October 20, 2021

Road project on track

Clinton Avenue work to resume; Wickwire pool on hold

Kevin Conlon/city editor

Two trucks pass Monday on Clinton Avenue in Cortland. Though some construction projects will stall following a state order because of coronavirus, city officials said work begins Monday on the $21 million effort to replace water and sewer lines, and other infrastructure.

Work on Clinton Avenue in Cortland to update water and sewer lines will resume for the season Monday, as city officials debate the need to continue work on or start other construction projects.

“I think that is outside the realm of what is deemed non-essential,” Nic Dovi, the assistant superintendent of public works, said Monday. Water and sewer lines are considered an essential utility. “We don’t want to put people at risk without it being critical,” he said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order Friday to stop all nonessential construction projects until at least April 15 to decrease the likelihood of spreading coronavirus at work sites.

According to the governor’s announcement: Emergency construction — one meant to protect the health and safety of the public — will be allowed.

Construction can continue on any site that would be considered unsafe if not done, until the site can be safely shut down.

  • Construction on roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or health care facilities, affordable housing, and homeless shelters will be allowed.

However, measures to maintain social distancing will be required. Sites that cannot meet those standards must close or face a fine up to $10,000 per violation.

  • Construction work does not include a site where there is only one person doing the job. Having multiple people working on something like a remodeling project at a home or business would not be allowed, said Jack Sterne, a spokesman for the governor’s office.

The $21 million project to uproot and replace the infrastructure of the city’s east-west corridor along Clinton and Groton avenues between Pomeroy Street and Floral Avenue began in July and is expected to take anywhere from four to five years.

However, another project that has already begun in the city is now on hold.

Work on Wickwire pool house at Suggett Park began two weeks ago, but has stopped, said John McNerney, the city’s director of recreation and parks. McNerney said he and Mayor Brian Tobin were working with other city officials to determine what projects are considered essential under the executive order.

The project is expected to cost $682,000, he said; $407,000 of that will be covered by a state Environmental Protection Fund grant, and another $235,000 will be paid from a city fund for Community Development Block Grant repayments.

The project will renovate the inside and outside of the building, providing new roofing, bathrooms and locker rooms, as well as bathrooms accessible from the outside that will be open to public use between May and September — when the outside splash pad is open, but the Wickwire pool is closed.

A public address system will be installed, as well as roofing over the currently open-air shower areas, a ramp for people with disabilities and new pool deck lighting.

The hope was to have the project done by June, it is unclear if that will be the case now.

Cortland County Highway Superintendent Charles Sudbrink said county projects are still on track to begin April 20.