Fonda,Fultonville revitalizing waterfronts

The neighboring villages of Fonda and Fultonville – sitting on opposite sides of the Mohawk River -?are working on projects to revitalize their waterfronts.

“I think this is going to provide an area for people of the community to use the river,” Fultonville’s Mayor Bob Headwell said.

Fultonville received a grant from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund in 2008 for $135,000, matched by money from the village, for a waterfront project.

“The village of Fultonville, the village of Fonda, the town of Glen and the town of Mohawk worked on a riverfront plan of what we wanted along the whole river, through the whole area,” Headwell said. “The main goal is to put in a whole boardwalk, but we knew we couldn’t afford that. You’re talking millions of dollars.”

Fultonville worked out a smaller project instead: a T-shaped dock connecting to a concrete landing that will include a handicapped-accessible ramp and stairs. There will be a small parking lot and a sidewalk. The dock will be on Riverside Drive, next to the Fultonville Dunkin’ Donuts.

In February, Fultonville awarded a contract for the project to R & J Kerr of Gansevoort.

Headwell said he was hoping the project would be finished by the end of August, but it isn’t done yet.

“There have been a lot of setbacks with the river coming up a couple of times and filling the … holes with mud,” he said. “Every time we turn around, there’s been another setback for them. They couldn’t work because of those problems, and then there was a telephone pole in the way, which slowed the project down for another two or three weeks, so it’s just been a long project.”

Ron Kerr, owner of R&J Kerr, said he expects the project will be done at the end of October.

“We’re still in the process of pouring the concrete walls and getting everything constructed,” Kerr said.

Headwell said he thinks people will use the dock once it’s completed.

“I think it’s going to stop some people on the river,” he said. “It will also provide a spot where people that might want to go canoeing can actually walk down to the river, go on the docks, put a canoe in the river, come back out and leave.”

He said local businesses, such as gas stations, are thinking of ways to sell to boaters using the new dock.

“It’s starting to get people to start thinking of different ways that they can be a part of it,” he said.

Kerr said he thinks the design of the dock is efficient and people will enjoy it.

“I think it’s a nice, clean design,” Kerr said. “It’s economically tasteful.”

Headwell said the estimated cost of the project was about $270,000, and the actual price will be “almost exactly to the estimated cost.”

“I think it’s going to be a good thing for the community,” he said. “People look at it as something a little different, a change, but it’s something we need. These are the small things that we can do. We can’t afford the million-dollar projects, but these small projects we can do and move forward.”

As Fultonville is close to completing its waterfront project, the village of Fonda is starting its own.

Mayor Bill Peeler said Fonda plans to construct a waterfront park in Fonda next to the Canal Corp. maintenance facility. He said the park will be handicapped-accessible and include a boat launch, a restroom facility, parking for boats, a veterans memorial, picnic tables and an entertainment pavilion.

In 2008, the village received a $140,000 state grant for the project’s first phase, which includes designing and planning the park.

Michael Rizzo of Mike Rizzo Associates created the design for the village.

Now that the planning is complete, the construction will begin, Peeler said.

He said the Canal Corp. fence was moved by village employees this summer to gain access to the land. He said he’s waiting for permits from the state Department of Environmental Conservation before the village can seek bids from contractors.

Peeler said he hopes to have the first waterfront park event by next July.

“I’m hoping all of us can get on the same page and get most of this accomplished next spring,” he said.

Peeler doesn’t have an estimated cost of the project yet. He said a lot of the work can be done by village employees and “save a tremendous amount of money.”

He said he thinks the park will attract people to the village.

“I think it’ll help enhance the interest in that area,” he said. “I know a lot of communities are doing it, and we’re looking at our own ideas to attract people down there too. You don’t realize what we have here until you’ve seen other areas. It gives you some appreciation. I think overall, this is a great place to live.”

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