LAKE KATRINE, NY – Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. says it is working to minimize the nuisance associated with building a training academy and distribution center adjacent to the existing utility equipment storage facility at 2001 Ulster Ave. (Route 9W).
The project in the Lake Katrine section of the city of Ulster was approved in November 2019 following briefings by Central Hudson, but the scale of the clearing operation, which includes blasting, over the 56-acre plot surprised some people. Guardian.
“On the blasting that is taking place, we have a notification system where we will call neighbors who would like to be called just before an explosive detonates,” Central Hudson spokesman John Maserjian said. In addition, he said, the utility has “done seismic surveys at the residences just to make sure they are well below the levels of concern, and they are.”
Maserjian added that Central Hudson has asked the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration if the emergency alarms on the agency’s trucks can be turned off so neighbors don’t have to hear the incessant beeps.
He said the state’s Department of Transportation “was going to launch a pilot program at its saltworks to use another type of back-up alarm that might not go that far but might be suitable for workers at the site.” We will see if this can be integrated into our project.
The city of Ulster, meanwhile, plans to hold a public information session next month where residents can ask questions about the project.
“The city is planning another community meeting… to fill in the gaps,” said supervisor James Quigley.
Maserjian said work currently underway at the site – including the creation of a “gas village”, an energy control center and a pole yard – has an estimated cost of $ 40 million. of dollars, but the training center itself will be “in addition, and the cost is being finalized.
“This building will be the last to be developed,” he said.
The training center will be built on land separate from the current Central Hudson building by the Bread Alone operation. The utility has reached an agreement with Bread Alone to use 1.8 acres of that company’s 5.4-acre parcel to connect one Central Hudson site to the other.
Central Hudson creates the center to keep its teams abreast of new technologies, regulatory changes and new emergency management techniques.
New buildings at the Central Hudson site will include a 40,000 square foot training academy with classrooms and offices; a 31,000 square foot indoor training area; and a “gas village” consisting of six small residential training buildings, one 800 square foot commercial training building and one 240 square foot training apartment building.
An electricity transmission and distribution control center will consist of a 41,500 square foot building.
“Construction of the gas village… should be practically completed by the end of the year,” Maserjian said. “The village will be used to train employees and first responders to safely deal with emergency situations when natural gas and electricity service is present.”
Quigley sees the new facility as beneficial to the city, noting people from outside the region who train there could stay at one of the four nearby hotels and patronize nearby businesses.
“The greatest value for me… is the replacement, with the new development, of the [property] values that have been lost, ”said the supervisor. “It is also essential that we create new jobs in the community. These are new jobs in both relocations and new hires, and I hope these new hires choose to become residents of our community… and that helps strengthen the housing market.
Central Hudson plans to begin work on the pole yard at the site later this year and prepare it for training use in mid-2022.
“The pole yard… will be used to train and test line workers to respond to emergencies, install electrical components, properly manage high voltage power lines, pole top rescues and more,” Maserjian said. . “The site will contain 15 distribution poles of varying heights, as well as transmission poles, all with interconnecting wires.”
Construction of the main training academy and a conference annex is scheduled to begin in 2024.