October 18, 2021

Alvena Avenue on agenda

City to hold hearing on its closure; vote to come later

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

A vehicle is shown turning onto Alvena Avenue from Homer Avenue by Guthrie Cortland Medical Center.

Cortland residents will be able to share their opinion tonight on the abandonment of a city street during the Cortland Common Council meeting, though action is not going to be taken until later, Mayor Brian Tobin said Monday.

The city will have a public hearing during its Common Council meeting to give residents an opportunity to comment on the planned closure of a 600-foot portion of Alvena Avenue, a plan by Guthrie Cortland
Medical Center’s to make it safer for patients crossing from the northern parking lot to the main entrance, said Denise Wrinn, the chief financial officer of Guthrie Cortland Medical Center.

The street, which bisects the hospital and a parking lot it owns to the north, would serve as the entrance to the parking lot at the hospital, Cortland County planning documents show.

The hospital’s main parking lot would be reconfigured, too.

The northern parking lot would be paved — it’s gravel now — and have plantings along the perimeter to block lights for neighbors, Tobin said.

Tobin said because of the scope of the project, he wanted to give the public a chance to share their thoughts and give councilpersons time to reflect before they vote at a future meeting.

“We’re just looking to move it along in the appropriate time frame,” he said.

Once approved by council, Tobin said city officials like himself would meet with officials from the hospital to discuss plans to close a part of the road.

Road markings — such as concrete barriers with signs prohibiting entry — will be placed at the intersection of Homer and Alvena avenues when the road is closed.

Cortland Guthrie President Jen Yartym said in July the project would likely begin next spring and be completed by the end of the 2022 construction season, though Wrinn said Monday that work is likely going to begin in 2023 because work from the hospital’s recently opened $10.6 million cancer caused delays on this project.

Wrinn said the new layout will be especially safer for patients with disabilities as those spaces will be moved right next to the hospital. Some spots for people with disabilities are still across the street in the northern parking lot.

Old estimates for the project were in the $2 million to $3 million range, but Wrinn said those numbers were likely outdated and did not have a new cost as the project is still in the planning and design phase. All costs of the project will be covered by Guthrie, she said.

The section of Alvena Avenue that will remain open will still be accessible from Copeland Avenue and Loope Street.

With the recent completion of the cancer center, this further work around the hospital is a benefit for the city, Tobin said.

“It’ll be good for the neighbors and good for anyone who needs to go to the hospital,” he said.