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Upper Union Street renewal continues

Final phase of project to be completed near September

A group of business owners will soon see the beautification process of their street and storefronts completed.

The third phase and final of the project includes the stretch of Union Street from Woodland and Baker Avenues to the end of the Business Improvement District at Garner Avenue. There will also be some improvements to Lakewood Avenue. An estimated cost of the phase is $700,000, which is funded by the City of Schenectady and Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority.

Upper Union Street shows what is possible when the private sector and government work together t create new jobs, tax base and economic activity, said Ray Gillen, chair of Schenectady Metroplex.

In 2009 the first phase of the project was completed, which stretched between the Niskayuna town line and at Van Antwerp Road to Dean Street. Last year the second phase was completed between Dean Street and Baker Avenue. The current project is planned to extend the curb, sidewalk and pavement and implement street trees and lighting changes to match the rest of the shopping district. There are also plans to include diagonal parking in front of 1600 to 1610 Union Street, so the parking area could include 11 spaces rather than the three spaces when parallel parking.

"The overall growth in this area compared to others in the same economic downturn has been extraordinary," said Chris DiCocco, president of the Upper Union Street Business Improvement District. "There are very few empty store f fronts, so we attribute that to the existing customer and business base and the addition of some new ones We'd like to say that as a result of the beautification process over the last few years it has done a lot to attract customers and future businesses as well."

Without the project, DiCocco said he didn't believe new business owners would be attracted to the area.

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