Residents, businesses look for end

Bob Ellis/staff photographer
A vehicle winds its way through construction machinery along south Main Street Friday.

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — Between South Avenue and Starr Road, south Main Street has become what amounts to a dirt road and residents and businesses are looking forward to the end of the construction.
On Friday, Binghamton-based G. DeVincentis & Son Construction crews were preparing the road for final grading, said project superintendent Neal Gramento.
“This is the sub-base phase of the road,” Gramento said. “We’re pretty much on schedule. Curbs will start next week, sidewalks will start next week … weather permitting. We’ve had nothing but rain.”
The contract for the job expires Aug. 31, and Gramento said he hopes to be done a week or two before deadline.
Crews still need to excavate the street from approximately Denti Way to Starr Road. Once that work is complete, paving will begin, which should start in mid-July, said Joseph Puccia, project engineer for Om Popli of Penfield, the engineering firm for the Cortland County Highway Department.
The county is administering the project and Om Popli is overseeing the project for the county, said Highway Superintendent Don Chambers.
The state and the federal governments are paying most of the cost of the $7 million project, with the county contributing $42,000 and the city paying $800,000.
The project extends from Tompkins Street to about 500 feet past the Starr Road and Page Green Road intersection. Main Street becomes Page Green Road in Cortlandville.
Last year, the section of Main Street between Tompkins Street and the railroad tracks just past South Avenue was rebuilt, including the street itself, curbs, sidewalks and utilities.
Construction resumed in April after stopping for the season in October.
Storm sewers and water lines have been completed and extend along the length of the street, Puccia said. Curbing will extend on each side of rebuilt road. Sidewalk will run along its entire east side, and on the west side it will stretch from downtown to Denti Way.
A final layer of asphalt will be put down along the entire street sometime later this summer.
“There was discussion about this project back in the late 90s, and the design was started in ’99,” Chambers said. “It’s been many years in the making.”
Residents and business on south Main Street have endured construction complications.
Lisa Curry and her husband, Ryan, have been living at 210 Main St. since last June, and Lisa said that although the house can get dirty because of the construction, the crews have been friendly.
“They’re really nice, they’re very helpful. They let us know what’s going on with the road and don’t give us any trouble for driving down it. Sometimes I feel like I am in their way,” Lisa Curry said laughing in front of her home Friday.
“It takes a little arranging to get your parking figured out,” Ryan Curry said. “Usually we have to park across the street, and with the Melodyland (Restaurant) right there, at dinnertime it gets a little crowded. There was only a day and a half when they were right in front of the driveway.”
Gramento said that his company makes an effort to work with residents over the course of a project.
“We’ll help any residents in any way, shape or form that we can. We’ve helped them get their groceries in the house, we’ve taken them down to get their laundry,” Gramento said. “All we ask in return is that people who don’t need to use the road go around. That would expedite everything.”
Sheila Williams, transportation supervisor for the Cortland City School District, said that almost all of the bus traffic has been redirected away from south Main Street. The main entrance to the high school is on Valley View Drive, which runs between Pendleton and south Main streets.
“We’ve kept all of the buses out of there as much as possible; we’ve got a few door-to-door runs that we have to make, and one large pickup at the corner of Union and South Main,” Williams said. “We have taken all of the buses out of that area except for those three. They keep it open so we can get through.”
Jason Hartwick, 18, was walking to lunch from the high school and wondered why the project seemed to be taking so long.
“It’s annoying, especially on dry day when you’ve got to walk by and get dust in your face,” Hartwick said.
Marty Schimer, owner of Ivan’s Bar and Grill, said that the construction has not seemed to affect his business too severely.
“They’re doing the best they can, and it’s going to be nice when it’s done. It will improve the neighborhood, and it will improve business in the long run,” Schimer said. “The dust is the biggest thing, I have to wipe the tables out front down twice a day.”
Schimer said cars driving down the street on dry days kick up a lot of dust, but that the rainy days might be worse.
“Last night it was really bad, my car was like a plow. After it rains it gets really soft,” Schimer said. “Over Memorial Day weekend, it was raining Saturday and the road was just awful. They came on Saturday and Sunday, and on Sunday they were just grading.”
Tom Minnard stood in front of his house at 228 Main St. and watched his son Adam, 2, play where a sidewalk will eventually be.
“I think it’ll be nice when it’s all said and done. This side of town needed a lot of help, and I’m glad to see it’s finally getting it,” Minnard said.
Adam seemed to enjoy the construction more than most.

“He loves watching these guys, he’ll sit out here for hours watching them dig,” Minnard said. “He brings his Tonka toys out here, and whatever they’re using, he’ll run into the house and grab the same thing. I know my girls will be happy when they get the nice new sidewalk for riding their bikes


County attorney picks 2 Dems as assistant attorneys

Staff Reporter

The county attorney has reshuffled his office, appointing two Democrats to assistant positions and revoking the appointments of two Republicans.
Elizabeth Burns and Ron Walsh, two local attorneys, will serve as assistant county attorneys under County Attorney Ric Van Donsel, who was appointed to the position by the Legislature’s Democratic caucus at the beginning of the year.
Although typically such appointments are made at the beginning of the county attorney’s two-year term, Van Donsel said he asked outgoing assistant attorneys Francis Casullo and Ed Purser to stay on and assist with his transition into office.



C'ville waits for Wal-Mart impact statement

Staff Reporter

CORTLANDVILLE — The town will have to wait a little longer before it makes a final decision on the environmental impacts of a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter.
Wal-Mart attorney Kelly Pronti, of the Rochester firm Harter, Secrest and Emery, said the company was hopeful it would submit its final environmental impact statement (FEIS) within the next two weeks, but she could not be sure of an exact time frame.
“At this point in time we’re still working on it, trying to get the results we need to answer the comments on the DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement),” Pronti said.