Town sees light at end of new East Chatham bridge

CHATHAM–Town Highway Superintendent Joe Rickert announced at the Town Board meeting last Thursday that a traffic light will be installed on the Albany Turnpike Bridge in East Chatham near the intersection with state Route 295. He said he hoped the project will start in June and be finished by December of this year.

Mr. Rickert said the town had received a grant through the office of Senator Kathy Marchione (R-43rd) for $100,000 and that the whole project should cost $180,000. He is meeting with the town’s engineers about the project and he said that he is still waiting on the permits from the state Department of Transportation. And the town will have to find $80,000 to cover the rest of the cost of the light.

At the January 21 meeting, he thanked resident Adelle Kleiman-Levine, who circulated petitions that she sent the state to have the traffic light put in. “Without Adelle I would still be wondering where I was going with this project,” he said.

CSX, the railroad company that owns the tracks beneath the bridge, replaced span in 2014, reducing the width to one lane. Residents had come to several town board meetings to complain about the sight lines for cars coming off of Route 295 onto the bridge. During the construction of the bridge, CSX included wiring for a traffic light at the request of the Town Board. But the company would not install a light, according to Mr. Rickert.

The board did not discuss where the $80,000 would come from in the budget, but Mr. Rickert said he was hoping to put together bids for the work when he meets with the engineer.

Also at last week’s meeting the board received the resignation of Recreation Director Shari Franks. Ms. Franks accused the board of trying to cut the recreation program–often called the park program–during her department report. “You don’t have to get rid of the park program, you’re getting rid of me,” she said, giving her two-week’s notice.

Ms. Franks asked board members if they had been talking to the Morris Memorial Board about taking over the program.

Supervisor Maria Lull said, “We are in conversation.” She also said that the board wants “to make sure we’re exploring all the options.”

The town runs a summer day camp program and also manages a skate park as well as staffing the beach with lifeguards for the pond at Crellin Park during the summer. The board did not discuss any further plans to for the program for this coming summer or what they will be do about the vacancy for recreation director.

Also at the meeting:

  • The board hired Nan Stolzenburg, a planner who helped update the town’s Comprehensive Plan, to compile the information from the Zoning Implementation Committee (ZIC) into a report for a price not to exceed $4,000 and to report back to the board in 60 days
  • The ZIC’s proposed changes and updates to the town’s zoning laws are now on the town’s website at chathamnewyork.us
  • The board passed a motion to keep open the time to receive applications for the position of town attorney until January 30
  • James Quinn was appointed building inspector for 15 hours a week with a 6-month probation period
  • The board hired the firm of Pattison, Koskey, Howe and Bucci, CPAs, of Hudson and Valatie, to be the town’s comptroller.

The next board meeting will be Thursday, February 18 at 7 p.m. in the town hall on Route 295.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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