Park Dedication Postponed Indefinitely

The dedication ceremony of Amsterdam’s Riverlink Park Phase II originally scheduled for October 1st, 2011, rescheduled for Friday, October 14, 2011, has now been postponed indefinitely according to Amsterdam City Clerk Sue Alibozek.

I had to call the clerk to ask about tomorrow’s scheduled event, because once again there was no notification on the City’s website or Facebook page. The City Clerk assured me that notice of the cancellation was sent to the Recorder. She went on to say that there was no new date for the event because of conflicting schedules of those who were to take part in the event.

I went down to the Riverlink park this morning to see its condition. It was a very gloomy and overcast morning, but spots of autumn color popped out along the river’s edge.

The walkway to the park was chained and locked.

Sculptor Alice Manzi’s commissioned piece The Painted Rocks of Amsterdam sits coldly facing the storm ravaged Mohawk.

The Chalmers building still waits for the wrecking ball…

…as politicians pander for your votes.

Update:

I sent an email to the Common Council inquiring why the gate to Riverlink Park was padlocked and asked who had the key. Apparently is OK to open the park for dignitaries, but not for ALL the citizens of Amsterdam.

The Mohawk River is our best asset and riverfront access was established with grant money. A locked gate does not provide riverfront access.

I received no answer to my questions from our elected officials. I did find an interesting 2007 article from the Daily Gazette written by star reporter Ed Munger, Jr.

Lock blocks access to park – Residents asking why Riverlink ‘s gate is closed

Daily Gazette, The (Schenectady, NY) – Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Author: EDWARD MUNGER Jr. ; Gazette Reporter
The sun was glistening off the Mohawk River in Amsterdam Monday as a cool breeze blew. For Luke and Nicole Sheldon, it seemed a perfect day for a trip to Riverlink Park with their two children, Liliana, 3, Kelly, 1, along with their beagle-mixed breed Jewel.The young couple walked about a mile from Orange Street in the city to the upper level of the Riverfront Center parking lot only to find the gate to the pedestrian walkway chained and locked .“We’re disappointed. We were hoping it was open so we could sit near the water,” Luke Sheldon said.

The park , situated between locks 10 and 11 of the historic Erie Canal, features a swing set for children, access for boaters and a link between the canal and the city.

“We had a long walk to get here, that’s the sad thing,” Sheldon said.

City officials contacted Monday indicated it was unclear exactly who is supposed to open the gate.

Nicole Sheldon said she stopped by the park with her friend a few weeks ago and they were unable to get in. She said the entrance gate to the pedestrian walkway was open but access at the end of the walkway was locked up.

Luke Sheldon said it was his understanding Riverlink Park is a public park paid for with public money and speculated perhaps the park is only open for special occasions.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Luke Sheldon said.

The Sheldons aren’t the only people who were unable to use the park in past weeks. Two weeks ago, a couple walking away from the gate declined to comment to The Daily Gazette but indicated they wanted to go into the park but couldn’t because it was locked .

In September, Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation board of directors president Paul Gavry said there were no reasons he knew of why the park would be locked .

Gavry and other members of the Waterfront Foundation could not be reached for comment Monday.

City officials on Monday indicated there aren’t necessarily any set hours for the public park to be open.

Several people are believed to have keys to the gates, but none was directly responsible for opening up the park .

Amsterdam 1st Ward Alderman Joseph M. Isabel on Monday said the pedestrian walkway and Riverlink Park are owned by the city and managed by the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation.

The walkway is accessed from the parking lots at the Riverfront Center through an agreement with the city, but the Riverfront Center management is not responsible for opening the gates, Isabel said.

Officials at the Riverfront Center and the Amsterdam Police Department have a key, Isabel said, but only for emergency access.

Isabel said in July and August, staff from Pasqualli’s Restaurant, who operate an eatery at the park , open up the gates.

A woman who answered the phone at Pasqualli’s Monday was unsure whether the parkside eatery was still serving.

