Cancer patient, fiancé prepare to wed in Schenectady

Jahaysia Graham gets some help from her mother, LaToy Sheffield, ...

Jahaysia Graham gets some help from her mother, LaToy Sheffield, as she tries on wedding dresses Saturday at Bridal Gallery by Yvonne in Latham. Graham’s 4-year-old sister, Niyari Crippen, also joined them on the outing.

When Jathyis LaJuett got down on his knee to propose to Jahaysia Graham a few weeks ago, the thoughts racing through his mind were likely the same any guy would have at a moment like that.

“I didn’t know how she would react or what the answer was going to be or how her mom or anybody would feel,” the 20-year-old explained.

But he had something much more troubling to consider: Jahaysia is battling cancer and is under hospice care.

The two met about four years ago, when Jahaysia’s family moved across the street from Jathyis’ mother in Schenectady. Jathyis said he thought Jahaysia was wonderful from day one.

“She’s the sweetest, most beautiful [girl],” he said. “She’s very generous, loving, caring, everything you could think about. She is, in my eyes, perfect, too. I look past the sickness. You know, it’s not really about that.”

A little over a week ago, he popped the question.

“It wasn’t really nowhere special,” he lamented. “It was at home.”

But Jahaysia didn’t seem to mind. She was very surprised and emotional, he recalled.

Her answer was “Yes.”

Jahaysia, who’s 19, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in January 2013. Her mother, LaToy Sheffield, said the disease has made her middle child weak and short of breath. Fluid is building up in her daughter’s abdomen and must be drained.

The good news is, Jahaysia is in love, and there is a wedding in the works. Sheffield is trying hard to focus on that.

Aware of how serious Jahaysia’s illness is, the newly engaged couple decided to plan their wedding quickly. It will be held Friday.

When The Community Hospice staff got wind of their plans, they offered to help organize the event and support it with money from the organization’s Wish Fund. Fueled by donations from the community, the fund is tapped to help people achieve their goals and dreams while under hospice care.

The Community Hospice put up a Facebook post about the upcoming wedding Saturday night, complete with pictures of Jahaysia trying on wedding gowns. The post went viral.

“I’d say our average post gets maybe 80, a couple hundred ‘likes.’ That’s our norm,” said Laurie Mante, executive director of The Community Hospice.

Within 13 hours, the post about the wedding had already received about 150,000 likes and donation offers were flooding in from all over the country. As of Tuesday afternoon, the post had racked up more than 346,000 likes and had been shared close to 12,000 times.

“We were overwhelmed at how much people were just willing to jump in and be part of it. We had people offering to bake cakes who were in Colorado,” Mante said.

A woman who owns a children’s boutique in New Jersey is sending a flower girl dress. Someone in Arizona is shipping a guest book and ring bearer’s pillow. A donor in Florida is making personalized wedding favors. Local businesses have stepped up to contribute attire, food, rings, flowers, entertainment, tents, chairs and more.

Jathyis said the outpouring of support has blown his mind. Initially, the couple had envisioned a small wedding with maybe 40 or 50 guests.

“But once we put it on Facebook, everybody wanted to come and see and is excited. A lot of people will be there,” he said.

Jathyis said he’s excited, too, but mostly for his bride-to-be.

“She’s getting everything that she’s wanted, and she’s happy,” he said.

Sheffield said she’s very pleased with the young man her daughter has chosen to marry.

“Just to be the age that he is and come into my daughter’s life and just want to be a part of enjoying every moment, every day, every minute with her, rather than to be, you know, going off and doing what other 20-year-olds do at this time and age, I just really appreciate him,” she said. “He’s with her 24-7. I feel like he almost postponed his life to be there for her, and he doesn’t even take a second thought. He doesn’t even bat an eye at it.

“I’ve been with the both of them when she’s in the hospital. He just constantly rubs her and asks her if she’s OK and kisses her on the cheek and calls her beautiful. It’s amazing.”

This story was originally published for The Daily Gazette.

DIY Friday: Build Your Own Tree Bench

DIY Friday Tips from ReBath of Albany - Tree Bench

How to build your own wrap around tree bench.

The hot, humid days of summer are winding down so it’s the perfect time of year for a backyard project that will last for years to come.

See the big tree in your backyard? Is there anything exciting about the way you use it in your decorating? Sure, you can plant some flowers around it or maybe you have an old tree swing from when the kids were little. Why not give that tree a new purpose?

