See how the proposed bridge artwork tells the history of Amsterdam

Perhaps you were wondering, like me, what the historical markers being proposed for the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge are supposed to look like. I asked Community and Economic Development Director Robert von Hasseln if he could provide some additional details. He sent me a number of pictures and paragraphs that helped paint a clearer picture of the concept he has been working on.

There are twenty markers in the plan. Eight of the markers would be mounted on the railings and include actual historical photographs of various Amsterdam neighborhoods. The remaining markers would appear on concrete flower containers and would highlight various aspects of the city’s history such as the early settlers, the Erie Canal, and factories.

Here are the pictures and accompanying text for each of the eight neighborhood markers. You can click any image to enlarge it.

Here is a map showing the location of each marker along the bridge, with a few examples of the graphics and text that would accompany the other “cast labels”. Also included in the gallery are additional photos and renderings to show how the designs would integrate with the bridge.

The main construction of the bridge has been paid for by a 2005 New York State Transportation Bond Act. However, some of the artistic elements originally planned for the bridge were removed in order to offset rising construction costs which would have put the project over budget. The city received a $325,000 grant from NY State in December 2014 to complete the artwork, however the grant requires matching funds from the city.

So far, the Amsterdam Common Council has not included matching funds for the project in their tentative list of capital projects. The council could vote as early as this Wednesday to approve borrowing for capital projects. According to von Hasseln, some of the elements will be more costly, or even impossible to add after construction of the bridge is complete later this year.

On Tuesday, von Hasseln will hold two public presentations at City Hall in the council chambers about the potential economic benefits of the proposed artwork.The first presentation will be at 10:00am, and the second at 6:30pm.

Supporters of the proposed bridge artwork have started an online petition to ask the Common Council to fund the matching grant. The petition can be viewed here.

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.