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Gouverneur Route 11 project coming

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GOUVERNEUR — Route 11 will be reconstructed through part of the village this year by the state Department of Transportation, paving the way for long-awaited water improvements that will help the Kinney Drugs warehouse and east side, but could curtail the activities of two other businesses.

The project will include a center turning lane, the closure of Beckwith Street, a closed drainage system that will pipe storm water to the Oswegatchie River, coordination with the village to replace water and sewer mains, intersection changes and a west-side sidewalk. Part of the work will be the reconstruction of Main Street from North Gordon to Railroad streets. Another part will replace a drainage system along Trinity Avenue and North Gordon Street.

The work goes out to bid March 28. Construction will begin this spring, span two years and likely end in the fall of 2014, DOT spokesman Michael R. Flick said.

Improvements that will increase water pressure and flow, long desired by Kinney to reduce its insurance costs brought on by the system’s inadequacies, will be completed the first year, Mr. Flick said.

The village and Kinney had planned to install pipes and temporary fixes in case the DOT project was delayed but held off as it became clear the work would begin this year.

“We’re trying to figure out the smart way to do this,” Mayor Ronald P. McDougall said. “We would not want the work to be repetitive.”

Kinney decided not to put in a temporary storage tank, estimated to cost $70,000, but is installing pumps and piping inside its facility in preparation of the roadwork, said Mickey G. Lehman, executive vice president of Bernier, Carr & Associates, Watertown, the village’s consultant.

The work also includes sprinkler upgrades and other fire suppression improvements, said Patrick J. Kelly, executive director of the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency.

“The tank was a stopgap measure,” Mr. Kelly said. “It made more sense to put the money toward upgrading the systems.”

Kenneth F. Richardson, who operates Richardson Flooring, 445 E. Main St., with his father, Calvin N., is glad for the improvements that will keep Kinney in the village but is not optimistic about the effect of the project on his own business or on A Plus Auto, 470 Main St.

Mr. Richardson said the state is taking so much of his property that the number of parking spaces he will have left will put him in violation of village ordinances.

“Parking is a huge problem and will continue to be. It limits the growth of our business. They’re making it so narrow it’s almost unusable,” he said. “They offered what they felt was a fair amount, but my opinion is it did not take our livelihood into consideration. I feel they should have bought this property.”

Mr. Flick said Mr. Richardson should not give up if he believes he is in the right.

“If he really feels it’s not going to work, he should pursue the conversation,” Mr. Flick said.

Mr. Richardson said he retained his right to sue but suspects he would spend more on legal costs than he could recoup.

DOT changed part of its design to include mountable curbs that could help with deliveries, but the solution is imperfect.

“Ideally, it’s not what we would like either,” Mr. Flick said.

A-Plus also is not looking forward to how the project will cut into space it has used for parking. A move is possible.

“I don’t know at this time,” owner William D. Infield said. “Nothing’s changed, not enough.”

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