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Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations

Meeting Minutes December 3, 2003

Albany Public Library


  1. Introductions


            Jeff Cannell of the Albany Public Library thanked those who took time to contact the governor and/or mayor about the relocation of the main branch of the library to the         Washington Avenue Armory. 


  1. Minutes


            Minutes of the November 5, 2003 , meeting were approved.


  1. Guest Speakers


Denise Zieske of the Center for Economic Growth


The mission of The Center for Economic Growth (CEG) is to bring transformational, technology-focused growth to the Capital Region and Tech Valley through a regional agenda.  Pursuing primary areas of strategic development, the CEG's regional impact agenda brings together the region's leading companies, academic institutions, community organizations and government.  Eleven Capital District counties are members of this private, not-for-profit corporation.  The CEG provides support and advocacy for major regional development projects.  The vision of economic growth that has been defined focuses upon (1) defining the region's future; (2)   identifying new growth engines; (3) tying regional growth to global trends; (4) identifying and filling gaps; (5) creating and growing new companies; (6) attracting new companies.


The Capital District offers attractive resources to companies seeking to locate to the area.    They include an educated, experienced workforce; university-based research and development facilities; permitted sites within the community; attractive quality of life; stable political and financial framework; access to suppliers and network access.  Two milestones that have been reached in the process of attracting businesses is the establishment research and development facilities associated with SUNY and the pending availability of the Harriman Office Campus to private tenants.


Companies that have located in the Capital District or are considering locating here include those concerned with nanotechnology, bioelectronics, chip manufacturing, advanced materials, research and development, energy, information technology, biotechnology design.    


The impact of increased population in the 11-county area is being studied by CEG and local communities and many groups are reviewing current and future educational opportunities.  Communities are encouraging residential in-fill in existing neighborhoods.  Mixed use development is being marketed.  Although CEG has no official position on the use of brown fields, it is working with communities in developing those areas as they are identified.   


The CANA website contains a link to the Center for Economic Growth.

Chief Robert Wolfgang - Albany Police Department


Chief Wolfgang addressed the member's concerns and questions about his temporary suspension of the Community Police Council.  Although initially successful in meeting its goals when it was established in 1996, the chief indicated that the council has become underutilized and unfocused over the last few  years.  Some projects of the late 1990's have fallen to the wayside, and there has been diminished concentration on community police initiatives.  The Chief's review of the council's meeting minutes indicates that the group has devoted an excessive amount of time discussing the development of a brochure that has yet to be produced, and issues of the individual neighborhoods.  Members of the council are required to attend the Citizen Police Academy .  Yet it is evident that all members have not been to that training and meeting time is spent educating them about material that was covered in that training.  Attendance at council meetings has decreased; police members have indicated that the unproductiveness of the group does not justify the investment of their time. 

The Community Police Council is being re-formed and the original mission re-stated to work on the original goals of the council.  A new chairman and group of member representatives have been recommended by APD staff, and Chief Wolfgang is preparing to extend formal invitations to the nominees.  They will include APD officers, community leaders/activists, and former members of the council.  A class for new council members will be developed with the Citizen Police Academy .


Chief Wolfgang also received comments and answered questions about the Department's Community Policing Outreach Program. Some CANA members expressed their feeling that the Outreach officer program is being underutilized and that officers are not creative in taking action on neighborhood issues.  Chief Wolfgang stressed that all officers should be responsive to the neighborhoods to which they are assigned.  The beat officer can provide assistance or refer issues to the Chief's office.

The Chief was informed that the deployment of police in Lincoln Park is critical and that the officers assigned have been responsive and productive.  He was asked if the new beat officer assigned to the Second Avenue neighborhood could work for a period of time with the old officer to become more aware of the needs of that area and become more involved.  The Chief agreed to pursue that possibility.


The issue of animal control was addressed.  Enforcement of animal control is now the responsibility of APD. 



Committee Reports


CANA Officer Nominating Committee - Harold Rubin


The committee reported nominating the following officers for a term commending January 2004.  CANA members will vote at the January meeting.


            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 noted that Henry Madej and Emily Grissom are stepping down as officers and recommended that a letter be sent to Emily  who is residing at the Daughters of Sarah Nursing Home acknowledging her longstanding service to CANA .  Howard Stoller will write to Emily on CANA's behalf.


Neighborhood Works IV - Gene Solan


Approximately 150 people attended the fourth annual Neighborhood Works conference November 22, 2003 , from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the First Lutheran Church . The committee received positive comments about the event, and the committee chairman recognized the members and their work.  At the Hidden Assets panel there was concern that is inadequate publicity about neighborhood assets.  A need was expressed for a mechanism to bring attention to the neighborhoods on a regular basis, such as on the Mayor's weekly radio show.  Harold Rubin raised this proposal with Lori Harris, the Commissioner of the City['s Department of Development and Planning, who brought it to the attention of the mayor who agreed to do it.  One source of information that he could use is the material submitted by the neighborhood associations on the form passed out at the November meeting by the planning office.  It is expected that the mayor will discuss this when he addresses CANA at the January meeting.


Vacant Buildings Task Force


The City presently requires that owners register vacant buildings and pay a $200 per year fee. There are presently 800 vacant buildings; only 139 are registered and there appears to be poor or no follow up.  The registry is presently ineffective because there is no time limit for renovation of the buildings.  The task force recommended that the fee increase each year and if it's not paid it should be added to the owners' property tax bills so the City can get properties foreclosed. A motion was made and adopted to support this general principal and recommendation.  City representatives will be asked by the chairman to attend a CANA meeting to address this subject.


Cable Television Committee

Hearings and receipt of petitions have been scheduled for Spring 2004.



The meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM .


December 3, 2003

Meeting Attendees





Andrew Harvey

Park South

271 Myrtle Ave

Daniel VanRiper

Lincoln Park NA

Helen Black

TB Triangle

39 Ten Broeck Place

Fred Perkins


11 Woodlawn Ave

Denise Zieske


63 State Street

Karen Cunniff


10 Croswell St .

David Rooney


63 State Street

Joyce Rambo

Center Square

189 Lancaster

PO Kathi Rissberger

APD, Center Station

536 Western Ave

John Cerrin

Albany Public Library

Mark KP. Yolles


46 Elm

Gene Solan

Pine Hills

126 So. Allen St

Harold Rubin

Center Square

156 Chestnut St

Jeff Cannell

Albany Public Library

Dominick Calsolaro

Second Ave

35 Clair Ave

Stephen Winters


22 Second Ave

PO Matthew Montesano


Elise VanAllen

Center Square

327 State St

Michele (Illegible)

Hudson Park Neighborhood Association


Mary Connair


Bill Cleveland

West End

9 Essex Street

Howard Stoller


Leane Paeglow

West Hill

Colin McKnight


45 Elm St

Holly Katz


1 1/2 Elm St

Tom Gebhardt

University at Albany