Common Council gets briefed on contract for the Fleischmann’s Pier rebuild

By Michael Trapani

Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting – the first since the swearing in of Mayor McKenzie and Common Council – was relatively light compared to meetings at the end of 2021. This session focused on three main agenda items: The labor contract for the Fleischmann’s Pier rebuild project, options for snow removal from sidewalks, and needed repairs to the public pool. 

Fleischmann’s Pier

The Committee of the Whole reviewed a report it commissioned on the potential benefits of  using a type of contract – a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) – to execute the reconstruction of Fleischmann’s Pier. 

The report, performed by Seeler Engineering of Penfield, NY, claimed that the use of such a PLA would not offer significant benefits to the city in cost savings or its other goals for the project, and therefore recommends the city proceed with a standard construction contracting and bidding process. 

Both Mayor McKenzie and the Common Council seemed to desire the use of a PLA – which are typically favorable to unions – and asked Seeler several questions to better understand the recommendation against using one. Ultimately, Seeler said that because the size of the project is relatively small, it would not save the city a large enough amount of money for such an agreement to make financial sense. The Council seemed open to using a PLA for a future project. 

A PLA is a type of collective bargaining contract that takes place before any work begins, and sets parameters on cost, conditions, and other ways in which the work will be done by the workers of the project. Not all public projects use a PLA, especially since labor union contractors already have such agreements in place. A PLA, however, would guarantee certain work parameters, even if a non-union contractor was selected. 

Fleischmann’s Pier (Photo by Jim Striebich)
Residents and business owners are required by city code to clear sidewalks. (Photo by Regina Clarkin)

Originally built in 1938 to receive ocean-faring cargo ships for Standard Brands, also known as the Fleischmann Company, Fleischmann’s Pier is one of the few deep-water piers on the Hudson River. This makes the pier, which adjoins Charles Point Park, a viable candidate for larger vessels, ferries, and recreational use. The Fleischman’s Pier project will feature docking for large vessels, a kayak dock, gangways, benches, new lighting, and viewing areas. 

Snow Removal 

While the City of Peekskill requires the removal of snow from pedestrian sidewalks after a certain period of hours, the removal of snow is not always done. This becomes a problem for pedestrians, children walking to schools, cyclists, and more. During this discussion, Chris Gross, of the Department of Public Works (DPW) proposed enlisting private contractors to remove snow from these areas – especially in high-traffic, high priority areas, such as routes to the train station. Note that this seems to only apply in the event that a sidewalk is not cleared by the commercial or residential owner that is responsible.

This proposal seemed to be well received by the council, who will add it as a resolution for a vote to the January 10 Common Council meeting. 

Depew Park Pool 
A last minute agenda item was added – needed funding to repair the filters for the Veteran’s Memorial Pool at Depew Park, which was agreed to be added as a resolution to a future Common Council meeting.

Veteran’s Memorial Pool in Depew Park

Public Housing Update

Councilman Dwight Douglass who is the Council’s liaison to the Peekskill Housing Authority  noted that a provider will soon be selected to make needed improvements to Peekskill’s public housing buildings. The selection of the vendor can take place as early as January, though work may not begin until 2023.