Almost finished

South Main work still on schedule

south main

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Worker Steven Armao removes a rubber form used to imprint a brick pattern onto concrete along south Main Street Monday.

Staff Reporter

CORTLAND — Since last week, crews on south Main Street have been installing red “fake bricks” — a colored concrete strip that lies between the sidewalk and the roads — along several blocks south of the intersection of Main and Tompkins streets.
Despite setbacks due to the rainy construction season, the south Main Street reconstruction project has remained relatively on schedule, said project superintendent Neal Gramento of Binghamton-based G. DeVincentis & Son Construction. The majority of the work should be done by the project’s deadline on Aug. 31.
The sidewalks themselves are mostly complete, Gramento said, with the exception of 20 to 25 yards on Page Green Road for which concrete has yet to be poured.
Main Street turns into Page Green Road at the city limits, and the project extends about 500 yards along Page Green Road past its intersection with Starr Road. The overall project is expected to cost about $7 million.
“The concrete (sidewalks and aprons) should be done by the end of August, the blacktop should be done by then … and hopefully all that will be left will be some cleanup and some soil and planting work,” Gramento said.
The project began last spring, and the stretch of Main Street from Tompkins Street to the railroad tracks near South Avenue was reconstructed, including sidewalks and sewers.
“From the railroad tracks down (to Tompkins Street), the only thing left to do is the top (asphalt) course. From the railroad tracks up (south), binder needs to be done and then we’ll apply the top course, and get everything raised up to grade,” Gramento said.
He added that the top course was being put in along the entire project length at once because work on the concrete was left until this year and potentially could stain the blacktop. In addition, “it will be done better,” Gramento said.
Approximately 75 trees will be spaced roughly every 20 feet in planters next to the road. Although much of the major work will be finished by the end of the month, landscaping along south Main Street will be finished in September, Gramento said, because of shortages of state-approved topsoil in the area due to flooding, as well as the effects of summer heat.
“If you plant them out of season, the nurseries won’t warranty them and the odds are that they’re going to die,” Gramento said of the trees.
Using a process called hydroseeding, in which a combination of seeds, mulch, fertilizers and a stabilizer is applied to exposed soil, the strip of land between the sidewalk and the road is being planted with grass seeds this week along most of the project length.
Mayor Tom Gallagher said this morning he was excited about the progress made to date.
“It just looks beautiful,” he said. “If you come down from the high school driving north, it’s spectacular.”
The work is getting a lot of attention from neighbors, Gallagher said.
“We had a meeting to discuss the South End last night and we were listing positives and negatives. This was a positive.”



City’s South End starts to plan for its future

Staff Reporter

The city is asking South End residents how they want their neighborhood to grow through a survey and public meetings, the first of which was held in the library at Randall Elementary School on Tuesday afternoon.
Another meeting with an identical agenda is scheduled for 7 tonight in the same space.
“We’ve got an opportunity to decide what we want our neighborhood to look like. We need everybody’s input. Even little things might give us a wide opening,” Alderman Dan Quail (R-5th Ward) said at Tuesday’s meeting.
About 30 homeowners, renters, businesspeople, educators, and elected and non-elected officials gathered Tuesday to discuss current problems and future solutions with Thoma Development Consultants. The city has hired the local company to create a strategic plan with money from the Governor’s Office of Small Cities.
Surveys to determine demographics and residents’ impressions of their neighborhoods were sent out in advance and Mayor Tom Gallagher asked that they be returned by Friday.
“Our whole vision is to get small victories,” Gallagher said, recognizing that south Main Street is nearing the completion of its reconstruction, downtown is undergoing a façade renovation, municipal parking lots are being improved, and landlords seem to be fixing up their student-housing properties throughout the city.
The 5th Ward project area will begin at Tompkins Street and extend down south Main Street along both sides of the street, bulging out on the eastern edge to include the Rosen and Noss Park industrial sites. On the western side, it includes Beaudry Park and the neighborhoods adjacent to but not including Owego and Tompkins streets.
The strategic plan will use the concerns and hopes of the residents to create a “blueprint” on how to improve the target area from the present condition to the desired vision for the future, said program manager Rich Cunningham of Thoma Development. He and Ann Hotchkin, also of Thoma, guided the discussion during Tuesday night’s meeting and began by asking that those present identify negatives.




Homer town justice orders ‘dangerous’ pit bull be euthanized

Staff Reporter

HOMER —Town Justice Gary D. Shiffer has ordered a 2-year-old pit bull to be euthanized after the dog attacked and injured another dog.
Shiffer made his ruling following a Tuesday morning hearing at which he heard arguments from the dog’s owners, Laura Patterson, 19, and Josh Fassett, 20, as well as from Town Attorney Patrick M. Snyder and Dog Control Officer Paul Burhans.
“I am going to order that the dog be humanely euthanized,” he said. “It’s a matter of responsibility.”
Prior to hearing arguments, Shiffer read a three-page statement regarding the legal background of the case.
Shiffer said the pit bull named Ali has been aggressive on three different occasions over the last 4 1/2 months, the last time “seriously injuring” another dog by picking it up in its mouth and throwing it.
The judge said that on Aug. 9 Patterson’s 13-year-old sister, Sarah, was walking Ali on South William Street without a muzzle when the dog broke free from its leash and attacked another dog that was being walked by its owner.
Shiffer ordered Ali to be seized Aug. 10.
Ali first became a community concern on March 29 when Patrolman Jason Kemp of the Homer Police Department went to 2 S. Williams St., Patterson’s home, in response to a complaint that a pit bull was acting aggressively.
As a result of the incident, Patterson was fined on April 5 for allowing a dog to run at large and harboring an unlicensed dog. Both are violations of the town code. Shiffer said that each fine of $20 remains unpaid.
Additionally, Ali was found to be a “dangerous dog” during a hearing on April 13 in the same court. At that hearing, Shiffer ordered Patterson to have the dog neutered, have a microchip installed in the dog’s neck for identification purposes and to keep the dog securely confined from the public inside a chain-link fence.
A month later on May 18, Kemp again was called to Patterson’s address after Ali reportedly chased a painter up a ladder at a neighbor’s house. A second “dangerous dog” hearing was held on May 26 where Patterson was given further conditions.
According to court documents, Shiffer instructed Patterson that when the dog is in public it must be muzzled, and that she must take out a $50,000 liability policy on Ali. Patterson said in court on Tuesday that she never contacted local insurances companies about obtaining the policy.