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Public input session held for a proposed Mohawk River dock

A section of the Mohawk River adjacent to where the proposed dock will be installed
Aaron Shellow-Lavine
A section of the Mohawk River adjacent to where the proposed dock will be installed

Residents got a chance to learn more about a Schenectady dock proposal at a public input session, clarifying details and raising both support and concern.

The proposed 380-foot dock is aimed to enable Mohawk River boaters to hop on dry land and enjoy nearby amenities like restaurants, virtual golf, and Rivers Casino.

Kayaker Chuck Thorne had assumed the docks would not be open to the public, and would only be accessible by the residents of nearby River House apartments and hotels.

“You know, if you’re a power boater or if you’re going up and down the river on a Sunday, and I want to stop at Druthers and have lunch or something like that I’d pull up to the dock, I go and it’s great. But from my perspective, how I use the river, I’ll continue to go to other launch sites along the river. It looks good to me, we have needed something like that in Schenectady for a long time,” said Thorne.

A 5,000-square foot plaza will compliment the dock, creating some public recreational space.

A sports arena and Hyatt House Hotel are also expected to go up adjacent to the dock and plaza in fall 2025.

David Buicko is the COO of the real estate Galesi Group, located in Mohawk Harbor. Also speaking at Wednesday’s meeting, he’s happy to see the dock and other projects approach completion after years of planning.

“You would never imagined when you saw the abandoned steel mills and buildings. Coming in here, I’m just wowed every time we walk in. It’s something new. Whether it’s The Shaker and Vine, Druthers, The Bunker, the new hotel coming up, the events center. I don’t think there’s anything like this in the state,” said Buicko.

The dock is set to be completed by August 2025 with parts prefabricated and floated up the river to their final location. City Engineer Chris Wallin is proud of the progress made on the project, and says if installation is completed on time, the dock could be open for the remainder of the summer boating season.

“The good thing, the fortunate thing that we’ve been able to incorporate was our original design, which wasn’t at this location, a concern was the parking and the drop-off. Now, with the arena having this turn-around, we did not build this turn-around, this turn-around was here for the event center to have and we were able to move our location into there so that we had the drop-off. Because originally it was a secluded park location that you had to walk to,” said Wallin.

Wallin said the sessions are an important part of the development process both to receive public input, as well as manage public expectations.

“They thought maybe it would be more accessible—accessible physically. But one of the things we can’t do, if you were listening is that we have a 17-foot grade change between the bank and the river and there’s nothing we can do about that. And we have to be ADA compliant to get there, which means the gangway is x-amount of feet long and it’s going to take a little while to get down there,” said Wallins.

Not everyone in attendance is so bullish. David Giacalone would have liked to see easier access to the river for all Schenectady residents.

“They’ve taken away public access, and they’ve given it to people with big rich boats. And, to me, that is not what makes the public healthier and happier and it’s not what makes Schenectady seem more attractive to people,” said Giacalone.

The project will go out to bid this summer.