Posts Tagged With: riverlink park phase II

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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Categories: Amsterdam, Art, Media | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood


It was such a beautiful day today I decided to take a walk and see what was happening. My first stop was Riverlink Park where I ran into Congressman Paul Tonko, who was there to check on the progress of Phase II construction. “I’ve been waiting fifteen years for this!” he exclaimed.  Bulldozers and graders were buzzing as they moved dirt to create paths. Artist Alice Manzi was supervising the Painted Rock sculpture she was commissioned to create for the park. The cinderblock center was now covered with steel framework and metal mesh. A mixture composed of cement and fiberglass was being blown into the framework through firehose by Manzi’s associates. There seemed to be an issue with adherence as they stopped the pumps to study the results. Soon after the pumps were back on as work continued on the large sculpture that is representative of a rock formation just east of the park that once contained paintings done by the Native Americans who were Amsterdam’s first residents.

I asked Congressman Tonko what he thought about the steel girder from the World Trade Center scheduled for installation in the new park.  He stated he did not mind it as long as it was not near the Painted Rock sculpture that he described as “sacred ground”.

While in the park I ran into an older gentlemen (yes older than me) named Sam, who was also observing the activity in the park. He pointed out the new deck erected at the Riverlink Café with great views of the river. Sam was quick to comment on how wonderful he thought the park was, but was very critical of the negativity displayed by WCSS radio personalities who “have nothing good to say”.  He also went on to say that there is no good coverage of Amsterdam in the local papers these days.  Sam stated he prefers to stay in the background when I asked him for his full name.

After leaving Riverlink Park I took a walk down East Main Street and on the current pedestrian walkway over the Mohawk where I took some photos of the Chalmers building. There was a small pile of rubble in front of one of the buildings and a couple of cranes, but there didn’t seem to be any demolition going on this morning.

It was a great morning with mostly clear sky and some puffy clouds that worked well with my wide-angle lens.

Categories: Amsterdam, Art, Photography | Tags: , , , , , ,

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