City of Cortland to partner with engineering company on Groton Ave. project

Intersection between Groton Ave & Otter Creek in Cortland, NY. (Cortland Voice photo files).

The City of Cortland is partnering with BCA Architects & Engineers of Ithaca for a reconstruction project on Groton Avenue that will last until 2025 and cost an estimated $7.9 million.

At Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, the council unanimously voted in favor of the city working with BCA, the same company that’s currently assisting with the project on Clinton Avenue. 

You can view the discussion by clicking the link and watching the video from “1:00:08 to 1:29:52”.

The Groton Avenue project centers on the 2,400 linear feet stretch from Otter Creek Place to Main Street, said Mike Altieri, principal/civil engineer at BCA.

The engineering aspect of the project, which is at an estimated cost around $900,000, is expected to last two years. The construction portion of the project is tentatively set to get underway in the spring of 2023. Nic Dovi, the city’s Department of Public Works superintendent, and Altieri confirmed the preliminary timeline of the project.

“BCA has my support for this project,” Dovi said. “They have an institutional knowledge of our systems.”

Altieri said the project is a “complete overhaul” of Groton Avenue, which will include:

  • Complete road construction, including street pavement of each travel lane, granite curbing and underdrain
  • Replacement of subsurface utilities, including sanitary sewer, storm sewer and the potable water distribution systems
  • Replacement of sidewalks within limits of right-of-way areas
  • Concrete sidewalk ramps at each intersection
  • Installation of bio-retention treatment areas
  • Replacement of traffic and pedestrian signals at the intersections of Graham Avenue and Homer Avenue/Pleasant Street.
  • Installation of streetscape amenities, including street lighting, trees, landscape plantings and turf establishment
  • Installation of decorative permeable pavers and color imprinted thermoplastic crosswalks

Altieri noted that some re-pavement will take place on the side streets of Graham Avenue, Stevenson Street, Pleasant Street, Homer Avenue and Monroe Heights, which are all connected to Groton Avenue. He added that work on the side streets is “little to no additional cost on the city.”

“If we found a problem when we went down a little further, like a water main issue, we want to make sure we aren’t leaving that in the ground and paving it without taking care of it,” he added.

The funds for the project potentially could be covered in its entirety by a special municipality loan from the Environmental Protection Agency, Altieri said. He added that EPA has a “long-term, low-interest loan for projects like this.”

“The loan is the first of its kind and would be spread out through a 35-year term,” Altieri said.

While there is a possibility the EPA-funded loan would cover the cost of the project, Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin said the city will “aggressively pursue grants that will potentially benefit the cost of the project.”

“The EPA loan would cover a significant amount of the project, but we also want to see if there are any potential sources of grants to help aid in that coverage,” he added.

Councilperson Bruce Tytler (D-3rd Ward) said he is “looking to move forward on this project.”

“Groton Avenue is certainly in need of improvements,” he said. “A lot of people come into the city from that street.”