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Cherry: Jail Construction Likely in 2018

Written By Editor on 3/19/17 | 3/19/17

Schoharie County Treasurer and Flood Recovery Coordinator Bill Cherry gave a report to the Board of Supervisors on March 17th on the progress of various projects.

The County is considering purchasing a parcel adjacent to the Fire Training Center site and considering if they could combine the two parcels into a larger one. This could “provide a more economical and cost-effective option for construction” compared to having the building footprint in just the existing site, his report said. It may alleviate the concerns the NYS Commission of Corrections’ concerns about the site.

Phase I archaeological testing is complete at the Fire Training Center and no further testing will be required. Phase one testing is underway at the site next door, as well as at Shady Tree Lane and Zicha Road.

Phase I environmental testing is complete at the Fire Training Center, the adjoining site, and Shady Tree Lane. It is underway at Zicha Road. Phase II testing will not be needed at the additional site next to the Fire Training Center, but will be needed at the Center site itself and Shady Tree Lane. Surveys are underway at the Training Center and next door to see if they include wetlands. The surveys at the other two sites are complete.

Dente Engineering plans to conduct Geotechnical Soil Bornings at the Fire Training Center and next door March 20-24. The other sites’ borings will be planned after the FTC one is complete.

Cherry is working with LaBella, Lamont, and McDonald Engineering regarding water and wastewater needs. The questions presented included whether the scheduled filtration system improvements and capacity at the Central Bridge Water System will meet minimum thresholds for the facility and in the time needed. LaBella Engineers will have to make such a determination within 30 days.

If the Central Bridge Site is a viable water source, there will be a positive impact on price, Cherry said. If it is not viable, the Zicha Road parcel would need a new utility corridor from the Village of Schoharie 4.1 miles away.

Supervisor Chris Tague of Schoharie said that he’s heard concern that the jail site hasn’t been finished yet. He said it was some of the criticism was unfair because funding for construction wasn’t approved by FEMA until 2015. He said that Cherry had been doing his job and that the Board was “doing the best we can.”

Cherry complimented the Board for being “100% supportive of the recovery efforts.” He added,“It’s easy to look back and say, geez, it’s been six years.” He said that FEMA’s jail funding was a “grand slam, home run” and a unique circumstance. “I’m confident that the Board will have a real, honest to goodness choice” on the sites and out to bid by the end of the year. Cherry said there were verbal prices on two, but not on Zicha Road.

Supervisor Leo McAllister of Cobleskill asked about a timeline. Cherry hoped that there was a presentation on the sites in May so that the Board would be able to make an informed choice. “Once the Board selects a site,” many other elements could happen and hoped to break ground in early 2018.

In other flood recovery news, work is planned for this month at the Blenheim Bridge site, including the construction of coffer dams and demolition of existing abutments. He said that by the end of 2017 the new bridge would be built on site then lifted on the new abutments. Cherry’s report did add that completion will “depend largely” upon streambed conditions and weather. Landscaping and sidewalks should be completed by next summer, his report concluded.

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