His remarks set the tone for an all-day conference of the
Neighborhood Resource Center and the Council of Albany
Neighborhood Associations, which drew approximately 140 people.
Leaders of Albany's 29 neighborhood groups said the session
was the biggest of the four such annual conferences run by the
Past sessions had focused on more-local issues, such as
police protection or parking. But with the emergence of
high-tech research in the Albany area, residents have begun
wondering what the impact will be -- positive, negative or
neutral -- on property values, quality of life and the
Promoters of the nanotechnology, biotechnology, biomedical
and information technology research expansion in the Capital
Region said it will result in many excellent opportunities for
Projects they referred to include the Sematech consortium of
leading semiconductor companies at the University at Albany, the
university's Albany NanoTech research partnerships and the newly
created Center for Medical Science on New Scotland Avenue.
The immediate benefit will be an infusion of highly educated
and wealthy people, as well as young people and foreigners who
will turn Albany into a more cosmopolitan city, according to
University at Albany President Karen Hitchcock and others on
She was joined at Saturday's conference by Albany-Colonie
Regional Chamber of Commerce President Lyn Taylor and Richard
Liebich, CEO of Charitable Leadership Foundation, the owner of
the medical science center.
However, Fabozzi, of Saratoga Springs, said those attracted
to the high-tech jobs here could simply add to sprawl and
gridlock if cities aren't able to find incentives to capture the
"If you look historically at technology, it's a
double-edged sword," he warned. "Keep in mind the
He said the region has followed a national trend of Americans
choosing the suburbs for housing, with retail and corporate
building being done at the expense of cities.
The promoters of high-tech research developments said they
are nonpolluting businesses that will attract businesses that
may indeed build in the suburbs.
The high-tech workers will locate where good K-12 schools are
available, they emphasized.
"It's neighborhood associations like this that are going
to attract and, more importantly, retain these people,"
However, some of the residents in the crowd suggested that
the incoming businesses need to share resources with the
communities, whether its cash or equipment, to improve schools
and other institutions.
Hitchcock said university research must be put into service
to society. And, she said, businesses she's dealing with intend
to be good corporate citizens that consider philanthropy.
"What we're trying to do is tell these people coming to,
'hey, look us over,' " said Gene Solan, chairman of the
Neighborhood Resource Center. "We have the amenities. These
people could walk to work."
Helen Black, one neighborhood leader, said all of Albany
should benefit. "I hope they consider Arbor Hill," she
Taylor and Liebich said some of the incoming people will
likely favor city centers because they are coming from
metropolitan areas. Those young and single will look for
high-end apartments near work and night life.