By GLENN GRIFFITH, CNweekly, link to original post
The president and CEO of the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County joined with representatives of a variety of public and private entities April 29 to open a footbridge over the Erie Canal’s historic Lock 19.
The wooden and steel span allows visitors access to the middle section of the canal’s 1842 historic double lock. More than a dozen private businesses partnered with the Chamber, the town and the Shenendehowa Central School District on the footbridge project. The site, which is in the hamlet of Vischer Ferry, is accessed from Ferry Park, at the end of Ferry Drive.
The idea for the project began with Chamber President Pete Bardunias. In the spring of 2012 he posed the project as a partnership between public and private entities as a way of putting the old lock site back into passive recreational use. The idea expanded from simply clearing brush and debris away to giving private business mentoring to 80 Shen students.
In addition to helping clear the brush, the students formed teams that were mentored by volunteer engineers to compete on a bridge design and its marketing campaign. The final design for the footbridge was chosen last June.
More than 1,700 volunteer hours and tens of thousands of dollars of donated materials and labor went into the construction, which was completed in December. The footbridge project will serve as a template for several more partnership projects on the Chamber’s agenda.
On Monday, representatives from the businesses and the public sector organizations joined Bardunias, Clifton Park Town Supervisor Philip Barrett, Shen Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson and New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton to officially open the facility for public use.