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Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations  

Meeting Minutes of January 9, 2002

Albany Public Library

 1.                  Howard Stoller , CANA Chair, called the meeting to order.

2.                  Introductions

3.                  GUEST SPEAKER:  Mayor Gerald Jennings summarized his State of the City address and answered members’ questions and concerns.


§         BUDGET:  The events of September 11 have had and will continue to have an impact on the City’s budget.  For example, the cost to secure the city’s waster supply was $120,000 during the first month.   The City may or may not be reimbursed from the national defense budget for security costs such as this.  Additionally, funds for economic development are expected to be minimal.

§         PUBLIC SAFETY:  The Public Safety and Code Enforcement offices are now located in the same building and will work together as a proactive team.  Statistics indicate that crime rates decreased in the City in 2001.

§         NEIGHBORHOOD REVITALIZATION:  The City continues to invest in revitalizing its neighborhoods.  Residents are aware of the Home Store’s services and the Store is expected to move forward financially.  The Albany Housing Authority has moved to new headquarters.  The Knox St. / Dana Avenue and University Heights problems will be addressed during 2002. 

§         REVENUE:  Payments in lieu of taxes for State buildings located in the City will be collected in 2 years. .  Major Jennings announced that St. Joseph ’s Church has been stabilized and a work group has been formed to make recommendations for re-use.

§         COUNTY SUPPORT :  Across the State, counties will be working more closely with municipalities.

§         HUDSON RIVER WALKWAY:  The sale of bricks for the pedestrian walkway on the bridge at the riverfront continues; approximately $1 million have already been sold.

§         EDUCATION:  More inquiries were received by the Mayor’s office regarding the recent school revitalizations than any other issue.  The Mayor supported the plan; schools keep people in the City.

§         ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:  The Port of Albany has been designated as an inland port and as such has applied for a grant to purchase additional equipment to support the 114 percent increase of inflow.  The study to consider a new convention center and hotel has made a strong, positive recommendation for a $150 million to $200 million facility.


Concern was expressed about the overcrowded conditions at the Lincoln Park pool.  The pool will continue to operate and the situation will be monitored for one year.


The CDTC funding of the reconstruction of Lark Street was addressed.  The $6 million funds originally designated for the reconstruction have been reassigned to the Upper New Scotland Avenue area to correct safety issues.  The City will fund a $2 million reconstruction of the Lark Street area, and no underground work will be performed.   As a result, the work on Lark Street will commence next spring with a minimum of disruption as opposed to beginning much later and taking longer to complete. Members expressed concern that there was no CANA or neighborhood association involvement in the decision to redirect the CDTC funds.  Meetings will be held to address both the safety issue on New Scotland Avenue and the economic effects on Lark Street .  Neighborhood association representatives will be invited.  Additionally, the Mayor will meet with representatives of the appropriate neighborhood associations.


With regard to the school revitalizations, the City anticipates that the citizens and neighborhood associations will become involved in the plans.


CANA is experiencing difficulties with Time Warner Cable pertaining to its meeting videos being shown on Public Access TV.  The City shares the same frustrations, and the Cable Committee will be meeting with Time Warner in an attempt to resolve some issues related to cable television. 


The frustrations experienced by both the City and the neighborhoods in dealing with Niagara Mohawk were discussed.  There have been requests to bury power lines in neighborhoods where they are obtrusive and detrimental to the character of the area.  They City is planning to meet with representatives of Niagara Mohawk and will invite members of CANA to those meetings.


Youth safety issues were addressed.  The Mayor proposes that the new schools be constructed as quickly as possible and that schools be open after 3:30 and that city staff conduct activities that are not contingent on school programming.  The City will work with the school district administration to promote this.


The issue of pedestrian safety during the winter months was discussed.  When plowing the streets, there are occasions when the crosswalks and bus stops are plowed in and then not shoveled to accommodate walking.  Both the City and CDTA can be contacted to rectify any such situations.


Locations for snow emergency parking have been designated now that the ESP garage is closed to all but business vehicles.  The City will address this problem quickly.


The Mayor indicated that he had not received any written documents or summary of the most recent Neighborhoods Work conference.  A profile will be forwarded to him.


CANA members expressed their pleasure about the success of programs that revitalized the Arbor Hill/Ten Broeck neighborhoods and are encouraged by the Mayor’s commitment.


Mayor Jennings indicated that the results of a recent report by SUNY Department of Criminal Justice regarding biased-based policing in the City of Albany are very positive.  Eighty percent of the survey respondents indicated that they are pleased with their interactions with the Albany Police Department.


4.                  Minutes:  The minutes of the December meeting were corrected and accepted.  The name “Westland Hills Neighborhood Association” as having voted in the affirmative to recommend support of the School District Facilities Plan Bond Issue is to “West Hill Neighborhood Association.”


5.                  New Business, Continuing Business, and Announcements


§         Albany ’s role in the Underground Railroad will be the subject of a conference on February 9 at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 262 State Street .  For additional information, call 432-4432.


§         The Arbor Hill Revitalization Committee will meet in February.  The members are encouraged by the Mayor’s commitment to their neighborhood’s revitalization.


§         The CANA committee to nominate members to serve on the Executive Committee nominated the following:

Chairperson:              Howard Stoller

Vice Chairperson:                 Helen Black

Executive Committee:          Steve Winters, Henry M. Madej, Mary Connair, Elfrieda Textores, Emily Grissom, Harold Rubin (past-president)

The nominations were seconded and accepted by a unanimous vote.


§         The suggestion was made that a committee be formed to be available to the Common Council as reapportionment of the City’s wards is considered.  John Frederick, Henry M. Madej, Don Wardle, Marggie Skinner (chair) and Eileen Murray volunteered to serve as members. It was recommended that each neighborhood association review their own boundaries, areas of interest and population and submit that information to the committee to present to the Common Council.


§         A year-long celebration is being planned to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the founding of Beverwick. CANA members are asked to identify sites in their neighborhoods, which may be included in the event such as historic homes, etc.  They are also looking for speakers, historians, etc. to include in a videotape that is being produced.  For more information or to submit information, contact Marggie Skinner.


§         Leonard Morganbesser presented and distributed additional information on a partnership to reduce youth gun violence and reported that federal funding may or may not be available to assist with a program in Albany .  Syracuse has agreed to share their experiences with the program they developed.   Mr. Morganbesser requested that members endorse such a proposal.


6.                  Committee Reports


·        University and Community Relations:  The next meeting of the committee will be on Wednesday February 13, when planning for spring clean up will begin.   CANA members from the neighborhoods that include student apartments or housing suggested that business become involved in keeping the neighborhoods litter-free on a regular basis, rather than just during spring clean up.  It was suggested that at ordinance be considered to enforce such business involvement.


·        Community Police Council:  A grant has been received to hire additional people and speakers.  Preliminary work has begun to look beyond racial profiling to other issues.


7.   The meeting adjourned at 9 PM .