New lights and sidewalks to be installed in Margaretville

By Geoff Samuels
There’s more to a sidewalk than meets the eye! On Wednesday, Sept.12, the Margaretville Village Board held a special meeting to address questions about new sidewalks that are slated to be installed in the village next month.

Mayor Bill Stanton and Village Trustee Iris Mead explained to the small group that grant money had been received from the Smart Growth Program for this project, including new street lighting and new trees along Main Street.

“All the telephone poles from Steve Tanzer’s building on down will be removed and those wires will be buried under the new sidewalks” Stanton said.

Then, seven new poles with streetlights will be installed. The problem was, Mead added, stipulations in the grant require that contractors be paid “prevailing wages,” which have gone up since the grant was issued several years ago. This left a shortfall in funds for the planned work.

MARK makes it happen
Mayor Stanton commented that MARK Project Executive Director Peg Ellsworth had “worked tirelessly” to roll over a pre-existing grant into this one in order to help meet the expenses for the project.

In a phone interview, Ellsworth elaborated that a grant from the Department of Environmental Protection Agency’s Local Water Revitalization Program (LWRP) had been received for the construction of walkways along the East Branch of the Delaware River.

However, Delaware County had managed to come up with the funds for that project on its own and the grant money was about to be returned. Realizing the sidewalk project was short of funds, she went to work on consolidating the two grants, adding that the agencies were quite willing to work with her on this idea.

As the meeting progressed, Stanton and Mead explained that the Smart Growth Grant money would only pay for the first five feet of sidewalk from the street curb out towards the storefronts. Replacement of the rest of the sidewalk between that five-foot mark and the storefronts themselves would be the optional responsibility of the business owners along Main Street, who would receive a 50-percent rebate from the village after their part of the work was completed.

Axel Schwolow of Frank Lumia Real Estate wanted to know if the funds were actually in hand to begin the project, to which Stanton replied that they were. Also in attendance was Kim Mathiesen of 768 main who asked what business owners might find underneath the old sidewalks when they did their part of the excavation. She was assured that any water or sewer lines were well beneath the depth needed for sidewalk repairs, and the only things likely to be found were the old coal chutes that led to the storefront basements.

Stanton then added that in order to make the job go as smoothly as possible, he would supply store owners with a list of contractors currently bidding on the project for the village, with the hope that this might facilitate all the work being done at the same time under the same contractor.
As of Wednesday’s meeting, the sidewalk project has not been officially signed of on by the mayor pending finalization of bids.