Riverlink Park Needs Help!

As temperatures soar into the 70’s this week, Amsterdamians are taking to the streets in droves to enjoy the weather. The sound of basketballs hitting the pavement can be heard as kids abandon their electronic games and rediscover the outdoors. In tune with this movement I decided to revisit Riverlink Park, the gem of Amsterdam that occupied my Saturday nights last summer during the Riverlink Park Concert Series.

What I found was little progress since the first flood cleanup.  From the speech by Recreation Director Rob Spagnola during a City Council Meeting last month, I was under the impression that the needed repairs were completed, that all we needed were the floating docks to be ready for the season. My impression was wrong. There is a LOT of work to be done to get the park ready for the season. The City was reimbursed for the repairs but none of the lampposts destroyed by the flooding were replaced, the benches are in poor shape, some needing new wood, all needing painting. There are exposed wires where the boat hookups used to be. The shoreline of the western section of the park is still strewn with debris from the flooding. There are sharp pieces of twisted aluminum where the docks used to attach to the retaining wall.

Although a new storage shed was built for the concession building and repairs to the building were completed, it does not seem that any of the other work is being done so that we can ALL enjoy the park by the river.  I did notice a City of Amsterdam utility truck parked in front of the concession building, but did not see any employees present.

This park represents Amsterdam on the Eric Canal National Heritage Corridor.  It is time we cleaned our stoop.















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12 thoughts on “Riverlink Park Needs Help!

  1. diane

    Jerry,

    I am confused. You said we were reimbursed for these repairs and expenses. I was not aware of any FEMA money coming in although I might have missed it. Were the restaurant repairs and replacements covered by insurance? I know that one of the individuals that caused some damage back in the fall, is having to pay the city some 6,000.00 back. I thought there were 4 involved, but only one is having to repay?? I know the council has been approving expenses and repairs with the expectation that FEMA will reimburse. There is no guarantee. I guess they are using the bond money they borrowed last fall?? Do you have any idea??

    • From the February 14, 2012, meeting of the Common Council we learned that the City was reimbursed $50,000 by their insurance company for flood damage at Riverlink Park.

  2. diane

    I have heard “rumors” that the docking material is over 120,000.00 alone. So what was that 50,000 used for? I guess I will file a FOIL to find out. I wonder if this also included the vandalisum at the park??

  3. Anthony D. Leggiero

    Money that was supposed to be used to repair the Dove Creek canalway near St. Mary’s Hospital was diverted by Ann Thane to pay for the repair of the docks with some company from Vermont (The Dock Doctors or something like that). The money allocated for Dove Creek was not supposed to go that way. Most recently, a 23K tent was bought with ??? Somebody please report this act of fraud!!!

    • Mr. Leggiero,

      Additionally, maybe we can ask the embattled St. Mary’s Hospital to contribute to fixing Riverlink Park. They’re a Catholic organization who’s mission, among others, is to provide care to the sick. As a Medicaid and Medicare facility, they are charged with and approved for reimbursement for claims under these programs that are meant to provide medical care to the poor, underprivileged, and elderly. Their mission includes a service to this community.

      Having said that, as recent as last month, the State issued a report about St. Mary’s for overcharging them for reimbursement; they are asking to repay the State. If this roughly $4,000 isn’t enough, consider that just last year, the hospital was issued another report, that time for nearly $2,500,000. I wish I knew how to ‘bold’ those figures to emphasize how obscene they are. Thankfully the State was able to catch this fleecing operation in time.

      http://dryamaka.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/skmbt_c35212041619440.pdf
      http://dryamaka.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/skmbt_c35212041619441.pdf

      That organization is alleged to have taken advantage of programs that are designed and meant for people of the lowest financial means. And while it is unclear if they did or did not deny the charges, be assured there was little to no fanfare made on St. Mary’s part.

      Tell St. Mary’s to fix their own creek wall and Riverlink Park.

