designated as a historical district, which would allow businesses within the district to take advantage of certain tax credits.
Another project discussed at the meeting was the renovation of the downtown hotel. In regards to the current owners of the building, Thane said “we’re worried they’re not quite sound enough to carry the project forward. If they are not, we have been talking to other people about the project, other developers…that’s unfolding.” Thane added that she was confident the $800,000 grant awarded by NY State for the renovation of the hotel could be utilized by a potential future owner.
Although the only other city officials in attendance at the committee meeting were Alderwoman Valerie Beekman and Controller Matt Agresta, Thane said she will continue to hold committee meetings every Monday at 5:15pm in her office. The meetings are also open to the public.