Here is the vision we generated at our house party:
In 2030, Albany is along a path to meeting its own needs locally: It made it out of the economic transition by focusing on green jobs: improving the energy efficiency of our old buildings while preserving their historic character, developing local wind and solar capacity, growing the local foods and other local manufacturing sectors. Also, a local-purchasing movement by all the large institutions (city, county, state gov’t, higher ed, hospitals) has created a much stronger network of locally-based companies, from vendors to professional services, creating even more jobs. Our walkable neighborhoods full of local businesses have been protected and strengthened and big-box, car-oriented development has not been allowed to encroach. There is a functional and compassionate safety net addressing the full range of human needs, working from a harm-reduction model. We have a responsive government and a strong city council and when we want to make a change we feel empowered to work with our representatives to make it happen.
Formerly boarded buildings in Arbor Hill and the South End have been fixed up and are owned by families, many lower-income, who had stuck it out through the tough times. Landlords are responsive to tenants and know they will be called on it if they don’t. Central Avenue is known as the “international” commerical district and its many small shops and restaurants are a big draw. Everyone shovels their sidewalks in the winter and plants flowers in the summer. There are more trees everywhere.
We are known as a model of a low-carbon-footprint city. The city school system has been purposefully integrated on the basis of income (as was done in the Raleigh-Durham area), and all children are now attending schools that are performing well. As we leave our houses to go to the 2030 celebration, we catch a trolley or electric bus, or stroll/bike down a green corridor toward the river, where of course it will be held, with no 787 shadow in sight.
<!--EndFragment--> <!--[if gte mso 9]>
1. Albany issues and opportunities including but not limited to:
a. Restoration of areas with vacant and abandoned buildings
b. Improve public safety
c. Walkability (note drive through pharmacies and the new Alexander residence w/o close to zero walkability)
d. Upgrading of important streets like the greening of Lark Street (http://www.braypapers.com/lark.html), Central Ave (as a collegetown street), Clinton Avenue, Madison Avenue, etc.
e. Requiring street level uses for office buildings and parking garages in downtown Albany.
f. Addressing the food desert issue
g. Fostering initiatives like the first upstate Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community between New Scotland and Whitehall
h. Replace the Convention Center proposal with (1) expansion of the convention facilities at the Empire State Plaza (proposal has been sitting for more than a decade) and conference facilities at UHeights and at the Nano College and (2) mixed use project in the proposed downtown site.
i. Advance proposal for a commuter rail and Amtrak stop in North Albany (see, REVEST document)
j. Back to mixed use, urban connected redevelopment of the Harriman Campus.
k. As former Missoula, Montana Mayor Daniel Kemmis wrote in his book, The Good City and the Good Life, “cities are remembering that the reason they exist at all is to enable people to gather in a humanly satisfying and sustaining way”. The Comprehensive Plan should be based in part on a social infrastructure study of Albany and should address how to augment our social infrastructure.
l. Also, the Comprehensive Plan should be based in part on a green infrastructure study of Albany and should address how to protect and enhance green infrastructure to have Albany be a green and health community.