Build a wrap around tree bench so you can sit under it comfortably and read a book or chat with the neighbors.

This video we found has a great tutorial, with easy to follow instructions. You will need a few tools for this project: miter saw, straight edge, 1/4″ spacers, drill, level, can of sealer nuts and washers.

Before heading to the store, take a look at the video to see what you need. Then come back and watch it a few more times to make sure you know exactly what the plan is. This project may take a little bit of know-how, but it’s not too expensive. The one in the video cost only $125.

Donor makes second major gift to The Hyde, in Glens Falls

At The Hyde Collection, in Glens Falls, the donors keep on giving.

Earlier this year, the museum received 128 photographs by 14 significant photographers donated by former presidential adviser George Stephanopoulos.

New to The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls - ReBath of Albany

Jules Chéret, French (1836-1932), Les Tziganes (The Gypsies), ca. 1888, color lithograph, 13 3/16 x 9 in., Gift to the Sparling Family Collection, 2014.2.17

Last week, Director Charles Guerin announced the second major gift of the year, 94 items in an extensive collection of nineteenth-century French etchings, lithographs, engravings, woodcuts, and books, donated by Tobin Sparling, a Texas law school professor who graduated from South Glens Falls High School.

“What’s particularly cool about this is that Tobin is a professional, so he has been able to collect a thorough spread that covers the 19th century of French print-making. It’s really a coherent, complete collection,” Guerin said. “In terms of putting together an exhibition, a lot of the work is already done for us.”

Guerin said there will be an exhibition of some of the Sparling collection will be shown in the Hoopes Gallery from mid-January to Mid-March. An exhibition of some of the Stephanopolous photographs will follow in the Hoopes Gallery from Mid-March to Mid-May.

The last several years have included major steps forward for The Hyde, which recently turned 50. It got national attention for its Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition, “Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George.” A recently completed Ansel Adams exhibition has been noted nationally, and in 2015 the museum will host a major show of Rembrandt’s works.

“It’s a very dynamic place, and that’s what really appeals to me,” Sparling said. “It’s a very different place from when I was a child. It was very insulated and insular. I am really impressed with what it has become. I appreciate the works they have, and I like that it also has a real outreach to the community, through its children’s programs and its programs for the elderly and others.”

This is Sparling’s second major donation to The Hyde.

In 2008, Sparling donated 30 Old Master prints surveying the major printmaking styles and techniques in Northern and Southern Europe from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

Those prints were featured in the exhibition Old Master Prints from the Sparling Family Collection in 2009.

Two years ago, Sparling lent 23 nineteenth-century prints to the exhibition Toulouse-Lautrec & Company: Prints from the Belle Époque. Many of those works are included in the most recent gift.

“It is a pleasure to donate to The Hyde, which not only evokes wonderful childhood memories, but also goes from strength to strength and gets better and better,” Sparling said in a statement. “I hope this gift will encourage others to support what I believe is one of the crown jewels of upstate New York.”

A resident of Houston and a graduate of Dartmouth College, and Columbia University, Sparling also holds graduate degrees in library science and art history. Sparling is a professor of Law at South Texas College of Law, specializing in legal research and writing

He made the donation in memory of his parents Leon H. and Marie Buttlar Sparling.

The gift includes works by Pierre Bonnard, Félix Bracquemond, Jules Chéret, Eugene Delacroix, Maurice Denis, Henri Evenepoel, Jean-Louis Forain, Théodore Géricault, Henri-Gabriel Ibels, Alphonse Mucha, Paul Serusier, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Félix Vallotton, among others.

Prior to getting his law degree, he worked in the rare books departments of the Yale Center for British Art and at the print collection of the New York Public Library.

That was where his interest in French prints developed.

But, as Guerin points out, he has kept his connection to his home region.

“He recognizes how important The Hyde is to this community,” Guerin said. “He’s in Houston, and there are probably a half-dozen places he could have donated to.”

With Curator Erin Coe having left the museum to finish her PhD., Guerin will coordinate both the Sparling and Stephanopolous.

“We want to get them up quickly,” he said. “We don’t like to get art and have it sit in the dark in a storage room.”

This story was originally published on Post Star.

Altamont Tub to Shower Conversion Beautiful

Altamont bathroom before - ReBath of Albany

The Altamont bathroom before ReBath of Albany’s install.

The installation team was in Altamont this past Tuesday, remodeling a bathroom for a woman who needed to get rid of her tub. After struggling to climb in and out the past few years, she finally decided to get a walk-in shower.

