The Via Ponte Project

Via Ponte Conceptual Overlay by Saratoga Associates

Aerial View of Amsterdam Southside Neighborhood by Google Maps

The Via Ponte project was designed by Saratoga Associates as A Guide to Rebuild Amsterdam Southside Neighborhood District and presented to the City of Amsterdam in March of 2004. The project entailed opening up the Southside waterfront with the installation of a marina and pedestrian friendly walkways. The plan calls for a neighborhood recreation center and a cultural center with an interpretive museum, art gallery and restaurant. There would also be shops and a historic canal store.

This is a great plan that also calls for adaptive reuse and waterfront access. As you can see from the images, the plan was always to demolish the larger portion of the Chalmers building, the part City Historian Robert von Hasseln has labeled as historically significant. The smaller brick structure was to be repurposed as mixed-use commercial and market rate housing (not luxury apartments).

Where are we with the Via Ponte project? Has the Kaufman saga sidetracked development? I see from the City’s updated website that we actually have a Via Ponte Planning Committee described as:

Following the guidance of the Amsterdam Comprehensive plan, the goal of this committee is to liaise with the Mayor of the City of Amsterdam and Saratoga Associates for citizen and business input on the south side Via Ponte development.

I wonder if this committee actually conducts public meetings. The chairman is Sue Phemister owner of the Amsterdam Castle that has been on the market for sale since 2008. I would love to see a concerted effort on the part of the administration to actually follow through with this plan that has the potential to increase the economy through tourism.

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