Press-Republican

November 14, 2013

State funds sought for South Catherine St. rehab

By JOE LoTEMPLIO
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — City of Plattsburgh officials are hopeful work can begin next spring on the total rehabilitation of South Catherine Street.

“We are shovel ready,” City Engineer Kevin Farrington said.

The $8 million project includes a major overhaul of South Catherine Street from the Richard S. Perry Bridge to South Peru Street.

The work would include a new road and curbing and all new water, sewer and storm-sewer systems.

‘HORRIBLE’

The street is notorious for its uneven surface and is strewn with potholes.

“It’s horrible. It’s one of the worst roads in the city,” said Perry Buck, owner of City Taxi.

He said most of the drivers of his 18 taxicabs avoid that section of South Catherine Street whenever they can, but it is difficult since many customers come from that end of town.

“We do a lot of business down there, and that road is just so rough,” Buck said.

“It certainly doesn’t help our vehicles.”

AWAITING DECISION

The project design was completed this year with the help of about $600,000 in funding from the federal government.

Farrington said they should hear from the state by the end of the year about whether the city is going to receive the major portion of funding for the complete project.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed and keep hoping,” he said.

The road is a city thoroughfare but officially is considered Route 22, a state road. The city is responsible for the upkeep.

BUMPS FOR GOVERNOR

Mayor Donald Kasprzak said he also is hopeful the state will come through with the funding.

Last year, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in Plattsburgh, Kasprzak took him on a bus tour of the city, which included a rough ride down South Catherine Street.

“He felt the bumps firsthand and experienced our rough-road issues,” the mayor said.

Kasprzak said that with the growth of Plattsburgh International Airport and the industrial section in the South End of the city, that portion of South Catherine Street is of great importance.

“The council and I have made this project our priority since first taking office, and I am hopeful the construction phase of this project will begin next year,” he said.

“I appreciate the public’s patience all these years while we worked with Department of Transportation officials to finalize the appropriate funding.”

TIMING

Farrington said that if the funding comes through by the end of this year, work can begin in the spring.

He expects the job to take about two years.

“If we get good weather and all the stars align perfectly, we might be able to get it done in one year, but it’s probably going to be a two-year project,” he said.

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com