Judy stopped by our showroom one day and met with a member of our courteous staff. She had many questions such as, who would be doing the installation, could we help her finance the job and how quickly could we install it.

We answered all of her questions in the showroom and set her up for a free estimate.

Later that week, Frank visited her home and measured her bathroom for a walk-in shower. She was so happy to finally have the project underway.

This past week, our installers arrived at 7 a.m. and set right to work. Judy tried to offer them some lunch, but they just kept working!

Altamont shower after - ReBath of Albany

Altamont shower after ReBath of Albany’s install.

By 2:30 p.m. one of the installers put on the finishing touches and the other went over the warranty information with her. She was ecstatic that the entire process was so simple. All she had to do was pick out the colors and ReBath of Albany did the rest.

Great job guys! We love adding to the number of happy customers we have!

 

93-year-old Greenfield WW II vet, Musician Shares a Rich Life

Jim Smith Sr., of Greenfield, sometimes has difficulty smiling when reflecting back on his life.

Greenfield Resident, vet, musician shares life story - ReBath of Albany

Jim Smith, a 93-year-old World War II Marine veteran, country singer and longtime area resident of Greenfield, enjoys a life of “fun, laughter and tears” with his ever-changing musical family. Mike McMahon photos – The Saratogian

It’s understandable for the 93-year-old U.S. Marine who fought in some of World War II’s bloodiest battles – Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam and Iwo Jima, which produced the iconic figure of Marines raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi.

Yet the longtime Greenfield resident has put smiles on the faces of countless others as a well-liked country and western musician whose career included television appearances and performances with some of the country’s most famous bands.

“I knew Roy Rogers and I sang with Sons of the Pioneers,” Smith said. “I met them one night at the old Rialto Theater in Glens Falls. As a result of that I sang at the Triple C Chuckwagon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona.”

A Passaic, N.J., native, Smith began visiting Saratoga County with his family as a child and moved to Greenfield for good in the mid-1930s, during the Great Depression. Despite their suburban roots, the Smiths were country folks at heart and had a deep love for country music, with each member of the family playing guitar, fiddle and banjo.

During a Sunday morning horseback riding trip, his innocent fun-loving world was changed forever.

“My uncle, Leo Smith, had a 1938 Chevy coupe with a Motorola radio hanging from the dash,” Smith said. “That’s how I found out Pearl Harbor had been attacked. We rode home in complete silence.”

A few weeks later, he was one of the young men standing in a long line outside a U.S. Marine recruiting station, and within a year’s time he was off to the South Pacific. His worst ordeal came toward the war’s end, at Iwo Jima where his company saw action from Feb. 23 to March 16, 1945.

“We lost more than 7,000 men there,” Smith said. “All I can see is those guys coming off those Higgins Boats and walking into a hail of lead. When I think about that I don’t have anything to smile about.”

In his memoir, “Jim Smith’s American Stories,” he recalls his homecoming, taking a Greyhound bus from New York to Saratoga Springs where he arrived in the pre-dawn hours of a June day in 1945.

“As we pulled into Saratoga the streets were deserted,” Smith wrote. “The bus driver stopped on the corner of Lake Avenue and Broadway. We shook hands before I got off the bus and he said, ‘Thanks for being a Marine.’ “

The final leg of his journey was a cab ride back to Greenfield Center where Smith began the process of starting his life over. He and his wife Rose (Bruchac) were married the next year at St. Joseph’s Church in Greenfield.

Music played a large role in Smith’s return to normalcy.

His first band was called the Three S’s – featuring Smith, his brother Tom, and their good friend Tom Sullivan. The group performed throughout the area and gained recognition with auditions on radio stations from well-known WGY, in Schenectady, to tiny WIRE in Lake Luzerne. In the post-war years, dude ranches became extremely popular throughout the North Country. Realizing they needed a more Western-sounding name, in 1949 the band changed its name to The Frontiermen.

Their highlight was a trip to New York City to audition for the Arthur Godfrey Talent Show, on CBS Television. To their disappointment, another performer won the contest for the right to be on the show.

“The years that followed were full of fun, laughter and tears with my ever-changing musical family,” Smith said.

Recently, he took part in a “Ranches, Rodeos and Wranglers” weekend held at Painted Pony Ranch, in Luzerne, an event organized to preserve the history and culture of North Country dude ranches.

