PART ONE: DOWNTOWN UPGRADES
By JIM KEVLIN • Special www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – “How big are they?” asked the dimunitive Merrilyn O’Connell on learning computerized trash cans to be installed in downtown Cooperstown this summer will have to be attached to the sidewalk to erase any chance they will fall over on someone.
Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch sought to reassure O’Connell – it seems they aren’t as tall as Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk – during the first of two public briefings in Village Hall’s Ballroom this evening, dealing with the final $2.2 million pieces of a multi-year upgrade to the Main Street neighborhood. Work began this week. (A second briefing dealt with $5.8 million in Doubleday Field renovations.)
Since the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, the state Department of Homeland Security has required village crews to remove all trash cans from the downtown during the annual Parade of Legends during Hall of Fame Weekends.
These futuristic receptacles, however, can be automatically locked remotely during the Legends parade “…so people won’t be able to put anything ‘detrimental’ in them,” the mayor explained, then unlocked when the parade is over.
Computer-fitted, the trash cans, which also include solar-powered compactors, can be monitored from Village Hall or the garage on Linden Avenue, where crews will be dispatched only when they need to be emptied, optimizing efficiencies.
This final phase of the upgrades will be in two parts – from now until Memorial Day, and after Labor Day – to avoid interfering with the summer season.
The mayor detailed other highlights:
• The redo of the traffic signal at Main and Chestnut (to be done in the fall) will be the topic a later briefing, but the mayor assured the 30 attendees there will only be a single signal, a topic of concern at earlier hearings.
• Citizens who may want to memorialize a loved one can sponsor one of the new benches for $350, including an inscription on a memorial brass plate. Uniform, the vintage-style benches have wooden planking on a metal base.
• To accommodate street banners now strung between Key Bank and Sal’s Pizzeria, two sets of ornamental polls will be installed to allow the banners to be hung across Main Street at two points.
• Pioneer Park will be redone, with pavers replacing the gravel and a low stage installed at the Tunnicliff Inn end. The Cooperstown Chamber kiosk will be moved from the corner and placed next to Riverwood’s wall. And a three-level water fountain – for someone in a wheelchairs, kids and adults – will be installed.
Representatives attended from the state Department of Transportation, engineer Barton & Loguidice, and the construction firm Upstate Construction from Guilford, but they weren’t questioned specifically.
Check back later this evening for a report on PART II: DOUBLEDAY FIELD