  4. Rob Millan

    All,
     
    To correct Mr. Leggiero:  There are two tents at the park, so it’s a bit unclear which tent he is speaking about.  The concert shell tent (at a cost of $10K) was paid for largely by Beechnut Corp. with additional funds coming from the Waterfront Foundation and the Riverlink Park phase II grant.  There was even much media coverage regarding Beechnut’s contribution; but perhaps Mr. Leggiero doesn’t read newspapers.
     
    The other is the event tent which sits adjacent to the restaurant which actually generates revenue through rentals.  That tent was lost in the flood, but that loss is covered by insurance.  Again, the historic flood and insurance coverage to cover any losses were also pointed out in the local media, with the flood itself garnering national attention.
     
    The Dove Creek funds were not ‘diverted’ as Mr. Leggiero said.  Instead the budget committee, including Alderman Richard Leggiero, authorized a transfer of roughly $55K to cover the repair of the docks, but only until the FEMA reimbursement was received, at which point the $55K would be transferred back to the Capital Projects – Dove Creek line.

  5. diane

    Rob,

    I liked your comment up above, St Mary’s should take care of their own creek repairs. It is not only St.Mary’s, but all those properties bordering the creek are private. They should all be working with St.Mary’s to get estimates and the work done with it being split accordingly. This is private property and never should have been bonded for to begin with.

    The docks are not being repaired. In fact they are having entirely new docks made at a cost of 110,000.00 of aluminum, the old ones were made of decking type material and much cheaper. We are going first class all the way on the park.

    The tent is being purchased for 25,000.00 (?) and will be rented to people that book parties at the park by the concessionaire. The city is proposed to get 10% of the party fee. And the concessionaire is only paying the city 300.00 for three months, which does not include any utilities or water. He also has a full time city person down there for maintenance, and gets all the docking fees. I would say the city is coming out on the short end of this stick. Big Time.

    • Diane, I thought the docking fees were going to the Waterfront Foundation. Why would the fees go to a business that is not even based in Amsterdam?

      • Jerry,
        Why must money only go to Amsterdam-based business?  That’s rather counter-productive to growth and progress, as business should know no political boundaries.  Quite frankly, I think it’d be another nail in the coffin if business dealt only with Amsterdam-based individuals.  And regardless of where the business is based, it’s the locale that benefits from sales tax anyway.  In fact, I found Amsterdam to be rather difficult to do business with (and there are others who will second that) when I realized that among the various committees, agencies, and infinite layers of government, there were the SAME people, depending on the day of the week.  That’s not a very good way of looking forward.  This environment of incest and nepotism needs to stop immediately, and it’s pretty apparent that it’s done all the damage you see around you.  Many have argued that one reason for Amsterdam’s failure to move forward 20 years ago is because the people steering the ship were the same ones that contributed to its downfall.
         
         
        Diane,
        Aluminum is a metal and so by nature is a fat better material than the old, which will rot over time.  I thought this was pretty self-explanatory, and one need only look at the proof by looking at the old one.  It should have been this way from the start if you ask me.  The aluminum is a better choice in that while the initial price is more, there is a savings over the life of the dock since it a) won’t need to be replaced in 5 years; and b) requires almost no maintenance from rot, weatherization, etc.  Think about how many pairs of average, cheap shoes you’ve bought over 3 or 4 years when you instead could have paid more for one pair that could have lasted you 5 years.

        • Rob,

          You apparently misunderstood my statement, which was about docking fees collected from boaters visiting Riverlink Park. Diane stated they go to the concession owner and I was under the impression they went to the Waterfront Foundation.

          I could find no logical reason why these fees would go to profit the concession owner or any private business. Docking fees collected should be invested back in the park; since the park was constructed using grant money as well as private donations to a not for profit effort.

        • Sorry- didn’t clarify: the fees go back to the Rec. Dept.’s revenue. There’s no misunderstanding. It’s quite clear actually.

  6. diane

    Sorry, I will ck the contract, but as I remember the concessionaire gets all the docking fees for the boats. I do agree with Jerry though, putting them back into the park is a better idea. Nothing goes back into the rec dept. Even the new tent contract agreed to tonight, the money comes back to the city. Maybe that can be put in a special acct for the park and only spend what comes into that account.:)

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