Smith doesn’t perform much any more, but he’s still an avid storyteller. In 2001, nearly 60 years after joining the Marines, he finally earned his high school diploma during Saratoga Springs graduation ceremonies.

The history test came easy to him.

“I ended up with a 92 on the exam,” Smith said, smiling. “I had lived a lot of the questions.”

This story originally appeared in the Saratogian.

Shower Rehab in Westerlo Complete

Our A+ crew, worked on a shower replacement in Westerlo yesterday.

The homeowners, Annette and her daughter Stephanie wanted to redo a worn out fiberglass shower unit. They visited their local Home Depot and saw the ReBath of Albany display. After falling in love with the product and the color, they met with our estimator George.

George visited their home on a Friday afternoon and told them all about the ReBath process for remodeling bathrooms. They were happy to hear that we never cover over old problems, but fix them instead, by gutting the shower area to the studs. They were also happy to have someone check the plumbing.

Westerlo shower replacement - ReBath of Albany

Westerlo shower replacement, completed in one day using acrylic materials, by ReBath of Albany.

Annette and Stephanie chose the color that they saw in the Home Depot, Sonoran Granite. They chose a biscuit base, two matching shelves, a chrome faucet and a hand-held shower.

A few weeks after their meeting with George, the production manager called to schedule their install. Later that week, Shawn and Chris arrived promptly at 7 a.m. and explained everything they would be working on. Then, they got right to work.

By 2:30 p.m. Chris let the homeowners know that the job was all done and they could check it out.

Stephanie and Annette were very happy with the finished product. The new color brightened up their bathroom and the whole thing looked gorgeous. They are very happy they chose ReBath of Albany for this project.

Horse Ready to Run in Saratoga

Departing, a brown gelding, was stabled at Saratoga Race Course last summer. He wasn’t ready to compete there against the top 3-year-olds.

“He was just here because I was here,” acknowledged trainer Al Stall, a New Orleans native who has spent summers at the Spa since the mid-1990s.

Saratoga Springs Horse Ready to Run - ReBath of Albany

Departing hangs out in his stall Thursday afternoon July 31, 2014 at the Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York. (Skip Dickstein / Times Union)

Departing’s connections didn’t enter the horse in the 2013 Jim Dandy or Travers. They didn’t believe the son of War Front was ready to take on tough competition here.

Instead, they shipped Departing out of town and watched him win the West Virginia Derby and the Super Derby in Louisiana.

They took “the low road,” as Stall put it.

“Last year, we were kind of picking our spots,” said Walker Hancock, president of Claiborne Farms, which bred and owns Departing in partnership with Adele Dilschneider. “We didn’t know how good he was. We ran him in the Preakness and he got sixth, so we couldn’t decide if he was cut out to (face) those top-notch horses.”

They feel Departing, now 4 years old, is up to the challenge now.

Departing will take on an impressive field of older males in the $1.5 million, Grade I Whitney on Saturday at Saratoga.

“He showed us a lot training and we’re excited to run in the race,” Hancock said. “I think he deserves another chance at the top echelon of colts, so we’ll see.”

Hancock said the Whitney purse, doubled from last year, is also appealing because the gelded Departing has no future value as a stallion.

He’ll break under jockey Robby Albarado from the No. 6 post in the nine-horse field.

“We feel like he is sitting on top of his career-best race,” said Stall, who saddled Blame to victory in the 2010 Whitney.

Departing is the 6-1 third choice on the morning line, behind even-money favorite Palace Malice and 4-1 Will Take Charge, who prevailed in last year’s Travers.

“We thought we’d be third choice a month ago, so everything is right on schedule,” Stall said. “You know going in, it’s always tough. It’s the Whitney. You’ve got the favorite for Horse of the Year in here (Palace Malice) and some other horses that are doing really well.”

Stall said he likes the post position because it allows Departing to sit outside speed horses Moreno in No. 3 and Itsmyluckyday in No. 4.

Departing is looking for his first Grade I victory. He’s coming off a third-place finish in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs on June 14.

In that race, Departing threatened to take the lead in the stretch before settling for third place behind upset winner Moonshine Mullin and Will Take Charge.

“I think it was a great race,” Stall said. “To me, it showed he belonged.”

Hancock said Departing, named after his dam Leave, benefited from a seven-month layoff after coming up empty in a fourth-place finish in the Oklahoma Derby last September.

They brought him back to Claiborne Farm for more than a month and let him roam without horseshoes.

