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Minutes of April 4 Meeting

President Marggie Skinner called the meeting to order at7:03 p.m.
1.     President Skinner welcomed those present and all introduced themselves.
2.     Minutes of the previous meeting were circulated by e-mail. Copies were circulated.
3.     Communications/Announcements
           -CDTA materials and maps for the NCAA hockey tournament were distributed
           -Harold Rubin circulated a brief questionnaire about NA meeting dates and times. Results will be used to coordinate community activities.
           -Spring issue of “Capital Neighbors” was distributed
           -CANA has sent second notices about payment of dues and naming of delegates
           -there was one zoning notice
           -Marggie sent a resolution from CANA to the City’s Planning Board requesting an impact study be conducted prior to proceeding with changes proposed for Swan Street .Planning Board did vote to require a study.
           -CANA received a letter from Wanda Lubinski who is concerned about fees being instituted at New York State employee parking lots
           -Courtney Burke-League of Women Voters, Oregon Congressman, expert on “Smart Growth and Urban Living” coming in early October. Might this be a CANA meeting topic?
           -Superintenden to f Schools Lonnie Palmer sent a letter 3/12 to NA presidents concerning the School district’s search for a middle school sites.  They are still open to suggestions.
           -April16-22 is National Community Development Week.
           -TRAC,Tackling Racism in Albany County through Community dialogue will have a kick off celebration Sunday, April 29, 3-5 p.m. at Armory Center.
           -Second Avenue NA Plant Sale May 19, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hoffman Park parking lot
           -Other community announcements were circulated              

4.     Committee Reports
A.     Committee on University and Community Relations- Tom Gebhardt.  Committee is preparing for end-of semester activities and is publicizing safety tips for the holiday break.  A proposal is being made to do astudy of the community/campus coalition.
B.     Community Police Council-no report at this time
C.     QOL Surveys Year II  Harold Rubin reported for David Phaff.  A new survey format has been approved. Content is finalized.  Times Union will not provide printing, soCANA will seek funds from Neighborhood Resource Center, Price Chopper, others. Grants will be needed to continue the survey in the future. Distribution: Stewarts, libraries, Albany Housing Authority, Times Union; NOT schools or supermarkets. Howard Stoller will post the form on the CANA website and people can complete there. Weekend of 4/27 & 4/28 survey packets will be prepared.  At May CANA meeting will assemble boxes and signs for community distribution.
D.     Neighborhood Resource Center- NRC is seeking nominations for its annual awards. Nomination forms were distributed. Deadline is April 10.  Awards ceremony is May 15 at JCA. Harold Rubin gave a reminder that NRC is a membership organization. Please join. Members were asked to review the NRC neighborhood contact list to insure correct contact information.

E.     Schools
a.     -(Craig Waltz) CANA schools committee met last week.  Suggested setting up a forum in neighborhoodre: proposed Westland Hills Park site for middle school. Invite all  involved parties.  This is be important especially if we need a Home Rule messagefor Legislature as park land is involved.
b.     (Jim Tierney) People Advocating for Small Schools (PASS)-Described Schools Facilities Improvement Plan. Distributed brochure.  When facilities planning process seemed to reach an impasse in January, a group of about 20 people got together to form PASS to support the facilities plan. Jim circulated a sign-up sheet for anyone who wanted to join PASS.
A number of questions and comments followed from those in attendance.
-How much space is needed forthe school?  Usually 16 acres for middle school, special allowance due to green space in the park
-After cost overruns on Whitehall Road, why should voters approve a bond?   Current Superintendent and several current School Board were not in office at that time.
-Should city mayors control schools rather than elected boards? No agreement.
-What is the racial makeup of Albany City School Students and what will determine which students will attend which schools? Don’t know.
-Paul Bray noted that there is precedent for land trades, it was done recently for the landfill.
-Pat Maxon of Upper Washington Avenue NA asked that fellow CANA members consider the concerns of people with homes near Westland Hills Park as the area becomes the focus of School District planning at this very late stage of the process.
-Jim Sano expressed his feeling as an educator that appropriate physical plants are important for educational programs
F.     Lincoln Park-(Tom McPheeters). Planning and work continues. A resolution by CANA to support rehabilitation, encourage NA’s to make use of thepool, appoint a committee to explore holding CANA’s 25th Anniversary celebration at the pool (McPheeters/ Texores) was passed by those present. Tom will also send letters to each NA.
G.    CANA Operations:
a.     Dominick Calsolaro will run for the City Council seat to bevacated by Carol Wallace.  This leaves avacancy on the CANA Executive Committee.
b.     CANA needs a secretary. This is a part-time position with a small salary.


