While a large percentage of the country has seen a drop in construction jobs, Cohoes has seen an overwhelming increase throughout the City from both public and private investments. Nearly 300 construction workers are working on projects in the City, the largest project being conducted by the Cohoes City School District at five of the district’s six buildings.
The school district construction projects, which total approximately $45 million, are being funded by state aid and have no impact on the tax rate. They were approved by voters in three separate votes in May 2006, March 2007 and June 2008, and include: new classrooms, including a Universal Prekindergarten Center; physical education and athletics facilities; energy efficiency upgrades; technology updates; improved traffic flow; parking and pedestrian upgrades; as well as improvements to ground water drainage. Currently there are 115 workers at the five sites.
The project scopes were carefully considered to align with the district and the Board of Education’s long-range building plans for the future. Because the district was able to take advantage of the one-time state money and its substantial building aid ratio, taxpayers are being afforded the opportunity to see more modern facilities for our students and the community.
“Our district’s need for updated instructional and recreational spaces, coinciding with the availability of state and federal funding, has enabled us to make building upgrades while being sensitive to the local property taxpayer,” said Superintendent of Schools Robert K. Libby. “In addition, we have created job opportunities.”
Harmony Mills Fallsview Lofts is the second largest project under construction and is the second phase of the Harmony Mill Lofts. This project, estimated at over $20 million, is contracted by HR Beebe Construction of Utica and is providing over 100 jobs on site. The project will result in 134 new loft style apartments, the largest unit being a 2,900 square foot, three bedroom apartment with spectacular views of the Mohawk River and the Cohoes Falls. This project is ahead of schedule with a projected completion date of early 2011.
There are two American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) federal stimulus projects in the City of Cohoes. The first is the $7 million Bridge Avenue Bridge Reconstruction Project providing a dozen full-time jobs on site with additional workers from companies that are sub contracted. In addition to the on-site workers, there are jobs off-site at cement and asphalt plants that are providing the material to build the bridge which is slated for completion later this year. ING Civil Inc. of Maplewood is the contractor.
The second ARRA project is the $500,000 Vliet Street Waterline Replacement and Storm Sewer Improvement project. This stimulus funded project replaced aging and deteriorating infrastructure in worker housing that had been causing hardship to the neighborhood due to the frequency of water breaks. This project, being constructed by Peter Luizzi & Bros. Contracting of Albany, also includes a separation of the storm sewers which will provide relief during large storm events and will also reduce the amount of water that flows to the combined system. This job has 10 full-time employees working on the project site.
“In these difficult times in our nation’s history, we are fortunate to continue investments in our community, whether it is public facilities or private sector. Thanks to several different funding sources as well as private investment, the community of Cohoes continues to grow and we are thankful especially during these difficult times,” said Mayor John T. McDonald III.