Minutes - April 22, 2008

JoAnn Morton, president of SENA, called the meeting to order.

Minutes for the March 25th meeting were read and approved.

The first speaker was Tim Burke, representing the Albany Public Library. He gave an update on the branch improvement effort underway. A party marking the closing of Howe Library was held last Thursday. A temporary library space for this area should hopefully open in about 3 weeks or so at the Albany Housing Authority administrative building on South Pearl St. Construction on Howe is expected to begin late May or early June. The Pine Hills branch is already closed. The renovation on these 2 branches and the former funeral home on Delaware Ave that will become the new Delaware Branch are "10-12 month projects." Hopefully by springtime 2009 all three branches will be open for service.
Construction of two new buildings - the John J. Bach branch (on New Scotland Ave) and the Arbor Hill branch (to be built on the vacant lot between 1st and 2nd St) is slated to begin late July or early August and should take 12-14 months to complete.
By the end of 2009 all 5 of these branches should be open.

A question from Mac Mowbray (South End property owner): can we be assured that there won't be cost overruns and that the project won't end up costing twice as much or more than the $29 million?
Answer: Dasny is our construction manager. They were chosen because of their experience and expertise. They know we don't have any extra money and that everything needs to be kept within budget. There are disincentives in the contracts to counter delays and cost overruns.
Questions were raised about the historic Howe windows and whether they might be stored somewhere. Also whether there will be adequate maintenance of the Howe Library after it is reopened. The window issue will not remain unresolved before construction begins; and it is the intention of the library system to maintain its buildings well.
Mr.Burke spoke also of the proposed 2009 Library Tax levy (reflecting the 4.13% budget increase) and the May 20 election for library trustee (the 3 candidates: Lois Parsons, Jose Lopez, and Charles Carr).

The Youth Organics project was brought up by president JoAnn Morton. Yoko Chaumont, who was accepted into its spring program, spoke briefly about it. It is for youth 14-17, and is a 6 week - 3 times a week job. Besides doing organic gardening, there is a community outreach aspect and a cooking lesson component. The summer program is still open for applicants.

Steve Longo of the Albany Housing Authority gave updates on the 40 unit Eagle Court project. The required archeological digs have been completed and the project should be done by the end of December. A 2007 allocation of funds from NY State is being used to develop 30 more units on Morton and 10 on Broad and 4th.

Matt Montesano: At 200 Grand St. on April 9th at 6pm there was an incident of a multiple stabbing with a kitchen knife.
A burglary on Sloan St resulted in the loss of a laptop, a DVD player, a gold ring, etc. Car burglaries resulted in loss of a cell phone, a SONY digital camera, credit cards, $500 in CDs etc. Buildings have been broken into for renovator's tools. Also copper has been stolen from some buildings.
Matt attended training for correct installation of car seats (94% are installed incorrectly). Let him know if anyone needs help in this area. Also there is a limited number of car seats available if someone you know needs one and doesn't have one.

President Morton spoke of incidents of graffiti on Alexander St, Delaware St, Clinton St, and on the Duraclean building.

Benna Eldridge gave an update on Trinity's job fair. Many employers were participating and 1500 fliers were being distributed.

Christie Ray-Marchetti, a representative of the National Cancer Society, spoke of upcoming screenings at Albany Med on Saturday May 10, 8-11:30am.

Next meeting: Tuesday May 20th, 6pm, at Crenshaw Memorial Center.