By REBECCA WEBSTER
Recorder News Staff
The year 2012 brought a lot of changes to the area, from the reopening of a local bridge and veterans memorials going up in more than one location, to the creation of a city economic development director and the passing of a long-time supervisor.
Montgomery County Board of Supervisors Chairman and Charleston Town Supervisor Shayne Walters passed away in October after a nine-month battle with cancer.
Walters, who was first elected as Charlestown Town Supervisor in 2004, underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatments, that appeared to be effective in fighting the cancer until just before his death.
Family, neighbors, fellow supervisors, and local residents mourned Walters' loss and a memorial service was held to remember a life lived with fervor and a sincere care for the people around him.
In other news throughout the year:
* In September, the Amsterdam Common Council gave the OK for Colonial Square Housing Development Fund Company to do a payments in lieu of tax arrangement for the Highland and Holland Gardens complex. The site, which had formerly failed various inspections, is now named Colonial Square Apartments and quickly undergoing intense renovations both inside and out.
* Edinburg's Batchellerville Bridge was completed this year - a year ahead of schedule - by Harrison and Burrowes Bridge Constructors of Glenmont. The $46.7 million project replaced the more than 80-year-old former bridge that had been showing structural issues for the last few years. The bridge opened to traffic in mid-November and the old bridge is set to be demolished next year.
* Union College was given the OK to come in and use Shuttleworth park's baseball facilities from 2013 to 2017. The park will soon sport a new turf infield, a $160,000 bond project, with officials hoping that the partnership will bring more activity and visitors in to Amsterdam.
* Two new veterans memorials were unveiled to the public this year, a smaller one in the city of Amsterdam and a larger one in the town of Florida. Plans for expansion of the Florida memorial to include various monuments and war memorabilia are underway.
* Hundreds flocked to the National Shrine of Kateri Tekakwitha in Fonda in October after it was announced in February that the Auriesville-born Native American would be canonized. Tekakwitha was the first Native American to be named a saint by the Catholic Church and the first in the area.
* The Noteworthy building and Constantino estate went up for grabs at the beginning of the year. Though the deal hasn't been sealed just yet, the Walter Elwood Museum is looking to soon make the move into the Noteworthy complex after having been displaced after Tropical storms Irene and Lee. The Walter Elwood Museum spent 2012 housed in the former Fuccillo Jeep building in the city.
* This year brought the construction of the new Route 30A bridge between Fonda and Fultonville over the CSX railroad tracks. The old bridge will soon be torn down. During the construction, it was announced that the Fonda CSX railroad crossings would be closed while the bridge was being worked on. But now, even with the work done, CSX is hoping to keep the crossings closed. Many discussions - and a few public hearings - accompanied the year in regard the potential closure of the Broadway and Center Street CSX railroad crossings. As of December, the state had yet to render an official recommendation as to whether they will stay closed.
* In September, the state approved the transfer of the Tryon Juvenile Rehabilitation Center in Perth from state hands to Fulton County Industrial Development Agency hands. With the announcement, plans to redevelop the site into the Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center, a $3.14 million project, could begin moving forward.
* The city hopped on board in March to the newly developed Land Reutilization Corporation of the Capital Region. The land bank organization includes representatives from Amsterdam, the city of Schenectady, and the county of Schenectady, and works together to figure out best practices for purchasing pieces of land and selling to interested developers.
* Centro Civico of Amsterdam merged with Centro Civico Hispanoamericano of Albany in May after unanimous votes of approval from each organization's Board of Directors. The merger gave the agencies an opportunity to pool resources.
* Amsterdam's Pedestrian Bridge project took leaps this year as city officials met throughout the year with various community groups to discuss the incorporation of Amsterdam history into the project. Three renderings of possible looks for the bridge were released to the public as well. Footings are set to begin in 2013.
* In March, plans to reconfigure the driving patterns in the city of Amsterdam were underway and steadily continued throughout the year. By the end of the year, new roads were added - yet unopened, paving work continued across the city, and new traffic light poles were going up city-wide.
* The more-than-a-year-long Vail Mills transportation construction project was completed at the end of July. The $5.5 million project included the construction of a brand new Kennyetto Creek Bridge and the installation of a traffic circle at the intersection of routes 30 and 29.