Establishing a row of ethnically diverse restaurants, increased marketing and networking efforts, and new parking areas and telecommunications infrastructure were all ideas presented by the Waterfront Heritage Area committee at a meeting held last night at Lynch Middle School. The ideas are part of a preliminary study for redevelopment along Amsterdam’s waterfront area which the committee is looking to fund under NY State’s Brownfield Opportunity Act.
Director of Economic and Community Development Robert von Hasseln said that the Waterfront Heritage Area is essentially a continuation of the previous “Viaponte” study that was initially focused on the South Side. The new study expands the area to cover both the South Side and areas on the northern side of the Mohawk River including the city’s downtown area on Main St. The effort is one two BOA studies underway, the other being the Northeast-East End study which covers areas east of the waterfront area.
Von Hasseln said the ultimate goal of the three phase process is to have the area declared by NY State as a Brownfield Opportunity Area, which would provide significant tax breaks to businesses in that area. Von Hasslen also said he hopes to bring together ideas for the waterfront area and the East End under a revised version of the city’s comprehensive plan.
Lisa Nagle of Elan Planning and Design of Saratoga Springs, NY, said that her firm has worked with a several communities in NY State including Amsterdam with the BOA process. Nagle said that the BOA was one of the best programs for redevelopment because the grants available only require 10% matching funds from the municipality. Nagle outlined a series of six “stations” in the room where the public could review the initial ideas and offer their own input. Nagle said that the committee plans on holding another public meeting in February.
The following photos document the individual workstations and the initial ideas presented at the meeting. Click on any image to enlarge it and scroll through the various slides.
Editor’s note: Turnout at this event was light and some comments were made at the meeting in regards to common council input on the project. I plan on addressing some of these issues in an upcoming editorial.