The Chamber of Southern Saratoga County’s
award-winning community development
project at historic Lock 19 was dedicated
with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 29.
The new student-designed bridge allows
public access to the center of the twin-lock
complex for the first time in 95 years.
The bridge construction and cleanup
effort was spearheaded by the Chamber
in conjunction with partners such as GE,
Momentive, Turner Construction, Curtis
Lumber, the Shenendehowa Central School
District, the state Canal Corporation, the
town of Clifton Park, the Mohawk Towpath
Scenic Byway and others.
“This project is a perfect example of the benefit of public-private partnerships, education and business partnerships, and of the usefulness and relevance of your Chamber of Commerce,” said Pete Bardunias, chamber president and CEO.
About 50 people attended, including Canal Corp Director Brian Stratton, state Sen. Hugh Farley’s representative Michael Mansion, and Assemblyman Jim Tedisco.
“We are standing here today because of a group effort that included not only our large corporate sponsors but small, independent businesses too, all working together to make a tangible difference right here in our community,” said Bardunias.
Work on the historic Lock 19 bridge commenced in the spring of 2012 and was finished before Christmas. Winter weather delayed the official opening.
Lock 19 and its new bridge are open to the public all year round, conditions permitting. Access is from the end of Ferry Drive in Rexford.
The project received an award at the annual GOBY awards sponsored by the Stakeholders’ Regional Volunteer Center, based in Albany. The event celebrates those who “Get On Board” and volunteer for worthy projects and initiatives in the Capital Region.
The effort took an abandoned 1842 Erie Canal lock, which had been lost to history for 95 years, and made it not only visible, but accessible the public and to maintenance equipment needed to properly take care of the site.
Bardunias said the project came to fruition due to “concerned citizens wanting to make a difference. Businesspeople from large and small firms who came forward to help complete the project, devoting some 1,600 hours and about $150,000 in in-kind services to its success.”
The businesses who received the GOBY award included Turner Construction, Curtis Lumber, GE Power and Water, Momentive Performance Materials, AJS Masonry, County Waste, Keller and Sons, Legacy Timber Frames, Siena Fence Company, TREX, Gil VanGuilder Surveyors and SMRT Architects and Engineers, PC.
Bardunias said some 80 high school students took part in the educational and cultural exercise, “a model of true collaboration in every sense of the word.”
“This was also a project about people. For example, James Wachala, senior project engineer for Turner Construction, was an indispensable leader of the team, putting in a substantial amount of time in the planning stages and helping the students get connected with their corporate mentors,” he said.
Paul Kehoe, an engineer from GE, mentored students, as did Bryan Gonyeau from Momentive and others. Jay Curtis and Doug Ford from Curtis Lumber made sure there were enough materials and Jim Landau from SMRT put the final design together to ensure modern standards of construction, Bardunias said.
For more information, contact the Chamber at 371-7748 or www.southernsaratoga.org.