Albion votes against bridge replacement

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 June 2014 at 12:00 am

Clarendon Street will be blocked off, and village will pursue at-grade crossing

ALBION – The Village Board voted tonight to proceed with demolishing the Clarendon Street bridge and blocking off that section of the street with the hope it could someday become an at-grade crossing over the railroad tracks.

The board faced escalating costs for replacing the bridge that were about $600,000 over budget. Mayor Dean London and the board didn’t want to push that on village taxpayers.

Removing the 40-year-old bridge and blocking off the street would be covered 95 percent by the state and federal governments. However, the village needed to make a decision on the plan for the bridge by June 30 or risk losing the state and federal aid.

“It left us little options,” London said about the time crunch and cost increases.

The bridge could be removed next year and the street blocked off. The village would like to see the street blocked off in a way that the section could be changed to an at-grade crossing down the road. London said the village will reach out to government agencies about the at-grade crossing.

For now, the Village Board wanted to move ahead with a project that utilizes the state and federal funds.

“We know that money will be there,” he said.

Orleans Hub editorialized today about the bridge, urging the board to vote for the replacement because additional tax dollars are coming with the Dunkin’ Donuts assessment and revenue from the former Chase building. The village, if it reached a tax-sharing deal with other municipalities, could receive tax dollars from the nursing home once it is owned by a private entity.

The nursing home is outside the village but the site utilizes village services. In Medina, there is a model for the village to receive tax money for sites just outside the village boundary that use village services, such as water and sewer.

London said the village will explore a similar tax-sharing deal, but he didn’t want to commit to more costs for village taxpayers with so many unknowns with revenue.

“You can’t base a decision on what may happen,” he said.