Could water line from Canjo help Spa?


By Patsy Nicosia

Sometimes crazy can be good.
At least that’s what the Village of Sharon Springs and Schoharie County Economic Developer Jody Zakrevsky are hoping.
Though it’s world-famous for its sulphur springs, the village has been dealing with municipal water quality and quantity issues for as long as anyone can remember. But Thursday Mr. Zakrevsky got the go-ahead from Mayor Omer Cousineau and trustees to ask the state to fund a study that would consider the feasibility of sending Canajoharie’s water to Sharon.
Mr. Zakrevsky admitted he considered the idea “out there” when it surfaced a while back.
But with the loss of Beechnut Foods and several million dollars in water and sewer revenues, Canajoharie is looking to downsize its plants.
If it can find a way around the considerable and expensive modifications that would require and find someone else to share in operating and maintenance costs, it would be to Canajoharie’s benefit, Mr. Zakrevsky said.
Enter Sharon Springs.
Though running the line would cost more than the estimated $3 million in upgrades the Sharon Springs infrastructures need, Mr. Zakrevsky pointed out it would open up that Route 10 corridor to economic development and also allow the Village of Ames, which has its own water issues, to hook on.
“Everyone I’ve talked to, said it’s not that crazy,” he said, including Mohawk Valley and Development and Empire State Development officials, Montgomery County IDA Director Ken Rose and assorted engineers.
ESD “sincerely liked the concept of two municipalities sharing the costs of this,” Mr. Zakrevsky said, so much so that it’s willing to do the legwork of looking for possible state grants.
Despite New York’s—and the nation’s—economic woes, Mr. Zakrevsky said there’s grant money available, especially for shared services, where another round of funding was announced just last Friday.
“I think it [the feasibility study] has an excellent chance,” of being funded, he said, largely because of the jobs and economic development corridor the project would create.
Mr. Zakrevsky sees the project itself as being funded with federal economic stimulus money and though he acknowledged “the entire nation” is waiting to see how that will be awarded, he said it’s likely to come through both state and federal channels.
Also, in Sharon’s favor, he said, is the still-proposed $12 million spa development project by Sharon Springs Inc., the jobs it would create, and the need the complex would have for additional water.
Mr. Zakrevsky said he’s confident the village has enough water for the project’s first two phases, but the 10 mile Canjo-Sharon line would likely be needed for the third phase, especially since the village lost its 275,000 gallon deep well to contamination a year and a half ago.
The economic development corridor the line would create along the Route 10 right-of-way would also provide a spot for townhouses and other growth, both as part of the spa project and in unrelated growth.
Mr. Zavrevsky said the project. is still in its design phase but it still expects formal application steps to begin in the spring.
And he urged the village to keep its existing system as a backup and not to stop work on addressing any of its related problems.
Mayor Cousineau and trustees agreed they had nothing to lose by letting the EDC loose on the idea, as long as any feasibility study includes the cost of long-term maintenance—and as long as it doesn’t cost Sharon Springs a dime.
The estimate cost of the study would be $50,000-$60,000.
Mr. Zakrevsky said he expects it to take about six months to find funding for the study and another three months for the study itself, putting the project on track for 2010 construction.
“This is a project the State of New York should fund,” he said.