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November 3, 2018


Here is Mayor Sheehan’s response to Hearst Times Union content provider Chris Churchill’s defense of Re-pub election commissioner Rachel Bledi's bad and dangerous and in my opinion ignorant attack on the South End of Albany, which was rejected by the Hearst managers out of spite.  It is this sort of petty minded rejection of feedback by a responsible public official that explains why newspapers have become marginal.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan

Mayor of #Albany, New York's Capital City. Unleashing #Albany's potential through its neighborhoods. #AlbanyLeads
Oct 29, 2018

Building a City Where Every Neighborhood Works

The Times Union declined my request to publish this response to the October 15th opinion column written by Chris Churchill. I’m publishing it here so the public can better understand the efforts of my administration to reverse decades of disinvestment in Albany’s South End.

In his recent column regarding Board of Elections officials balking at the idea of moving to the County-owned Department of Motor Vehicles building, columnist Chris Churchill asserted that he hadn’t “heard” of ideas put forward by my administration to reverse decades of disinvestment in Albany’s South End. Had he given me the courtesy of calling before writing, here is what he would have learned:

Since I took office in 2014, the South End has benefited from more than $77 million of investment. These investments include:

· $40.3 million in the Historic Pastures?—?creating 246 quality affordable housing units for Albany residents.

· $18.5 million in improvements to and construction of affordable housing managed by the Albany Housing Authority.

· The opening of the 17,500 square foot, $6.5 million Capital South Campus Center, which connects residents with workforce training, high school completion, English language classes, an ATTAIN lab, and other community services including a pharmacy operated in partnership with the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

· $680,000 in rehabilitation funds provided to 83 homes in the South End; $110,000 in down payment assistance for homes purchased in the South End; and $160,000 in emergency repair funds that allowed South End residents to stay in their homes.

· $396,000 for ADA Improvements to Lincoln Park, making the Lincoln Park fields accessible to all users of the park.

· $320,000 for the acquisition and renovation of the abandoned 25 Warren Street Dream Center to house Youth FX and the South End Children’s Café.

· The construction and opening of a Family Dollar store located at 418 South Pearl Street?—?something for which residents had been advocating for years.

In addition to these investments, organizations like AVillage Inc., Habitat for Humanity, the Albany County Land Bank and the Radix Center continue to invest in and advocate for the South End. As part of our ReZone Albany efforts, we created an overlay zone specifically for the portion of the South End that includes the County-owned DMV site so that the community’s vision is reflected in our zoning code.

And just last month, The Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences opened the Collaboratory?—?whose name stems from its role as a “laboratory for collaboration”?—?a space created to improve the health of residents of Albany’s South End and the surrounding neighborhoods.

I remain committed to making Albany a city where every neighborhood works. So had you asked Chris, I would have said that $77+ million in investment, a complete rezoning of the South End and an infusion of support and workforce development services make for a strong start. And the great, proud and determined residents of the South End have no shortage of new ideas that we continue to work on together.