Arbor Hill

  Arbor Hill is a historic neighborhood located in the northeast section of the City of Albany, bounded by Orange Street, Broadway and Henry Johnson Boulevard. Arbor Hill is primarily a residential area with a unique heritage.  Ten Broeck Mansion, the Palace Theatre and St. Joseph's Church are a few examples of the cultural gems within the neighborhood's historic districts (Ten Broeck and Clinton Avenue).

In 2003, the City helped form an Advisory Committee to complete a neighborhood plan that would best represent the interests and needs of Arbor Hill stakeholders (e.g., homeowners, tenants, lenders, neighborhood associations, faith-based groups and service organizations), and that could act as a guiding document for neighborhood revitalization.  The Advisory Committee focused on priorities such as homeownership and rental opportunities; arts, culture and heritage; business and job development; and improved quality of life

To date, Arbor Hill has made great progress toward implementing recommendations outlined in their Neighborhood Plan.  Many significant residential, commercial and mixed-use projects have already transformed the Arbor Hill community (see the (Re)Development Map for updates). Projects have been developed through a variety of public/private investment; through supportive relationships such as, Albany Community Development Agency, Albany Housing Authority, and the Arbor Hill Development Corporation; and through funding awarded from Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), or other public/private resources.

Some highlights in Arbor Hill include:

  • Albany receives a Planning Excellence Award for Implementation of the Arbor Hill Neighborhood Plan by the NY Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association.
  • Albany Housing Authority begins the long-awaited update and renovation of the 1970's-era Ida Yarbrough Homes.
  • Steep, vacant lots along First Street are cleaned up and landscaped--now enjoyed as Overlook Park.

North Swan Street Revitalization

  North Swan Street consists of four blocks in the Arbor Hill Neighborhood and Ten Broeck Historic District.  Historically, North Swan Street was once considered a thriving and busy, commercialized street in Arbor Hill.  Over the past 40 years, the area fell into neglect, leaving much of its existing housing stock, commercial and school buildings deteriorated and abandoned.

However, in recent years Arbor Hill has shown an increased interest in revitalizing North Swan Street.  Both the City and the Albany Housing Authority have invested time and resources to improve infrastructure and increase housing and commercial space…

King's Place, a previously dilapidated historic building that blighted North Swan Street has since been rehabbed into an impressive updated apartment building, gallery space, center for the Albany County Historical Association and meeting area for the Ten Broeck Mansion… Read more.

Albany Barn The Albany Barn, a non-profit organization who provides a major resource for the creative arts community with exhibit and studio space, continues to raise funds and support for the transformative Academy Lofts project, a multi-unit live/work residence for artists. 

Thanks to grant funds from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the former Arbor Hill Courts have been transformed into the North Swan Street Park.  This half-acre neighborhood park has been revitalized from its current status of disrepair into a sustainable area for community gathering and recreation.  As part of the Arbor Hill Neighborhood Plan, this park project was created through collaborative efforts and public outreach between the City, professional design consultants, residents and community stakeholders... Read more about creating the North Swan Street Park.

  The North Swan Street Park is designed to be a multi-generational community space with features that take on green initiatives consistent with EPA’s Green Project Reserve. Therefore, a primary design goal in building North Swan Street Park was to reduce impervious cover in the recreational areas by at least 25%, so to promote natural filtration for improved quality of stormwater runoff.  This reduction would qualify the project under NYSDEC’s redevelopment criteria for Water Quality Treatment and Runoff Reduction.

Green Initiatives within the North Swan Street Park (re)development design include permeable pavers, bioretention, soil restoration and decompaction, vegetated swales and tree plantings.


About Tivoli Lake Preserve

    The community expressed in Albany 2030 a desire to protect or improve the City's natural areas, enhance and grow its urban forest, and maintain existing habitats.  Tivoli Lake Preserve is one of the largest urban preserves in the City of Albany, and a landmark nature area for the West Hill and Arbor Hill Neighborhoods.  Tivoli Lake Preserve was established in 1975 by the City of Albany’s Common Council and Mayor Erastus Corning II.  Located between Livingston Avenue and North Manning Boulevard, Tivoli is over 70-acres of sanctuary, supporting a variety of habitats (such as wetlands, upland woods and grassy fields), which provide a home to many types of plants and animals. 

At the heart of this scenic property is Tivoli Lake, a former City reservoir, and a picturesque opportunity for fishing and Tivoli Lakeboating.  The Patroon Creek, a local tributary, flows along Tivoli's northern border on its way from the Albany Pine Bush Preserve to the Hudson River.

Though Tivoli Lake Preserve is a valuable resource for outdoor activity and science education, the property has become neglected and overgrown with invasive plants.  To spur community interest, the City has created a Visioning Plan, which offers collective ideas from the community on making the Preserve a safe and appealing destination to enjoy nature.  

Through funds provided by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the City is currently implementing various projects--from new trails and improved access to invasive species management--which will help transform Tivoli into a multi-faceted natural and engaging retreat.  

Projects Related to Improving Tivoli Lake Preserve
Daylighting Patroon Creek:  The Patroon Creek is enclosed in a narrow conduit when it enters Tivoli Lake Preserve.  The City is investigating daylighting Patroon Creek to help mitigate and control the negative impacts its enclosure has on the social and environmental quality of the Preserve.  

The Visioning Plan:  Transforming Tivoli Lake Preserve into a successful urban outlet for recreational activity and education, starts with a realistic conceptual park design that balances community interest and desired uses with environmental management and programming. 





Patroon Creek Daylighting Project

  Patroon Creek, a small urban tributary approximately 6.8 miles long, headwaters in Albany's Pine Bush Preserve and is the major hydraulic system of the Patroon Creek Subwatershed.  At present, Patroon Creek is enclosed in a conduit as it flows through the Tivoli Lake Preserve on its way to the Hudson River. Though Tivoli Lake Preserve is rich in natural attractions, it is underutilized by the community and is negatively impacted by a variety of issues associated with the enclosure of Patroon Creek.

