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A better Albany
Updated: 11/18/2006 4:52:10 PM
By: Curtis Schick

How do you make Albany better? Answers to that rather large question, are being hammered out. Residents got a chance to pick the brains of city leaders from both the Re-Capitalize Albany Committee and the people prepping the new Comprehensive plan.

"It's a wonderful time to bring all these stakeholders together.
Get some more input from them, and where we are going," said Albany Development Commissioner Joe Rabito.

Rabito said the committee is working on ways to improve city neighborhoods, get schools up to par, and make Albany a place people want to do business. He said Mayor Jerry Jennings will use this information to decide where and how the city will focus its investments. Residents, though, want to be sure that their voices are heard.

"Until you hear the people that are living in the conditions as a result of failed policies, you are not going to have a full grasp of what the problems are," said Barbara Smith, the 4th Ward's Common Councilor.

The problems are out there. Residents said the biggest issue the city must deal with in the comprehensive plan, the hundreds of abandoned buildings.

"Their reuse or their demolition must be at the forefront of the discussion said," Common Council Majority Leader Carolyn McLaughlin.

McLaughlin said owners must do something with the properties or face some sort of penalty. Rabito said that issue will be addressed in the plan. The plan is just in it's early stages. As for the Committee, it reports back to the Mayor at the beginning of next year.