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Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations

Meeting Minutes January 7, 2004

Albany Public Library

 

  1. Introductions 

 

2.      Guest Speaker - The Honorable Mayor Gerald D. Jennings

 

Mayor Jennings reviewed and expanded upon several subjects contained in his State of the City Address presented to the Common Council on January 5, 2004 .  Additionally, he answered questions and received comments from CANA members.

 

He asked CANA members to join him in extending condolences to the families the three crewmen who died as a result of the capsizing of the Stellamare in the Port of Albany and the family of David Scaringe.   Support and prayers for Lt. John Finn and his family were requested.  The last days of 2003 presented several challenges for the City and an opportunity for citizens to reach out to help, comfort and support each other.
The Mayor recognized the assistance provided to him by CANA during his first term of office.  It contributed to his administration's record of urban revitalization and an increase of property sales in the city.  Compared to other cities, Albany stands apart as a city that is vibrant and dynamic.  The state of the City is strong and the future is bright.    
Declining tax revenues, health care expenses and rising pension contributions as well as snow removal have challenged the City's finances.  However, the City's clear vision for the future and sound management practices have resulted in fundamentally sound finances.  Albany has one of the strongest bond ratings in the state.  Payments to Albany by the State for the Empire State Plaza have been moved up.  Mayor Jennings will continue efforts to secure State aid for the City.
Albany has and will continue to benefit from Governor Pataki's actions to transform New York into a national center for high tech development.  Construction of new facilities at the State University 's Center for Excellence in Nanoelectronics is underway.
Through Governor Pataki's Empire Zone Program, a State initiative to assist cities, Albany has certified 44 new Empire Zone businesses which are projected to create about 400 new jobs and invest over $71 million in the City over the next two years.  
The City's Department of Development and Planning, IDA and ALDC have facilitated construction of thousands of square feet of new office, retail, and research facilities.  Construction has begun on the largest private office and commercial complex since the Twin Towers was built.
Mayor Jennings reported spending a lot of time with Schools Superintendent Johnson and continues to believe that building new schools in the neighborhoods will provide the greater, less expensive benefit to Albany 's students than the present reconstruction plan and is more likely to be a catalyst to involve parents. 
He also stated that a night only curfew presents an inconsistent message to the City's youth and would like to see a daytime curfew implemented.  Youths between 7 and 17 years old would be brought to school by authorities if they are found truant during hours that school is in session.  This will continue to focus on the City's message to its youth that it cares about them.
The renovated Palace Theatre attracted thousands of new patrons for performances of great classical and contemporary music and other entertainment events.  The Palace's historic marquis will be renovated in 2004.
Design Collective was hired to work with Park South residents and advisory committee to draft a neighborhood revitalization plan that will be unveiled during the early part of this year.  The interest of residents and stakeholders in the redevelopment of the neighborhood is very encouraging.  The City hopes to develop creative living opportunities for 25-45 year olds who work in the University Heights complex where 4,000-5,000 people are employed or are students. 
The Arbor Hill Neighborhood Plan was completed in July 2003.  Homeownership, affordable housing, business and job development and the promotion of arts, culture and heritage are the focus of the plan.  Implementation of the plan continues.  The State Employees Federal Credit Union will soon open a branch office on Clinton Avenue .  St. Joseph 's church has been stabilized and its future use is being investigated.
The AHA has completed construction on seven new Energy Star Homes.  Nine more homeownership units will be constructed.  Up to 30 households in the South End will acquire or renovate homes with funds secured by the AHA  There will be 20 new homes in North Albany as a result of Albany's commitment of $74,000 to Habitat for Humanity.
Several neighborhoods were improved by the C-1 neighborhood/commercial improvement program that concluded during 2003.
In order to promote the City's livability, residential permit parking is imperative.  Some garages are in development; State employee lots are not being fully utilized.   Our legislative representatives have supported residential permit parking in other cities and plans are being made to inundate legislators with the message that Albany must have this management tool.
The availability of mass transit into and out of Albany must be increased as we experience an increase in population.  This issue must be coordinated on a regional level by a local government council.  Mayor Jennings agreed to discuss an expansion of the current discount bus pass program with CDTA because it encourages use.
The present loop roadway design of the Harriman Campus is not sacrosanct and plans are being developed for improved access, particularly to the north.  Reopening the street grid design is one option being considered in the master plan. That concept would make the campus more urban-friendly.  The Mayor considers his seat on the planning body to be vital.  Neighborhoods will be asked to become involved in promoting "smart growth."
The Mayor addressed CANA 's issue with training the members of the Zoning Board of Appeals.  The Department of State offers training for members, and the Mayor will look into that.
Concern was raised about the impact upon parking availability as a result of a decision by the BZA to permit the development of multi-family housing in the Ten Broeck Triangle neighborhood. The Mayor indicated that although he makes recommendations to the BZA, he does not micromanage.  Both he and the members of the BZA is aware of the city's need for housing for present and future residents and that parking availability is considered in their decisions. 
The Mayor was asked whether the City can monitor or control the purchase of properties in the City.  He reported that landlord/investors are in a "speculative mode" and that speculative buying is being monitored.
Mayor Jennings responded to concerns about gun violence incidents and the amount of money available for anti-terrorism precautions. The safety of residents and visitors in the City is his first priority.  From January through September of 2003 there was a dramatic decrease in nearly every category of Part One crimes compared to the same period in 2002.  The City has a $6.8 million allocation.  Several grants were secured to deal with the issue of gun violence and homeland security.  There is an inconsistency nationwide about access to guns.  Most guns that come into Albany are from out of the state.  The ATF is active in assisting APD in cases involving gun violence.  A gun violence task force put together by the Council will need a focused agenda.  Albany has applied for a grant of about $1,200,000 grant to track drug trafficking that impacts the City.
Hearings are being held about the improvement of the New Scotland Avenue/Route 85 corridor roadways.
The State maintains roads in the affluent suburban areas surrounding Albany .  The Mayor would like to see a regional review of this policy. 
The County is selling Centennial Hall.  Residential developers are being sought.
The Mayor insists that all new buildings constructed in the City of Albany have adequate parking for occupants.
Residents report that noise density in the Second Avenue neighborhood is problematic.  The Mayor agreed that the area needs redesign.
The State has announced that it will not be providing funds for new parks, but will be involved in the Hudson River Redevelopment.   There is some interest by developers in the Ice House.

