BY MICHELLE MILLER
Village board members are entertaining two engineering proposals on replacing sidewalks and lamp posts on Main Street in Cooperstown.
Jim Gillespie of Lamont Engineers and Jon McManus of McManus Engineering gave presentations during Monday night’s meeting, but board members decided they needed another month to mall everything over before making any decisions.
According to Mayor Joe Booan, who is also the chair of the maintenance committee, it was heard loud and clear that this project is a priority to the village residents during a town hall meeting two years ago. He said the maintenance committee has determined there are three street projects of significance that need to get done the sidewalks on Main Street, Susquehanna Avenue and the village line coming down Walnut Street.
“I would like to see things move forward by having the board accept one of these proposals, with the anticipation that the project will be paid for with surplus money,” Booan said.
Trustee Jeff Katz said he does not see how a $550,000- to-$740,000 project is going to get funded.
Booan said the village has more than $700,000 left in surplus money and he would like to see that money go to work for the residents. He said he also went to the county to ask that bed tax money be given to Cooperstown.
“There is a proposal for them to give us $100,000 alone for this project specifically,” Booan said. Trustee James Dean said he would like to propose paid parking again to support the project.
However, Booan said that is a much bigger and separate issue that he is open to exploring again.
Trustee Ellen Tillagaugh said she does not feel it is a good idea to use up the surplus money when the village does not know what lies ahead. She said she supports the idea at looking at paid parking on Main Street to support the project.
Booan said final costs of the project will not be known until the village goes out to bid for a contractor if the green light is given.
Deputy Mayor Walter Franck said he believes the board heard two very strong proposals and he thinks the project is a priority and the next step should be taken. However, he said the board should have a better idea on how to fund the project.
“It probably is not a good idea to use all our surplus funds,” he said.
Gillispie said he does not foresee the proposed project as being simple.
“We do not know what is under the existing sidewalks, and we will not know until weremove them,” he said.
According to Gillipsie’s presentation, the village is looking to replace or repair 44 light posts. There would be a need to run conduit underground, he explained.
Gillipsie said he would have to alk the site and pinpoint how to replace and match sidewalks to the curb and existing buildings.
“This will be a little tricky,” he said. “We have to avoid trip hazards and a lot of property is not up to code.”
Gillipsie said he anticipates having to replace a lot of curbing and construction time will be tough on businesses because there will have to be use of a lot of temporary ramps.
“It will be a lengthy project if you want to make sure it is done correctly and that it lasts for year,” Gillipsie said.
He gave the board a timeframe of five to six weeks, whereas McManus said he thinks that is optimistic thinking. He said it could take up to two months.
Both engineers said work could not be done in the winter months when there is less foot and vehicle traffic because of cracking of the concrete. Gillipsie said he would not want to do work much past November because nights will become too cold and become an issue. He proposed beginning the project in May.
McManus said haven grown up in this area and knowing tourist bombard the village as soon as Spring hits, he recommends postponing the project to next September when there is less people.
Gillispie said a boundary survey would eat up a big cost of the project and said the village would not have to do one on every property, but could instead get a construction easement from each property owner. He recommended that members of the boardgo around and talk to the property owners about what they are proposing. The village could save a potential $14,000 if it did not do a boundary survey, according to Gillipsie.
McManus said would recommend the village go ahead and do the survey and to make sure it is a very detailed one. He said he believes it is very prudent to get the entire Main Street area boundary surveyed.
The biggest issue with this project will be the existing conditions are not ideal, said McManus.
“The biggest unknown is how the public and business owners will be affected,” he said. McManus recommended having a pre design meeting so the public can come to voice concerns. It is important that as the construction schedule changes everyone is aware of them, McManus said.
Both engineers said work would be done in sections or blocks so everyone is affected as little as possible.
McManus said in order to reduce any problems, he would have morning meetings with the contractor chosen to do the job to make sure everyone is on the same page each day. He said he would also make himself available to the contractor at all times in case there are any problems.
There needs to be a basic maintenance, parking and traffic plan, according to McManus.
He said residence and business owners also need to be aware that there will be reduced parking on Main Street.
McManus said to make sure sediment does not run into the sewage and into water supply, catch basins will need to be placed in parking areas.
People will have to stay off the sidewalks for a minimum of 72 hours once the cement is poured, added McManus.
The two engineers said they would not be opposed to working on the project together if the village thought it could save money by doing so. T hey recommended that the board put the project out to bid in February or March, during a less busy time for contractors.
They said this would allow contractors to take a better look at the proposal and give them more time to come up with a plan and costs.