“Personally, I feel they have the right to enjoy the park . What needs to be done is the powers that be have to sit down and establish hours for the park ,” Isabel said.

Amsterdam 2nd Ward Alderman Anthony “Babe” Pallotta said he thinks details of the park ‘s operation should be reviewed. “We should sit down and look at this and see what the heck’s going on here,” Pallotta said.

The park served as host to hundreds of people during the annual CanalFest celebration this summer in addition to an expanding slate of live music events that are drawing people to the city and region, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce President Debbie Auspelmyer said Monday.

“It’s a very nice park , with the CanalFest and summer concert series, people are starting to utilize it more,” Auspelmyer said.

Auspelmyer said the chamber has held light discussions with officials from the Riverfront Foundation hoping to organize signs or some means of letting boaters know what attractions are available in the city if they want to stop by.

The park was built primarily with about $3.5 million in state grants, officials said in the past.

Amsterdam Mayor Joseph Emanuele III on Monday said he was not aware the gates to the park were locked .

“Certainly, we want people to enjoy it in the daytime,” Emanuele said.

Emanuele said he heard that a boater on the canal stopped in the city and went to return to his boat but couldn’t because the gates were locked . The boater had to stay in a local hotel, Emanuele said.

“We should keep that park open, at least as long as the canal is open,” Emanuele said.

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8 thoughts on “Park Dedication Postponed Indefinitely

  1. The Recreation Department has a key in their posession, as well as the APD. The Recreation Department maintains the park, along with 1 seasonal worker, Paul Gegzno. When the eating place there shuts down, the gate gets locked and eventually the building gets boarded up for the winter. Here’s a good one—-Thane wanted so badly (pleading to the Veteran’s Commission in 2009) to put the new Veteran’s Memorial there (between the elevator shaft and the stairwell)…Glad we decided, the Commission, NOT to make that stupid move completely laced with lack of foresight on her part. Additionally, and as a point of clarification from the Street Department Union Steward (me)—the Re-Elect Thane sign that is put up at the Riverlink Park in the area of the playground does NOT, I repeat does NOT reflect the selection or opinion of the City of Amsterdam DPW as her (Thane) being the endorsed candidate of our Union

    • diane

      It is politically incorrect for the mayor to have a sign on city property. It should be removed. Also the sign placed on the URA lot on Church St should be removed. These agencies should not be showing any bias by placing her signs there. Four years ago, when my husband put up Joe’s sign, someone from URA stopped by and said he had to take it down, which he did. Why is hers allowed to be up now?? It should be removed. Neither should there be any signs on any city property for that matter, including all of the parks.

    • I did not see a “Thane” sign in the park, but my view was limited because the gate was locked.

      My contention is the park should remain open before and after the 3 months the concession stand is open. The park is for the benefit of the people not the food concession. I find it reprehensible that another 3 year contract was awarded for the concession without first going out for bid, especially since the business that runs the concession contributed to Ann Thane’s campaign fund. The City only charges three hundred dollars rent for the season? That is insulting.

      Maybe I can gain access to to the park by contributing to Ann Thane’s campaign fund!

      • diane

        Under the new contract they will pay 500.00 a month, and their liability insurance was for replacement value of the building and deck and equipment.

    • Did your union make any endorsements this year?

    • Rob Millan

      “…the Re-Elect Thane sign that is put up at the Riverlink Park in the area of the playground does NOT…reflect the selection or opinion of the City of Amsterdam DPW as [Thane] being the endorsed candidate of our Union” much like the Riverlink Park is not representative of the City of Amsterdam DPW, Mr. Leggiero.

  2. I’ve had that happen a few times when I have gone there in the morning – I think they usually unlock it late in the morning, maybe 11 ish. It would be nice if it were open at 9 or 10.

  3. Pingback: City Administrators Respond to Locked Gate | The Grove Street Grumble

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