 

  1. Minutes

 

            Minutes of the December 3, 2003 , meeting were approved.

 

  1. Financial Report

 

            CANA 's financial report is included in the meeting agenda.

 

  1. CANA Dues

 

            The chairman pointed out that CANA dues are due on January 31, 2004 .

 

  1. Committees

 

Committee on University and Community Relations - Tom Gebhart

 

            The committee met on Wednesday, December 10 at the Albany Police Department at 526             Central Avenue .  Requests were made for any updates from local distributors, APD and NYS             Alcoholic Beverage Control about the new keg    registration law that went into effect on       November 22, 2003 .  The "Tavern Owner Advertisement Agreement" list has been          updated to include "Stone Crow."  There are now 16 tavern owners representing 19           taverns that are part of this program/agreement. Recent, current and upcoming        advertising     campaigns were outlined.


 

CANA Officer Nominating Committee - Harold Rubin

           

            At the last meeting the committee reported the names of those nominated to serve as officers        for 2004.  The motion to elect them was introduced, seconded and            adopted.  Therefore, the       following are the 2004 CANA officers.

 

           

Chair

Howard Stoller

Melrose NA

Vice Chair

Helen Black

Ten Broeck Triangle

Treasurer

Stephen Winters

Second Avenue NA

Members at Large

Mary Connair

Delaware Area NA

 

Andrew Harvey

Park South NA

 

Patricia Maxon

Upper Washington NA

 

Marggie Skinner

Pine Hills NA

 

Elfrieda Textores

South End Concerned Citizens

Past Chair

Harold Rubin

Center Square Association

 

 

            It was again noted that Henry Madej and Emily Grissom are stepping down and their             contributions to CANA are appreciated.

 

  1.  New Business and Announcements

 

CANA is looking for a cartographer to revise and update its map of neighborhoods.  There are also two new associations that should be added. Lori Harris of the Department of Development and Planning indicated that the maps used to draw CANA 's originals are still on file in that office and can be amended to achieve this.  Information contained in the neighborhood brochures being submitted to DDP by CANA members will be used for this purpose. 

 

            That office has completed the template to produce the neighborhood brochures and Mayor Jennings is pleased with the concept and product.  He will be using them on his weekly radio show to market the neighborhoods.  Members who have not submitted their brochures should      send them to Rebecca Brownell at DDP, 21 Lodge Street , Albany as soon as possible.

 

            It was noted that the City of Albany Website still does not link to CANA 's website.  Lori Harris          will also look into that.

