Willow Street Again
The following excellent letter appeared March 21,1999 in the Hearst-owned Times Union under the title, “Improve Downtown and Preserve Pine Bush”:
To the Editor:
Why is the Albany Common Council approving Pine Bush development (Drumlin Fields office building) when there are plenty of vacant parcels in downtown and on Henry Johnson Boulevard that are screaming for development?
I thought the goal of Mayor Jennings was to rebuild and improve downtown and Arbor Hill, making them vibrant areas again. Preserving the Pine Bush for future generations and tourism was also part of the plan. Once we destroy this area, we can’t get it back. By building in the core of the city, the developer would have easy access to utilities, public transportation and a nearby work force. Thus improving the inner city and preserving the Pine Bush sounds like a win/win situation to me.
Mayor Jennings should step in and propose that this office building be built in the core of the city. This would prove consistent with his ongoing downtown improvement plan. This office building could be another jewel in Albany’s downtown, bringing jobs, activities and growth to the area.
It would be a shame if we miss this opportunity to improve downtown and preserve the Pine Bush.
I just wanted to drop a note to say that the last newsletter was excellent. It brought up a number of very important points and, at least in my position way outside the fray, indicated that things are going in the right direction in Albany. FORCE and SPB are right on target in identifying the issues. The movement toward a permanent, well-informed, and effective citizen-based organization is, in the long run, no matter what happens with Crossgates, the key to the future success of sensible planning in any community. Out here it was 1,000 Friends of Oregon and the Portland City Club that got things started.
In addition, I think the organization needs to be regional in its scope. Guilderland alone cannot significantly influence the economic and social forces that cause sprawl. If the Capital District’s municipalities could cooperate, however, more could be done. With a regional land use and transportation plan in place, it would be much easier to deal with proposals such as the Crossgates expansion because there would be a legally binding, democratically created precedent for where growth of this magnitude should go. With a plan in place, citizens would not be forced to react to brush fires after they occurred but could actually get a chance to be pro-active in determining what the community should look like.
I realize this is difficult, but it is being done, especially as more and more states pass growth management legislation, which again is something a citizen’s group dedicated to planning could help. Daniel Van Riper’s comments on the cost of sprawl are accurate and point out an obvious and practical reason for why sensible planning eventually has to be taken seriously. Around the turn of the century, New York was the most progressive state in the nation on planning issues so, who knows, it could happen again!
(We hope that Mr. Hull will be a speaker at one of our summer Pine Bush dinners.&emdash;Ed)
published Apr/May 1999 Newsletter
Last Updated 4/20/99
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