“He got to be a horse,” Hancock said. “He seems to have done well with the time off and hopefully, we’ll be rewarded.”

This story originally appeared in the Times Union.

DIY Friday: Sandbox with a bench and cover

Many many parents think kids spend way too much time inside playing on digital devices instead of outside with their imaginations and neighborhood friends. What can get your kids outside for hours at a time? How about a sandbox. DIY Friday Tips from ReBath of Albany - Build a Sandbox

Some people object to sandboxes in their yard because stray animals tend to use the boxes for things other than play. We found a great video that shows you how to build a sandpit with a top that folds up into a bench. It’s a great place for the kids to play and with the foldout bench, you may even want to join them. Then when they are all done, just close the top and the kids can play on it like a stage.

The only difficult thing about this video is understanding the man’s accent, since he sounds Australian. You may have to watch it an extra time to catch everything he says.

In the video, he recommends you paint all of your pieces before assembling. this will save you a little time later on, working with different brush sizes. Ask the kids what colors they would like to see on the cover and go from there.

Since he doesn’t tell you what size sandbox he made, one of the people who followed his video posted that he made: “6′ x 6′ x 10.5″. I had a bunch of scrap 2x4s to built the base and sidewalls (3 per wall). Then 1x4s for the tops — 18 of those (3 per segment). 1x2s hold the tarp in place across the top.”

Watch the video and give it a try for yourself!

 

Archaeologists Excavate Colonial Battleground near Lake George

Colonial Battleground Dig - Lake George - ReBth of Albany

Student Doug Schmid of Albany, N.Y., takes dirt from a plot during an archaeological field school dig at Lake George Battlefield Park on Friday, July 11, 2014, in Lake George, N.Y. The summer project is focusing on a site that saw heavy military activity during the 18th century, with American, British, French and American Indian forces battling for control of the region’s waterways. (AP Photo/Mike Groll) Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Archaeologists excavate New York Colonial battleground

Archaeologists are excavating an 18th-century battleground, near Lake George, the site of a desperate stand by Colonial American troops. It was the flashpoint of a massacre and the location of the era’s largest smallpox hospital.

The site’s multilayered history poses unique challenges for the dig, which is being conducted in a state-owned park that has served as a natural time capsule amid the summertime bustle in this popular southern Adirondack tourist destination.

“It’s a confusing and complicated site,” said David Starbuck, the archaeologist who’s leading the project during the State University of New York at Adirondack’s annual six-week archaeology field school.

Starbuck and his team of two dozen students and volunteers began excavations two weeks ago in a section of Lake George Battlefield Park, located on rising ground overlooking the southern end of the 32-mile lake. New York state has owned the park since the late 1890s, a fact that Starbuck credits with protecting the site from commercial development and intrusion by treasure hunters.

“This really is an incredibly well-preserved site,” said Starbuck, a professor of anthropology at New Hampshire’s Plymouth State University. He has conducted digs at 18th-century military sites in eastern New York for more than 25 years.

The village of Lake George has yielded troves of artifacts over the decades. Starting with the French and Indian War (1755-63) and continuing through the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783, tens of thousands of American, British, French and Indians encamped here during various military campaigns aimed at controlling the waterways connecting the upper Hudson River and Canada. Battles were fought and forts were destroyed or abandoned; the material traces of all that activity are still being uncovered.

Many of the discoveries have been made at the battlefield park, one of the most significant 18th-century military sites in the region. It was the site of the Battle of Lake George, fought on Sept. 8, 1755, between British Colonial troops and their Mohawk allies and a force of French and Indians. After an ambush that killed scores of New England militiamen, the Colonials — their backs to the lake and only a single British officer among their leaders — successfully fought off the ensuing enemy attack.

Two years later, the same site was home to a large encampment of British and Colonial troops during the French siege of nearby Fort William Henry. After the British surrendered the fort to the French, they began the 15-mile retreat to Fort Edward from the encampment, only to be attacked by the Indians allied to France. About 200 are believed to have been killed in what became known as the massacre of Fort William Henry, though historians believe most of the atrocities occurred just outside the encampment.

Starbuck said he hopes to uncover evidence of the 1755 battle and the so-called entrenched camp that played a role in the siege and massacre that inspired James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Last of the Mohicans.” The field school last dug at the park site in 2001-02, uncovering a bayonet, musket barrel and military compass, among numerous other artifacts.

