Margaretville facelift plans on back burner

By Geoff Samuels
New sidewalks, lighting and trees that were slated for the Village of Margaretville this fall have been officially “put on the back burner” until next spring.

The project will likely undergo some type of reorganization with the introduction of a project supervisor to oversee the work. Although at the special village board meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 12, it seemed likely that things were ready to roll pending some final bids, evidently there were too many loose ends for the project to proceed.

The sidewalk “project” is actually three separate projects rolled into one. The first consists of new sidewalks along the south side of Main Street extending from the corner of Bridge Street, west as far as the Binnekill footbridge. The second includes the replacement of old utility poles with underground wiring and the installation of new lighting poles, with the wiring being buried before the new sidewalks are put in place. The third is the planting of new trees and bushes along both sides of Main Street.

Lots of coordination
Implementing these projects at the same time will require a lot of coordination between different contractors as they work together to carry out the plans efficiently.

At last Thursday’s meeting, village board member Iris Mead said that she had met with Carol O’Beirne and Peg Ellsworth, and the three had come up with the concept of using a project supervisor to deal with the various contractors involved, instead of the village board having to do it directly. This would facilitate better coordination between the individual phases of the project. It was suggested that the construction firm currently working with Ellsworth on the rehabilitation of the “Cheese Barrel Block” buildings could be used to this end, but a final decision on that would come at a later date.

Mayor Stanton expressed his concern that the prevailing wage stipulation contained in the Smart Growth Grant, along with the added expense of a project supervisor, would create another budget shortfall. He gave an example by citing that the proposal he already had in hand from NYSEG to remove and replace the utility poles would expire in five months. But Mead maintained that she and Ellsworth felt it could still be done with the existing grant money at hand.

Before the meeting adjourned, details such as the New York State Department of Transportation’s specifications for new sidewalks were discussed, as well the finalization of the landscaper’s plans for trees and shrubs.