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Capital District Gondola project to begin environmental review process

Emily De Vito
Updated: October 16, 2019 10:36 AM
Created: October 15, 2019 11:24 PM

RENSSELAER – The Capital District Gondola is a project that has been talked about for the past three years. The gondola would span the Hudson River from the Rensselaer train station to the Times Union Center.

The Rensselaer Planning Commission took a step forward in the project Thursday night. They unanimously approved a motion that will make them the lead agency in the State Environmental Quality Review Process. Also known as the SEQR Process.

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"This is one step in the process to initiate environmental review,” said Director of Planning and Development for the city of Rensselaer Charles Moore. “We ask the applicant for documents and studies and things like that and they'll provide them to us when they're ready.”

The idea of the Capital District Gondola was brought forward in 2016 by the McLaren Engineering Group. They said it will take people from the busy train station in Rensselaer to downtown Albany in about five minutes.

The project comes with a $25 million price tag. The plan is for it to be 80 percent private investment and some portion covered by public, government sources.

The city of Albany has said they like the idea of the gondola, but don’t want to take the lead on the project.

“It puts Rensselaer in the lead. We're going to coordinate the review and hopefully analyze the benefits that are going to come to the city and the region and it'd be a great draw to the region,” said Moore.

One study the commission is looking for is the impact the building process would have on historical areas.

“This is a historical area. So we asked for further archeological investigations into the footprint of where those towers are going to go to make sure we're not disturbing any type of historical artifacts,” said Moore.

Another major concern from residents is parking for when people go to Rensselaer to ride the gondola over to Albany. The planning board said it is a priority to look into that.

“It's a big issue you know the train station. Some of it overflows into the residential areas. So we want to make sure we look at that and make sure we can get as much benefit as we can,” said Moore.

For more information on the project, click here.



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