So far, the dig has mostly yielded pieces of wine bottles dating to the 18th century, Starbuck said.
Read the rest of this story at: The Marietta Daily Journal – Archaeologists excavate New York Colonial battleground

 

Bridge in Troy Renamed to Honor Local Veteran

The Spring Avenue Bridge, in Troy, which has been closed to vehicle traffic since an emergency closure last November, is expected to re-open by Memorial Day 2015, city officials announced Thursday.

The bridge, specifically a resolution to rename the nearly 120-year old structure in honor of PFC Robert C. Felter, was among the items the Troy City Council discussed during its regular monthly meeting Thursday evening.

Felter, a Marine who lived in Troy on Spring Avenue, died Dec. 11, 1965, during the second day of a two-day battle with North Vietnam. Nineteen Marines died during that battle, said Pat Russo, who is spearheading the effort with Felter’s family to memorialize the local soldier.

Both Felter’s younger brother and sister were in attendance at Thursday’s meeting, during which the council’s members unanimously approved the resolution.

“I think it’s great,” said Ken Felter.

“Our mother will be very proud,” said his sister Sandy Gwinn of their 96-year-old mother.

At the meeting, Russo read the Pulse of the People letter that Felter, a Marine for about four years, wrote to the Times Record just days before he died in South Vietnam. It read: “I’ve been getting The Times Record over here quite regularly and I’ve seen where every once in a while everybody is voicing an opinion on these college pranksters who are protesting our being over here. I wonder if they have ever been scared. I have been scared and still am scared, whether it’s a sweep and clear operation or just a patrol. But I know it has got to be done and I do it.”

Spring Avenue Bridge in Troy - ReBath of Albany

The Spring Avenue Bridge, in Troy, will reopen in 2015 with a new name, honoring a local veteran.

Russo said they would be forming a committee to raise funds for a memorial plaque which would be installed on the new bridge and unveiled during a special ceremony next year when it opens.

Demolition of the existing bridge is expected to begin in the next couple of weeks and the structure should be completely razed by the end of August, said city spokesman Michael Morris.

“The City has been working diligently with Greenman-Pedersen and NYSDOT to make sure the project continues to move forward. Recently, all of the easements and right-of-ways were secured so we can now move ahead with the bridge replacement,” said Morris. “There are two main parts to the bridge replacement – the demolition and the reconstruction. As of now, the City has begun advertising for the Reconstruction Contract and has already selected a Demo Contractor.”

In August, the city plans on ordering steel which could take about six months for delivery, Morris explained.

“In September and through the fall, the reconstruction phase is expected to begin with the reconstruction contractor doing excavation, piles, foundations, substructure concrete, masonry wall repairs and backfill so that the project is ready to set steel. Due to the winter months, it is likely that there is a winter shutdown period in January and February. In March, the plan is to set the superstructure steel, water main and gas line. In late April, it is anticipated that the steel deck will be placed. And the goal is to have the bridge open by Memorial Day,” he added.

The existing bridge was first constructed in 1895 and its last rehabilitation was in 1984. City data indicates that about 4,700 vehicles pass over the bridge daily, with projections showing that number could rise to 5,520 vehicles daily in about 30 years.

The new bridge is expected to be in service for a minimum of 75 years. Its final cost has not yet been determined since the work still has to go out to bid. Although the city council bonded $4.5 million for the project in April, 95 percent of the project will be covered by grant money from the Federal Highway Administration and the New York State Department of Transportation. Prior estimates for the city’s 5 percent share have ranged from $150,000 in 2013 to the most recent estimate of $227,500, given by Morris on Thursday.

Renovations to the bridge were originally scheduled to be completed this past April, but then-city engineer Russ Reeves said in November 2013 the city would have to bump that date up due to the status of the bridge. At that time, he said the city looked to complete the work in 2014.

During the process to determine the bridge’s fate, the city initially considered rehabilitation, but ultimately decided on replacement.

Recognizing the impact that the closure of the Spring Avenue Bridge has had on the safety and economic well-being of county motorists, the Rensselaer County Legislative Office of the Minority filed legislation calling for support of Senator Charles Schumer’s proposed amendment to the Federal Transportation Bill. This amendment would increase New York State’s annual funding for off-system bridge repairs by $50 million, allowing for needed repairs to the area’s aging infrastructure. Rensselaer County has 56 off-system bridges which have either become obsolete or are in need of major repairs, according to a statement from the minority office.

This story came from The Record.