Residents of Amsterdam are pooling their ideas to decide how to shape the final look of the city’s pedestrian bridge that spans the Mohawk River.
Inside Amsterdam City Hall Wednesday night, members of the community gathered to hear a presentation from city Director of Community and Economic Development Robert von Hasseln about the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook bridge.
In the second such meeting, von Hasseln explained that the city has $650,000 in state grants. He handed out a list of ideas compiled from the last brainstorming session that included amenities such as bicycle racks, a farmers market, numerous suggestions for special events, and a visitor center.
“So now what we’re doing, and I’m very happy, we’re asking the public, the people of Amsterdam, ‘What do you think will help your city the most? What will bring in the most people? What will bring in the most revenue?’” said von Hasseln.
He took suggestions for improved security, added restrooms, and increased accessibility to the bridge and neighboring Riverlink park.
Michael Cinquanti suggested incorporating a New York State Walk of Fame that would feature plaques depicting important people from each county.
“I’m, like everyone else, most people in the city, I really want that bridge to be a success. And I hope that it’s going to be a success with the existing concept. But I think we need to be able to enhance the concept in order to assure its success. And I think something that will attract someone from outside the area…I mean a lot of people are interested in Amsterdam but a lot of people are interested in New York state,” said Cinquanti.
The bridge that connects the downtown with the city’s South Side has been in development for years.
Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane sat in on the meeting. The outgoing Democrat said she was pleased with the turnout and ideas offered Wednesday night.
“It makes me very optimistic for the future of the bridge because I think that there are very rich ideas out there and diverse ideas, and the more input from the constituency, the better the final product will be,” said Thane.
Von Hasseln said the city is doing what it can to gather as many diverse ideas as possible before determining the best fits for the bridge.
“You want to keep the creativity going. Then you sit down and do the hard work of saying ‘Well, is that really feasible? Is that most important? Is that something we could probably get funded some other way?’ And whittle down your list until you come down with ‘This is the best combination that will give us the most bang for the buck,’” said Von Hasseln.
The next public meeting on the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook is scheduled for December 17th.