Taking action: Watervliet residents fill potholes on city streets

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- It’s a familiar nuisance to residents across the Capital Region—potholes. A group of residents in Watervliet decided to take action and fill several of them with their own resources. In response to shedding light on the issue, the City of Watervliet is now prioritizing the problem.

“I don’t think it’s unique for anybody. Any mayor or any city or any place across the country has to deal with it,” Watervliet Mayor Charles Patricelli said. “There’s always going to be people that say, this what you should be doing first.”

Watervliet resident Charles (Chuck) Luckey was fed up with the pothole next to his house. So when he heard fellow resident Tim Cavanaugh was looking to fix it, he was eager to help.

“It was so deep that trucks and trailers, anything that hit it it would rattle, actually rattle the house,” Luckey said.

Cavanaugh put out a call to action on Facebook, and Luckey offered to purchase bags of blacktop while Joseph Stanley, the owner of Stanley General Construction, offered to assist.

When News10’s Stephanie Rivas asked Cavanaugh why he decided to fill these potholes, the answer was simple.

“My heart is into Watervliet,” Cavanaugh said. “These guys [the Department of Public Works] throw garbage all day long. It’s not their fault.”

After 37 years of working for the Department of Public Works in Watervliet, Cavanaugh said he understands the other side coin and doesn’t blame them.

“This is great. We’ve been promoting volunteerism and community involvement for years. This is nothing new,” Mayor Patricelli said.

Patricelli agreed that no one likes potholes, but the city has to decide what to prioritize. He added that those decisions aren’t always easy to make when there are employee scheduling setbacks and weather issues to combat.

Watervliet’s General Manager, Joseph LaCivita, said this resident initiative had brought a silver lining by shining a light on the importance of the issue to the people of Watervliet. However, he doesn’t want residents taking on city property in the future. 

“I think that’s what it’s done, is figure out how do we get it to the top and try to make sure that the people are happy,” LaCivita said.

In response, the Department of Public Works employees filled a large pothole in front of the Watervliet Price Chopper. Cavanaugh saw the city’s reaction to his efforts as a victory, but not a final solution to what he believes are continued staffing issues in the City of Watervliet.

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