ALBANY — Just over a year after the concept was first floated to wide publicity, backers are quietly planning construction of an aerial gondola over the Hudson River between the Rensselaer Amtrak station and downtown Albany.
“We have continued our work on the project, developing plans, meeting with stakeholders and raising private investment capital,” said Peter Melewski, project manager for the proposed Capital District Gondola and national director of strategic planning for McLaren Engineering Group of West Nyack, Rockland County.
A detailed ridership and economic impact assessment for the project is being prepared, he said. In addition to providing a scenic option for people arriving at the Rensselaer Amtrak station on business, a feasibility study completed last November concluded an aerial tram would have significant tourism potential. More information is expected after Labor Day, he said.
“The gondola, combined with other visitor attractions, will enhance the area as a major destination,” Melewski said.
The idea, first proposed in July 2016, has received support — at least as a concept — from local officials on both sides of the river.
Since it was proposed, plans for the state to spend $15 million on a gondola at the State Fargrounds in Syracuse were announced — an idea many people have ridiculed on social media. Melewski said the projects are different, and each should be judged on its own merits.
Initial construction for the Albany project has been estimated at costing between $17 million and $20 million, with annual operating costs of about $2.4 million. These costs could…
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