Minutes - August 26, 2008

Lt. William Rahm, Albany Fire Dept, reported #3 Alexander and several other vacant buildings were boarded up.

Nellie Morton brought to SENA's attention a situation on Alexander St. regarding the new owner of 91 Alexander St. The property was zoned residential, but the new owner said he will make it commercial and has retained a lawyer to help him achieve his aim. Most residents on Alexander would prefer that property to stay residential.

Benna Eldridge felt SENA as an organization should stand up against such an individual seeking a variance to make such a residential zone commercial.

Because Kathleen Bronson from the City of Albany Planning Dept. was present, questions were raised concerning the Albany Comprehensive Plan and the status of previous plans like the Capital South Plan. Is there any programs, for example, on the suggestion that a community college be developed in the South End? (apparently not). Has there been any progress on the Howe Library renovation? (yes, a building behind Howe was taken down). What is happening?

A number of construction projects are going on as well as basic efforts at neighborhood stabilization. Owners of vacant buildings are being identified through the block-by-block initiative and efforts to make owners accountable for the condition of their property are moving forward. The regulatory agencies are more visibly active than they have been.

Other topics discussed included SRO's, group homes in Delmar, the changing demographics of the homeless (now many mothers and children are homeless - there simply is not enough affordable housing); also the huge need for GED instruction.

Announcements were made for back-to-school fairs August 27th from 4-7pm at Union Missionary Baptist Church and September 6th from 11am-4pm at Giffen Elementary.

Our National Night Out participation was deemed a success. President JoAnn Morton said she would check with Rev.Covington regarding continuing permission to hold our SENA meetings at this location.

It was decided the next meeting would be Tuesday, September 23rd.