Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Let's talk stimulus

These days, everyone is talking about the Stimulus Bill. The possibility of receiving a large amount of federal funding for improvements has businesses and organizations all across our City, and across the country, excited about potential projects being approved. This funding will have a profound impact on the communities it is awarded to, and in the City of Albany, we are working hard to seize every opportunity this American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) presents.

To prepare, the City’s departments have organized priority projects that meet the regulations and intention of the ARRA. These projects were selected based on their ability to begin immediately upon receipt of funds, the number of jobs they would create and the quality of the impact each would have on the surrounding community.

As of right now, Albany has twenty of these “shovel-ready projects,” and, if they are fully funded, they will represent more than $584 million in direct investment, more than 1,000 construction jobs and roughly 1,000 permanent jobs. The projects include proposals such as a vacant building targeted stabilization program, the renovation of Bleecker Stadium, municipal water/wastewater system infrastructure projects and alternative energy retrofits for municipal buildings.

Please know that your input will be vital to this process. I look forward to receiving your questions, suggestions and comments, and I will continue to work with Governor Paterson, City departments, and local business leaders to ensure that the City of Albany is awarded as much stimulus funding as possible.

Let’s build a brighter future, together.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Exciting Announcement for the Port of Albany

I am proud to announce that, last Thursday, we broke ground on a $7.6 million construction project at the Port of Albany, which will replace more than 500 feet of the Port's aging wharf system. This project will be completed by C.D. Perry & Sons of Troy, NY, and is a good opportunity to bring jobs to the Capital District.

The Port of Albany was first built in the late 1920's and, over the years, the timber piles and supporting structures of the Port have become quite antiquated. The aging of the Port has come at a time when business has been booming - tonnage is up, longshore labor hours have increased, and last year, the Port recorded the highest revenue in its history.

The official announcement of this project was made last week during a press conference at the Port of Albany, and I am excited to be able to share this news with you. This project will put both the Port and the City of Albany in an excellent position for continued growth, and I look forward to the future economic impact this will have on our Capital City.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Albany Named City Livability Award Finalist

Yesterday, I brought you news that the City of Albany has been named as a finalist for the All-America City Awards, and today, I have more good news. Albany has also been named as a finalist for the City Livability awards, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The City Livability Awards were designed to salute mayors who have developed innovative and successful programs that improve quality of life for city residents. Twenty City Livability Awards are presented in two population categories: ten awards for cities of fewer than 100,000 people, and ten awards for cities of 100,000 or more inhabitants.

Albany has been named as a finalist for our Halfmoon Project/New Netherland Museum. This project is an interactive educational program based on the historic voyage made by Henry Hudson over 400 years ago. Aboard a replica of Henry Hudson's ship, The Halfmoon, students from across the Capital Region are given the opportunity to sail the waters of the Hudson River on the journey of a lifetime. While on the ship, students participate in educational exercises - learning about science, history and the value of teamwork. The Halfmoon Project has touched the lives of countless children in the Capital Region, and I know it will continue to be a success for years to come.

This is truly an honor, and I am proud to share this exciting news with you.

The winners will be announced in June. For more information on the 2009 City Livability Awards, please visit the U.S. Conference of Mayors website. To learn more about the Halfmoon Project, click here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Why we are here....

(for a little while, I'll periodically re-post this)

Mayor Jennings has a new blog. It's called Messages from The Mayor.

I found his blog yesterday and posted a comment to the post about his trip to Providence, RI. When I checked back later, a comment had been approved, but it wasn't mine. Evidently, the Mayor has chosen to censor his constituents when he does not like the content of their political speech.

Fair enough. If he doesn't understand the blogosphere, I'm happy to educate him.

This site will mirror the Mayor's posts. The comment section will be unmoderated; if the mayor won't let you say what you want to on the City's blog, you should feel free to post your Messages To The Mayor here.

Albany Named As Finalist for 2009 All-America City Award

I am proud to announce that the City of Albany has been named as a finalist in the 60th Annual All-America City Awards competition.

