ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan says it’s been more than five years since the idea of an Albany Skyway first came up during planning for the Corning Preserve. Now, finally the first construction crews are getting down to business Monday.
“You’re not going to miss that ramp, and we are going to be able to turn it into a really exciting asset to have here in the city,” Sheehan says.
Mayor Sheehan says so far detours around the former Clinton Avenue bridge to Quay Street have been smooth. The first order of business is to make use of the river-side closest Corning Preserve.
“There is an area that was really underutilized that is going to become an area where people can sit, where they can picnic, where it’s going to be gathering space,” Sheehan explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.
She also says this may point to an even larger discussion — should New York consider taking down I-787?
“It takes up a tremendous amount of real estate, and then we also have these arterial roads that go along side it. So you have these redundancies,” she says.
Sheehan says the new linear park will provide walkable access from Arbor Hill and Clinton Square so all families will have equal access to the waterfront, trails, and park amenities.
“I really wanted to demonstrate for people what can happen when you take just a piece of that infrastructure and do something different with it,” she says.
The Albany Skyway project is funded through a federal grant dedicated to relaxing traffic congestion to the amount of $5 million. The remaining of the project’s overall $13 million budget comes from $1.9 million from a 2018 NYS Downtown Revitalization Grant, $3.1 million from the NYS Department of Transportation, which oversees the project, as well as city funds.
Sheehan also addressed other promising projects discussed for years whenever conversations steer towards beautifying and stimulating downtown Albany. A gondola project that would suspend a lift across the Hudson River over to Rensselaer continues to stagnate as the private company in charge of the planning has yet to submit permits necessary, though Sheehan says her office stands ready to review and approve a working plan when that time arises.
Sheehan also says the owners of the Old Clinton Warehouse are still tied up in back taxes negotiations with the county and court proceedings are on hold for several city safety violations. Sheehan says she hopes the Albany Skywalk will encourage investors to consider the building’s possibilities.