Minutes - March 25, 2008

SENA meeting at the Howe Library at 6pm

Darren Scott (from Albany Housing Authority) - He has been with Albany Housing Authority about 14 years. He has a background as an architect. Finds working with people as opposed to designing more interesting and also more exacting. "Revitalization is not just bricks and mortar" he stated, and "the Capital South Plan is the road map for revitalization." He discussed the Eagle Court renovation effort where living conditions had been extremely squalid. Means had been provided to move everyone out; what had been 60 apartments was being reduced to 42 apartments.
He also discussed the Jared Holt project, the planned take down of at least 2 of the 3 Lincoln Towers; and a proposed educational campus which would have a 2 year preparatory college (offering 2 year degrees leading to good-paying jobs as well as feeding students into other institutions of higher learning in the area). To accomplish such a vision would require getting more partners and more funding.
In response to JoAnn Morton's question "What can SENA do?" Mr.Scott replied "Something SENA could possibly help with would be a 'greening of vacant lots' (in coordination with the City Planning Dept). This would be a temporary measure to take away the more obvious eyesores.
Carolyn McLaughlin said "Sarah will send a list of all the South End vacant lots." It was also announced that Monday, May 12th would be a day when large amounts of garbage could be picked up from the South End.

Steve Haggerty, executive director of the Capital District Habitat for Humanity, was the next speaker. After building 15 homes in North Albany, Steve asked the mayor "what next?" The mayor put him in touch with Monique Wahba, who was coordinating the Capital South Plan. This has led to the construction of houses on O'Dell St. The hope is to build about 40 houses in the South End over the next 5 years. To build a house on O'Dell costs $75,000.
In the past, Habitat for Humanity has built 5 houses on Stephen St (these are the brightly painted houses).
To qualify to own a Habitat house, a family needs to meet requirements laid down by the Family Selection Committee (there are income requirements, a "need for housing" requirement, and an ability to repay requirement). Additionally, a family needs to contribute some 350 hours of "sweat equity" volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity. A 2002 list was made up for the South End composed of 20 eligible families, but these families can no longer be located.
Habitat for Humanity operates a store("The Restore") on 454 N.Pearl St. which is open Friday and Saturday from 9am-2pm. All items in the store have been donated.

JoAnn Morton reported that Giffen Elementary had made no commitment on a proposed SENA Job Fair as of yet.

Benna Eldridge of the Trinity Institution reported that Trinity's Job Fair scheduled for Thursday, April 24th was going ahead and that 20 volunteers from Seina College would canvas the South End in support of the Fair.

Police Officer Matt Montesano reported that a couple of cars had been broken into for the GPS systems. Also there were some burglaries of copper piping from houses.
On Wednesday, March 12th a shooting took place near 148 Broad St. A grey 4-door sedan was apparently involved.

Scott Jarzombek, the librarian at Howe, reported he had an excellent clerk now, named Tori, who was amazing.

Next SENA meeting: Tuesday, April 22nd at Crenshaw Memorial on Morton Ave.