Gary Herzig

Herzig

The Oneonta Common Council approved funds related to the city’s street light replacement project and paused the installation of Main Street bike lanes at its meeting Tuesday.

The bicycle lanes would run along both sides of Main Street between Hunt Street and East End Avenue. The addition of the lanes would restrict parking along several points on that path.

Linda Levrock, owner of the Hair Affair on 407 Main St., said the restrictions would eliminate parking options for her clients. They are often elderly, she said, and may be hesitant to use the driveway of her building because they have to back out into traffic.

“If I lose the parking, I will lose those people. They don’t want to walk, especially in the winter time,” Levrock said. “I would like to see a bike path, but give me my two spots. That’s all I ask for.”

Several others expressed their support for the bike lanes, including the environmental and physical health benefits it would provide, but emphasized the need to provide options for those who regularly park on those streets.

Council Member Frazier, who represents the First Ward, said that at a ward meeting only two out of 22 constituents expressed support for the bike lanes.

To accommodate Levrock’s clients, Frazier suggested providing the parking lot at Homestead Funding at 395 Main St., which she said is almost always vacant.

Ultimately, the council decided to table the decision for its next meeting in two weeks to allow for more discussion. 

The council voted to provide $500,000 from the city’s general fund balance to purchase and install new street lights and dispose of the old ones.

Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig said the new LED lights, which are more efficient and will be of higher quality than the current streetlights, will have an expected payback through saved electricity costs of around 10 years. 

The council also authorized the issuance of $1,487,277 in serial bonds to partially fund the street light replacement project.

As part of a project to convert city street lights to LED lights, the city will purchase 1,094 street lights and associated facilities from New York State Electric and Gas.

The New York Power Authority will provide financing for the purchase of the street lighting system and cover the cost of the replacement bulbs, and the city will repay NYPA through a long-term financing program.

In other business, the council:

• Honored three city employees as Employees of the Quarter. Detective Sergeant Branden Collison of the Oneonta Police Department, Parks Laborer Justin Hill and Records Management Clerk Lisa Prush were recognized at the meeting

• Heard a presentation on the city’s annual financial report for the year that ended Dec. 31, 2018.

• Authorized amending the budget for the Damaschke Field demolition and renovation project to total $1,177,000. The project will use $1,000,000 through the State and Municipal Financing program and $177,000 from the city’s Parks and Recreation Restricted Reserve Fund. 

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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