Return home

Speaker seeks updates on downtown lighting, Erie Canal Village

Nicole A. Hawley
Staff writer
email / twitter
Posted 5/18/22

Lighting behind West Dominick Street businesses, conditions at the Erie Canal Village and updates on other city issues was requested by former mayoral candidate David Halpin during last …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Speaker seeks updates on downtown lighting, Erie Canal Village


ROME — Lighting behind West Dominick Street businesses, conditions at the Erie Canal Village and updates on other city issues was requested by former mayoral candidate David Halpin during last Wednesday’s Common Council meeting.

Halpin, 204 1/2 Elm St., stated during the public comment portion of the meeting that lighting in the back of Copperccino’s and Franca’s Wine Bar has still not been addressed since he brought the issue to attention during a council meeting last month.

“I’m asking someone to go take a look at it (the lighting in the area) on a Friday and Saturday, but it’s still pretty bad, especially if it’s raining. And it’s dark going down the stairs” to the parking lot located at the front of the businesses, said Halpin. “I worry about elderly people walking down those stairs.”

The Advanced Auto Parts store owner stated he was also “confused and disappointed” on the lack of progress that current Erie Canal Village owner Richard Rios, of California, is making on restoring the property.

“I wonder what Mr. Rios is doing down there. It’s not only an eyesore to the city, but a lot of people still represent the village as being part of Rome and if you just put a Bandaid on it, it’s not going to get better,” Halpin said. “I wonder if and when the city will take action...right now it’s getting worse. I was there a couple weeks ago and looked at the condition of the boat, the ramp and the buildings, and it’s pretty bad.”

Chief Codes Enforcement Officer Mark Domenico said since Rios’ codes office hearing for the Caretakers House across the street from the village parking lot last month, the owner had hired an environmentally-certified contractor who presented him with a quote on the Caretakers House demolition last week.

Domenico said Shull House, the packet boat and Bennett’s Tavern are in disrepair, as well as other secondary structures that are not compliant with city building codes. The city’s assistant code official went out to the property with Rios last week, conducting a walk-through of the site, he said.

“They discussed what was required for the submission of documents to the codes office in regards to what is required for him (Rios) to get the necessary building permits” for work to commence, Domenico said.

Halpin also discussed comments made by Fifth Ward Councilor Frank R. Anderson during the last Common Council meeting about Hamilton College hosting its rowing regatta at the new boathouse at Bellamy Harbor Park, agreeing that “hopefully going forward, the city will do a better job in taking advantage of opportunities of having many visitors there.”

He went on to suggest that the boathouse area also be considered as the location for an RV park in the future.

Third Ward Councilor Kimberly Rogers said she would present the suggestion to the city’s Department of Community and Economic Development.

“I’m not sure that site is for someone to park an RV, and I’m not sure it’s big enough. But looking at RV and camping as an option” for city tourism, “may be a worthwhile conversation with the Department of Community and Economic Development,” said Rogers.

Also during councilor reports, First Ward Councilor John M. Sparace updated the council on police body cameras, stating Rome Police Department is still waiting to schedule training with the manufacturing company, Axon. They are hoping to schedule training in early June, he said.

Fifth Ward Councilor Anderson followed with the topic of city street lighting in respect to new housing developments, including Delta Luxury Apartments. He said the way the city charter is established, there’s a 75 and 25% component for water and sewer infrastructure so a developer is not bearing all the costs.

“We need to review the charter and look at the lighting situation. It’s nice to have developments and businesses come in, but we also have to keep in mind we have a responsibility for maintenance and public safety of these endeavors, and I think lighting is an important safety component in that project, in Mr. Sparace’s Woodhaven project, and hopefully others,” Anderson said. “I want to make sure we have the charter updated so it’s set for tomorrow for the City of Rome.”

He continued, “I think we’re all in unison about the public safety components and making sure developments have proper lighting. I’d like to refer the matter to the Laws and Rules Committee for review of the city’s and developers’ responsibility.”

Common Council President Stephanie Viscelli said Third Ward Councilor Rogers is chair of the committee, and that she has been given correspondence about the lighting issue, and that the committee will “give it immediate attention.”


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here