Bethlehem making plans for capital projects

There is a problem in Bethlehem, and it grows bigger each and every day.

Some of it cannot even be seen, with the exception of a few aging buildings, as much of it is underground, in the walls, or behind decorated facades. The problem is that Bethlehem has a long list of housekeeping that is quite overdue, and it has no capital project plan in place to replace and upgrade its infrastructure.

The Bethlehem Town Board is hoping to change that.

The 20/20 Advisory Committee suggested the town revamp its infrastructure and prepare for further economic development ventures such as the Vista Technology Park, the Selkirk Yard Industrial District, and a possible new Thruway interchange near Clapper Road.

Public Works Commissioner Josh Cansler gave a presentation on the current status of the town's Capital Project Planning to the Town Board on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

We organized a committee earlier this year, Cansler told the board about the capital project plan. "It's a blueprint for the community's capital expenditures."

Cansler said the town has gone on too long neglecting some of its structures and infrastructure as was evident with the town-owned home in the Henry Hudson Town Park that is slated to be destroyed.

He told board members Bethlehem needs to coordinate its needs for "five years and beyond," by creating a plan and then updating it every year by order of importance and immediate need.

"As you can see, there's a lot of names on this list, and there's a reason for that," Cansler said during a PowerPoint presentation on its current needs. "One of the problems we've had is we let some of our capital needs creep up on us."

Cansler said the 1994 Clapper Road water plant was the last major capital improvement in Bethlehem aside from some sewer upgrades, which is a minor cost compared to a water plant.

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