Historically, the natural course of Patroon Creek has been altered many times by construction projects, dams and reservoirs and currently is used as a natural drainage for parts of Colonie, the City of Albany, Guilderland and Interstate I-90. 

The volume of water contributed to Patroon Creek (area surface runoff, natural storm events and other tributaries) often exceeds its capacity as it enters the narrow and aged conduit, creating fast and highly pressurized water flows that flood and washout trails, erode stream banks and destroy existing habitats. 

The City of Albany, in partnership with Albany County Sewer District, CDRPC, Creighton Manning Engineering and fellow stakeholders have completed a feasibility study for a green infrastructure design project to mitigate key water and infrastructure issues at Tivoli Lake Preserve, in accordance with Albany 2030.  This project involves multiple phases and is dependent on future funding sources.

Daylighting is the first phase to manage and control Patroon Creek, addressing flood hazards and other issues (protecting municipal infrastructure, severe bank erosion, habitat destruction) and the overall physical and visual appeal of the Tivoli Lake Preserve. Removing the aging clay pipe enclosure will also improve the environmental quality of Patroon Creek, Tivoli Lake and the surrounding watershed.

  This green infrastructure design project directly relates to priorities and interconnecting strategies outlined in Albany 2030 (e.g., control sources of negative environmental impact; address stormwater runoff; protect and restore our natural resources...) and leverage Albany’s reputation as a sustainable community.

Next Steps…

The City will continue to (re)introduce the Patroon Creek Daylighting Project to the public and provide updates as the project changes or moves forward.  Read the presentation and review the phases of the potential project areas, below.  All project partners and area stakeholders will continue to work together to procure funding for future construction. The City will also continue to foster support by coordinating efforts with other planning initiatives in the Preserve.

Tivoli Lake Preserve: Project Phases I - III Online Maps


Kate Lawrence, Sustainability Planner
Department of Planning & Development
200 Henry Johnson Blvd
(518) 465-6066


    Tivoli Lake Preserve Visioning

    The Tivoli Lake Preserve Community Engagement & Visioning Project

     The City of Albany's Department of Planning and DevelopmTivoli Lake Preserve Visionent began its efforts to improve Tivoli Lake Preserve in the Spring of 2014, thanks to funding from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Environmental Protection Fund.  The City's undertakin to protect and revitalize this great natural resource has produed the Tivoli Lake Preserve Visioning Plan, which outlines opportunities and a conceptual design based on ideas, needs and interests collected during an extensive public outreach effort.

      Public input was essential to create this detailed conceptual design for the Preserve. The City, alongside area stakeholder groups, Neighborhood Associations, local and regional agencies, and a team of professional designers, took advantage of public events, public spaces, social media and neighborhood meetings to promote the project, gain support and gather ideas and community input to make the Preserve a safe and enjoyable destination.  Residents of Arbor Hill, West Hill, West End,  the Beverly-Pennsylvania Neighborhood Watch, and other interested parties all played an integral part in assessing the property and providing feedback.

    The City will continue to introduce the Tivoli Lake Preserve Visioning Plan to the public and provide updates on implementation efforts, core hurdles, and future coordinated efforts.  Read the Visioning Plan below, and visit "Updates for Tivoli Lake Preserve" to learn about current activities... 


    Mary Millus
    Department of Planning & Development
    (518) 465-6066


    Updates for Tivoli Lake Preserve

        It was a State Arbor Day celebration in April 2015, when Governor Andrew Cuomo proclaimed that New York is serious about conserving open space and protecting natural resources, like our very own Tivoli Lake Preserve.  The NYSDEC has followed through with that commitment by awarding Albany $500,000 from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) for property improvements at Tivoli—which comes at a perfect time now that a Visioning Plan and conceptual design for the Preserve has been completed.    

    “Thank you to the DEC and to Governor Cuomo as well for funds that will help us clear invasive species, build trails, and make the park more inviting to everyone looking for a woodland oasis in our City,” stated Mayor Kathy Sheehan, in response to the EPF award.

      Implementing the Tivoli Lake Preserve Visioning Plan cannot happen all at once though.  The City’s Department of Planning and Development is phasing the workload by prioritizing projects, making sustainable decisions, coordinating efforts, and allocating EPF funds for construction costs, accordingly.  Listed below are the top proposed projects that are currently being managed and are underway.

    • Invasive Plant Species Management:  Inventorying and mapping concentrations of existing invasive plants is essential for planning their removal.  Phragmites, a tall aggressive wetland grass, is found throughout the Preserve and takes up over half of Tivoli Lake.  It is a species prioritized for removal.   
    • Targeted Grazing:  Not only is sheep grazing an ecologically-friendly way to control and remove invasive plants, this method also improves the nutrients in the soil, and generates new and healthy habitat to grow and sustain populations of desirable plants and animals.
    • Entryway Design at Livingston & Judson:  A new layout has been designed for the poplar entrance at the junction of Livingston Avenue and Judson Street.  The design includes a resurfaced lot with decorative landscaping, pathways and signage.
    • Trail Planning:  In an effort to make the Preserve more accessible, a new ADA compliant trail is currently being assessed.  The trail will connect to the entrances at Livingston and Judson and at North Manning Boulevard. 

    Today, the work begins, but never ends.  Through generous contributions from the State, the City and the community, Tivoli is on its way to becoming a revived destination.

    WAMC Coverage of NYS Awarded Funds
    NYSDEC Arbor Day Dedication to Brother Yusuf

    State Arbor Day News Coverage of Tivoli and EPF Award