‘A beacon for Rome’ — to be lit for Locktoberfest

Published Sep 15, 2017 at 4:10pm

The water tower at the former General Cable site near Bellamy Harbor Park will be lit for Locktoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 7, said Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo. It was not ready in time for the late July Erie Canal bicentennial but it will be “a lasting monument” to that milestone, she said.

The city had to delay the project because it had not raised enough money to cover the cost. To complete a reduced project on time then go back and upgrade it would have added too much to the cost. So the city sought more funding and eventually got it.

The Rome Area Chamber of Commerce initially received $97,000 through the state’s Consolidated Funding Application for the project. The Rome Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties and the county covered the remainder, $5,000, $5,000 and $25,000, respectively. The amounts combine to total $132,000.

All materials have been ordered, the mayor said. The contract has been awarded to National Electrical Systems of Rome at almost $124,000. The city removed the old fencing around the tower. The project will begin as soon as the materials arrive, Izzo noted, which should be in about a week. A small portion of the money obtained for the work will be split off from the main contract for the cost of the new fence.

The lighting will run top to bottom, and the color can be adjusted. The lighting should be visible from City Hall and the arterial.

The tower will be “constantly lit,” Izzo said. “It will be a beacon for Rome,” she said, “the lasting monument of the bicentennial celebration.”

Other upgrades in and around Bellamy Harbor Park are in various states.

Part of the parking lot just north of the park off Race Street was renovated and is now complete. The path that runs under the Mill Street bridge connecting the park to the navigation center and boat launch is also complete.

The navigation center across Mill Street from the park is in its final stage, and there will be an official opening at Locktoberfest. The center is meant to serve those who boat the canal and stop in Rome. It will be opened and closed for the season based on the calendar of the state canal system. This year the system opened on May 19 and will close Oct. 11.

The state owns the terminal building at the park. The city has requested funding from the state for restrooms there. Once there are restrooms on site, said the mayor, the city will discuss how to better utilize the building. “We have a lot of interest,” she said, for social events there.

​What does the future hold for an expanded and revamped Bellamy Harbor Park? “We’ve really created a complex,” the mayor said. It will, however, require constant attention for security and maintenance, she noted. There will be a city attendant in the area, she said of the future plan.

Daily use, the mayor said, “has really picked up,” adding that the city’s kayaking program there has proven popular. Even the problem with geese leaving droppings on the sidewalk and grass there seems to be solved, she said. A city employee made cutouts in the shape of a black labrador dog that sit in the grass there, and have worked just like scarecrows, keeping the geese away from the navigation side. The city has also discussed with the federal Department of Agriculture about participating in its relocation program next spring, so that any geese still frequenting the park can be taken elsewhere.