The All-America City Award is the oldest community recognition program in the nation, and hundreds of cities are considered for this award each year. Thirty finalists were recently named, and, in June, ten cities will be selected as official "All-America Cities."

Albany is the only city in the State of New York to have received this honor. For a full list of cities nominated, please click here.

The All-America City Award recognizes the efforts of entire communities, especially in regard to collaboration, inclusiveness, civic engagement, and innovation. Some of the criteria used for selecting finalists include working to create jobs, revitalizing spaces, initiating environmental sustainability programs and reducing crime. An All-America City has a proven capacity for problem solving, grassroots civic engagement, and cooperation between both public and private sectors.

It is an incredible honor to be named as a finalist for this prestigious award. I am very proud of our City, our citizens, and everyone who works hard each day to make the City of Albany a better place to live, work, and raise our families. This nomination is truly an example of what can be achieved when we come together as a community.

Congratulations, Albany.

A visit to Providence, Rhode Island

Last week, I had the privilege of spending a day in Providence, Rhode Island with Dr. Eva Joseph, Superintendent of Schools, James Tuffey, Albany's Chief of Police, as well as other members of my administration and school district personnel. We were the guests of Providence Mayor David Cicilline, and we visited his City to learn more about their award-winning after-school program, the Providence After School Alliance (PASA). To read a news story about our visit that appeared in the Providence Business News, please click here.

We learned that PASA is a public-private venture launched by Mayor Cicilline in 2004. It is designed to offer high-quality after-school learning opportunities to the children of Providence. This program has been a great success, receiving national recognition, and currently there are more than 150 partner organizations involved.

PASA’S JESSIE KERR-VANDERSLICE – center, wearing red – shows off the after-school program at Delsesto Middle School to Albany, N.Y., city employees. Photo courtesy of Providence Business News.

As I have frequently discussed, in today's society, middle school and high school students are often left to their own accord at the end of the school day and the work day. And, as a result, they can be tempted to travel paths involving undesirable activities. Meaningful, structured after-school programs can provide students with places to go that are interesting, fun, and educational. They can offer our students the opportunity to continue to learn and grow in a safe, nurturing environment beyond the traditional school day.

Like Providence, Albany has an extensive network of after-school programs. Many of our offerings have received significant acclaim, such as our award-winning karate program. I saw this trip as a wonderful opportunity to gain insight as to how we might further enhance the work we're already doing. As far as I'm concerned, we can never stop trying to do more for our kids.

I am very thankful for the opportunity to visit Providence, and I look forward to working with the Albany City Schools, the myriad of service providers of youth programs in our City, and many of the City's departments, to incorporate some of Providence's best practices into our existing youth programs.

-Mayor Jerry Jennings-

Welcome to My New Blog

Welcome, and thank you for checking my new blog - an exciting addition to the City of Albany's award-winning website!

We are continuously working to upgrade our City's website to be both interactive, and to serve as a way to communicate more directly with the public. This blog will be one important piece of that effort, as it will help me to be as responsive as I can to any questions, comments, and concerns you may have.

This blog will be updated as often as possible, and will serve as an opportunity for discussion and interaction regarding all that Albany has to offer - from concerts and sporting events to festivals, celebrations, press conferences, and legislative activity, you can turn here to find important information on what is happening in our Capital City.

Please review the terms and conditions before engaging in this open forum. If you have anything that you'd like to say regarding any of my posts, please leave your comment below. However, I will remind all users that the use of vulgar language, libelous or defamatory comments, illegal content and SPAM will not be permitted. If you do not accept these terms of use, please refrain from using this blog. For a complete list of terms and conditions, please read the terms of use agreement.

Again, welcome! I am very excited to communicate with all of you.

Until my next post, I hope everyone has a chance to get outside and enjoy the beautiful spring weather, and hopefully, soon, our beautiful tulips!

-Mayor Jerry Jennings-