 

A motion was introduced to make a contribution in the amount of $100 of CANA 's funds to the Friends of John Finn.  That was seconded and adopted.  The Chairman will send a check.

 

A suggestion was made that CANA send a memorial donation or condolence card or letter to the family of David Scaringe.   CANA will send a condolence card; The Center Square, Hudson Park and Park South neighborhood associations have already done so and made a memorial donation.

 

Diana Pane presented information about the Hudson Mohawk Earth Institute.  This organization has a loosely-knit affiliation to the not-for-profit Northwest Institute in Portland , Oregon .  The Institute offers discussion eight or nine-week session courses to motivate and educate individuals and organizations to protect the earth. Courses offered in the Capital Region are designed to motive individuals to examine and transform personal values and habits, accept responsibility for the earth, and to act on that commitment.   Between eight and ten individuals generally enroll for each discussion group.  There is no charge for enrollment; materials for each course cost $20. 

 

            Of particular interest to neighborhood associations may be the "Discovering a Sense of      Place"             discussion course because it considers the potential benefits of knowing and protecting our             place. In terms of thinking locally, it builds the community by getting neighbors to communicate        and create visions for the community.   

 

            Additional information is available by calling 518-462-9582 or at www.nwei.org.

 

  1. The meeting adjourned at 8:35 PM .

 

 

 

January 7, 2004

Meeting Attendees

 

NAME

ASSOCIATION

ADDRESS

Andrew Harvey

Park South

271 Myrtle Ave

Daniel VanRiper

Lincoln Park NA

dwvr@atecone.net

Helen Black

TB Triangle

39 Ten Broeck Place

Fred Perkins

NSW

11 Woodlawn Ave

Leonard Morgenbesser

Buckingham/Crestwood

219 Tampa Ave

Steven Minchin

H/PNA

240 Hudson Ave

Marggie Skinner

PHNA

49 Ryckman Ave

Lorenz Worden

PHNA

127 South Pine Ave

PO Kathi Rissberger

APD, Center Station

536 Western Ave

John Cirrin

Albany Public Library

cirrinj@uhls.lib.ny.us

Henry M. Madej

PHNA

hmmadej@yahoo.com

Gene Solan

Pine Hills

126 So. Allen St

Harold Rubin

Center Square

156 Chestnut St

David Phaff

PHNA

5 No Pine Ave

Betsy Shearer

PSNA

58 B Morris St

Stephen Winters

SANA

22 Second Ave

Ruth Rubin

Center Square

156 Chestnut St

Elise VanAllen

Center Square

327 State St

Betsey Schearer

PSNA

58 B Morris St

Mary Connair

DANA

68 Summit Ave

Bill Cleveland

West End

9 Essex Street

Howard Stoller

CANA

Hstoller@aol.com

Elfrieda Textores

South End

70 Third Avenue

Colin McKnight

Mansion

45 Elm St

Holly Katz

Mansion

1 1/2 Elm St

Tom Gebhardt

University at Albany

 

Richard Conti

Common Council

151 Chestnut St

Diana Pane

Park South/HMEI

451 Myrtle Ave

Louise McNeilly

DANA

27 Summit Ave

Dennis Mosley

PHNA

550 Myrtle Ave

Leo S. Levy

Helderberg

29 Lawnridge Ave

Judith Hardie

West End

780 Livingston Ave

William A. Hardie, Sr

WENA

780 Livingston Ave

Jordan Gobrecht

CSA

161 Jay Street

Jack Consiglio

NANA

73 North Allen St

Brian (Illegible)

Hudson Park

92 Willet St

Martin Gawoski

West Hill

308 Second St

Kenneth Daniel McIntyre

Center Square

280 State St

Patricia Maxon

UWANA

34 Victor St

Aimee Allund

Melrose NA

 

Mimi Mounteer

Manning Boulevard

75 Manning Boulevard

John Frederick

Hudson Park

305 Hudson Ave

Jeremy Rundell

Myrtle Ave

817 Myrtle Ave

Paul M. Malecki

New Scotland/Woodlawn

501 West Lawrence St

Adam Morehead

Hudson Park

387 Madison Ave

Craig Waltz

Helderberg NA

979 New Scotland Ave

Lori Harris

DDP

21 Lodge St

Marc Gronich

 

 

Christopher Burke

Lark St BID

188 Lancaster St

Todd Nathan

Center Square

176 Chestnut St

Brian Nearing

Times Union

 

Joanne McElroy Moore

NASPNA

663 North Pearl St

Donald Wardle

United Tenants

125 Dove St