City receives grant to assess Mohasco power plant repairs


The long-abandoned Mohasco power plant may become a stopping point for travelers on the planned North Chuctanunda walking trail. The City of Amsterdam was recently awarded a $8,900 grant from the Preservation League of New York State to complete a study of the structure and determine if it can be made safe for visitors.

City officials including Mayor Michael Villa, Assistant Recreation Director Danielle Whelly, Engineer Rich Miller, Alderman Paul Ochal, Historian Rob von Hasseln, as well as Jerry Synder of the Historic Amsterdam League, met with Preservation League President Jay DiLorenzo at the powerhouse on Wednesday.

“The remnants of our industrial heritage is something that a lot of communities have turned their backs on over the years,” said DiLorenzo. “It’s a reminder of their former industrial glory, a reminder of a time that they may say is long past and would rather tear it down and be done with it.”

“But really enlightened administrations and enlightened cities like you have here in Amsterdam recognize the value of their industrial heritage and they’ve decided to embrace it and they’ve decided to integrate it into their economic development, their community revitalization, their heritage tourism efforts. And those are the projects that we want to be a part of.”

According to von Hasseln, the Mohasco powerhouse was built sometime around 1914. The building provided both electricity and high pressure steam to power to the surrounding carpet mills. The plant was fueled by coal and utilized water from the Chuchtanunda creek to create the steam and also to expel waste. The plant ceased operation sometime in the 1960’s along with the rest of the surrounding mill complex.

Both Villa and von Hasseln credited Whelly for her previous work in getting the Chuctanunda walking trail project started during her previous position as an economic development specialist at Montgomery County. The trail will allow hikers to walk along the creek and will eventually connect to the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge.

According to Whelly, the project has already received a $7,000 grant from the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor to pay for signage along the trail. Whelly said that the city and county will be matching the grant with labor contributions, clearing the trail and putting down milling. Whelly said that additional funding for the project is being sought as part of the city’s application for a New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant.

The city has contracted with the architectural and preservation firm Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson of Albany to complete an assessment of the condition of the building which should be complete sometime before September.

Photos by Tim Becker

Tim Becker

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