Town acquires riverfront parcels

Colonie has acquired nearly 57 undeveloped acres along the Mohawk River for $1.9 million.

The state Office of Parks and Recreation will contribute $500,000 to the purchase, which will go to further develop and expand conservation efforts along the 10-mile stretch of river shoreline.

The two parcels, 198 Onderhonk Ave. and 503 Forts Ferry Road, belonged to members of the Vinciguerra family, including in-laws of Maggie Vinciguerra, former president of Mohawk River Community Partners of Colonie, Inc.

The group has been at the forefront of recent efforts to expand and redevelop along the river. It has been acting on a 2000 plan for river development that named the two properties as must-haves for conservation efforts.

Town planners will soon be formulating a strategy in conjunction with town residents on how to go about doing that.

Taking a page from my time with the state, when we acquired land we did a management plan. My recommendation is to have a plan to give stakeholders a voice in the development of the property, said Denise Sheehan, director of Colonie's Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Before taking the position, Sheehan was commissioner of the state department of environmental conservation.

Sheehan said she wants to itemize the properties through discourse and use public comment to direct the town's actions. Through public meetings, the department hopes to gauge a direction on how to use the property and what it entails as far as habitat and river access.

The property is extremely unique to the riverfront, she said, and could easily be the focal point of the entire 10-mile stretch.

"One of the reasons the land was acquired is, dating back to 2000, the property was identified for acquisition and conservation. It has (the potential) for great uses and has great access to the water," said Sheehan.

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