H.     Other items- (AaronMair) Bridge to the Hudson Riverfront had ribbon-cutting today.  Aaron reported on a protest held at theceremony, with a display of  “Goldbricksfrom Arbor Hill”. Protesters feel the new project benefits suburban commutersrather than residents; it focuses on those who drive rather than those whowalk; they feel that it is part of an overall plan that highlights downtown asa special destination for visitors rather than a sustainable community forresidents.  Aaron also objected to acomment in a recent newspaper article that Arbor Hill is “leaderless”.  A resolution was made  to “request full environmental scoping forthe SEQR process in sale or transfer of properties for communities of ArborHill and throughout the City of Albany” (Mair/Yates).  Passed.

5.     Neighborhood Planning andC-1 Programs  Kate Frank &Lori Harris, Planning Office
Lori began by responding toAaron Mair’s comment about the Times Union quote.  She noted that her interview with the Times Union was edited,including only part of what she said about Arbor Hill.
In answer to the question “What is the City ofAlbany’s vision of itself?”,  thebooklet “Capitalize Albany: Building a Better Albany”  was distributed. Capitalize Albany’s 5 year anniversary was March 28. The map in thebooklet outlines investments made to date. Lori posited that a city with insufficient revenues cannot providequality services.  The goal has been tostabilize the city financially in pursuit of this vision.
           A recentfocus has been on a capitalized Redevelopment Authority to access resources forlarge, “transformational” projects like the recreation of Fort Orange.

DIVISION OF NEIGHBORHOOD REVITALIZATION IN DEPARTMENT OFPLANNING
           Kate Frankhas been on the job in the new position of neighborhood planner for about onemonth.  She described her work with acommunity development agency, then her move to a position as Planning Directorfor CT Male.  The job involved grantwriting, GIS, & environmental impact work. She has an MS in regional planning and is a credentialed city planner.
           Kateengaged in discussion with those present re: early neighborhood planning andthe Lincoln Homes project.
           Kate’sfirst official responsibility is the C1 Projects.  She discussed the chronology of the project(s) to date ,commented on the divergent characteristics and needs of the areasparticipating.  She also finds outreachto those who might take part challenging.
           CANAmembers commented on delays in C1 execution, particularly on Allen Street.
           Katedescribed what she sees as City government’s role as partner for neighborhoodimprovement:  City as technocrat,helper, facilitator.  Need models forregular dialog with neighborhoods to establish collaboration.
           Loriexpressed the feeling that the city gets better at C1each year as a way ofinvesting in itself.  Comments were madethat planning in Sheridan Hollow did not allow for neighbors’ input.  It was noted that the City agency has usedRensselaerville Institute facilitators to create open dialog.
            There are C1 projects throughout the city. C1Plan on Henry Johnson Boulevard has moved forward the least.
           Discussionturned to how city residents will relate to Kate in her new position.  What would happen if people called her withall possible issues?  What issues doesshe want us to bring her? Kate is interested in hear about possible models forworking together.
           Clare Yatespointed out that CANA participants and neighborhood activists like living inthe city but it gets harder every year and is “wearing us down” due toperceived lack of support from city government.
Harold Rubin commented that Block of the Yearprogram does not achieve its goals. This point was supported by NA’s present.
T. McPheeters proposed providingfunds to neighborhoods to do their own planning.
The meeting was adjourned at 9 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Pat Maxon,  Upper Washington Avenue Neighborhood Association
your humble fill-in secretary
Attendance:


Craig Waltz, HELD
Marggie Skinner, PHNA
Anne Brewster, WPNA
Betsy Shearer, PSNA.              
Christopher Lindsay, BEV Rev. Joyce Hartwell, LIFE
Clare Yates, CSQ.
Colin McKnight, MANS
Cynthia Galivan, MANG
Don Wardle, UTA
Bob Bailey WPNA
Elizabeth Griffin, HAF
Fred Perkins PHILL
Gene Solan PHNA
Harold Rubin CSQ.
Henry Madej, PHNA
Jim Tierney, PHNA
Joyce Rambo, CSQ
Kathleen Kearney HPNA.
Kathy Hodges, GUILD
Mac Mowbray, HPNA
Marty Gawoski, WHILL
Mary Connair, DEL
Nathan Black, AHCC
Pat Maxon, UWNA
Paul Bray ROUND
Steve Stella, APD
Steve Winters, SANA.
Thomas Gebhardt UNIV.
Tom McPheeters, MANS
Howard Stoller, MEL
Dan Egan PLYM
Jim Sano COUNCIL
Amy Furlong SHNA
Jim Furlong SHNA
Lydia Polgreen, TU
Richard Conti, COUNCIL
Margo Janack CDTA
Donna Langan CSQ
Emily Grisom SHNA
Keith St. John PAST
Holly Katz MANS
Joan Strauss HPNA
Kate Frank CITY
Andrew Harvey PSNA
Rodney Davis DANA
Elfrieda Textores SECC
Don Dugan HELD
Lori Harris CITY
Carol Saginaw LWV
Aaron Mair AHCC