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First published: Monday, November 27, 2000
Take action on neighborhood conference ideas

I would like to thank the Neighborhood Resource Center and the Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations for putting together the Neighborhoods Work conference held on Nov. 18. It was an event that may have far-reaching effects on the direction the city of Albany goes in the future.

The conference brought together numerous neighborhood associations, university faculty members, city and state governmental officials and employees, and concerned citizens. These different groups agreed that we must all work together for the common goal of making Albany a more livable city.

The conference's workshops focused, not only on how to correct the problems in Albany, but on building on the positives of Albany and urban living. Too often, the negative aspects of Albany get the play in news reports, while Albany's many positive attributes are overlooked.

The city's many attractive features include its parks, history and heritage, strong neighborhoods, universities and colleges, access to mass transportation, theater and the arts, the waterfront, etc. As was brought out by the speakers at the conference, we need to accentuate our city's good qualities, while working together to correct its deficiencies.

One very big resource that Albany has access to in order to accomplish this goal is the collective brain power of the universities and colleges within the city and in the surrounding communities. We can not put a pricetag on this resource, but we sure must tap into it if Albany is going to be the best city it can be.

At the end of the conference, the excitement level of the attendees was higher than at the beginning. There was a positive feeling that with all the different groups -- public, private, volunteer, academic -- working together in a cooperative manner, Albany could become a capital city.

The energy generated by Neighborhoods Work must not be allowed to ebb, but must be allowed to flow if the goal of a more livable Albany is to be met. While the iron is still hot, it is already time to move from the idea stage of how to make Albany a better place, to the action stage of making Albany that better place in which to live.

DOMINICK CALSOLARO

Albany

The writer is president of the Second Avenue Neighborhood Association.

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