Mayor Gary McCarthy says Schenectady will build on its successes this year regarding crime, finances and economic development - "you can bet on it."
2015 State of the City address to a packed house at City Hall Monday evening, focusing on the positive development the city experienced last year and how he
is looking to continue that momentum of growth this year.
"This is our 217th year as a city," he
"That is a long time covering some good times and some more challenging periods.
2014 was a very good year, and we should all be excited about the future."
speech with a recap of the economic development projects that have either been completed, are currently under construction or were just announced last year.
A majority of those projects are in downtown, along State Street and Erie Boulevard.
"We revitalized lower State Street with investments by the city, Metroplex and National Grid of over $4 million," said McCarthy
, a Democrat, who took office in 2012.
"In addition, $14 million was spent on the rebuilding of Erie Boulevard.
We have successfully transformed the western entrance to the city."
highlighted development projects including a proposed $20 million investment by Prime Companies and Highbridge Development to transform several properties on State Street and Erie Boulevard into apartments and retail space, and the multi-million dollar renovation of 251 State St., named the NYBizLab
, to house companies under the state's business tax incentive program, START-UP NY, in partnership with Schenectady County Community College
McCarthy said that since he has been mayor, the city has paved an average of 8.5 miles of city streets each year, compared with an average 2.6 miles the previous four years.
announced a plan to call on the City Council
to adopt a paving program that would seek to pave more than 10 miles of streets this year.
also anticipates that repairs to the Oak Street Bridge will begin later this year, after a structural analysis of the bridge is completed in a few months.
Councilman Vince Riggi, the only non-Democrat on the City Council
, questioned where the funding would come from for the paving project and repairs to the bridge.
said McCarthy's speech "didn't surprise me."
"We're still waiting to find out if the bridge has to be replaced or rebuilt," Riggi said after the State of the City.
"That will make a huge difference in terms of the time of repairs.
If it has to be replaced, I don't see it reopened by the end of this decade."
Aside from downtown, McCarthy
said "we continue to make major investments in our neighborhoods" with the demolition of dilapidated homes using a $3 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development loan and attracting more owner-occupants to the city leveraging his Home Ownership Made Easy in Schenectady
said seven homes have been demolished using funds from the HUD loan last year.
Up to 70 more demolitions are slated over the next year, he
That's on top of five demolitions last year through the Capital Region Land Bank
, leveraging a $3 million grant from the state Attorney General's Office.
The Land Bank plans to demolish another 40 buildings and rehabilitate about 25 homes over the next year.
About 42 real estate agents marketed 101 of the city's foreclosed properties, he
Of those properties, the Realtors sold 56 of them, generating $721,000 in revenue for Schenectady last year.
Also in 2014, seven new homes were built and 33 housing units were rehabilitated.
Riggi said he
would like to see the development of the city's neighborhoods "happen faster" and that the demolition of buildings is not the only way to address problems, such as crime, in residential areas.
"The concept of just demolishing buildings and selling houses to people is good, but we have an element in some neighborhoods that no matter what you do there will not be any change," Riggi said.
is expecting the city's third consecutive surplus.
In 2014, the city started with a $14.4 million fund balance in the general fund, an increase of $1.6 million from the previous year, he
"We have the largest, most impressive partnership in the region happening here in Schenectady
It appears McCarthy
also coined a new casino-related phrase for the city, ending his speech with six words - "Schenectady
: You can bet on it."
The City Council Chambers at Schenectady City Hall are packed Monday evening for Mayor Gary McCarthy's State of the City address.
PETER R. BARBER/ GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy delivers the State of the City address Monday as City Council President Margaret King and City Clerk Chuck Thorne listen.