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Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse: Comprehensive Plan Update

Former Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The Hudson River city of Cohoes is holding a public meeting on the update of its Comprehensive Plan tonight at the Cohoes Music Hall. Mayor Shawn Morse met Tuesday with WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas to discuss what's next for the Spindle City.

When Morse was elected mayor in 2015, the former Albany County Legislature Chairman discussed plans to make Cohoes thrive. The Democrat says tonight's meeting on the Comprehensive Plan will help focus a vision for the future of Cohoes.    "We started out understanding that our goal was to become an All-American city, and in order to get there we wanted to hear form the residents, the business owners and any stakeholder from this community about what they thought it takes to get to become an All-American city."

Tonight, Morse expects plans to culminate.  "Put it all together, then share the findings of what we found to be what the community and the business-owners at large have said 'Hey, this is what we need to get to where you wanna be,' and this is what will help us and this is what makes Cohoes a great place to live for the residents. So it's kind of like taking all of the sessions together, putting them together, hearing what the final result is."

Morse notes that over the past 15 years, the city has undertaken several planning efforts aimed at revitalization.  For the current effort, the public was invited to attend two "open house" sessions in early July to provide feedback on the recommendations from the city’s previously conducted plans and studies.  "They have been jam-packed for most of the sessions. So you'll have business-owners, you'll have stakeholders, you'll have the economic development people, all the people who were involved on committees, that signed up to be part of the committees, to look at all the stuff that's been brought to their attention. I think there'll be a great turnout. I attended the one last week with just business-owners, I know just a fantastic opportunity to discuss business-owners, their future for our city and how we can be better and what needs to be done and so a Comprehensive Plan really is what, the blueprint. It's not just a piece of paper, it's a living breathing document of 'Hey, this is how we're gonna travel to get to where we need to be,' and where we need to be is an All-American city."

Cohoes received All-American City status in 1967, recognized by the National Civic League as a place where business, residents and government collaborated at the local level to solve community problems.  Morse says today, more than ever, the city of 16,000 residents meets the mark.    "Cohoes is one of the most bustling cities in the Capital Region right now. We have over $50 million of economic development in the pipeline, we have a transformation of different parts of our city that when all said and done people are gonna be wowed by that. 787, if we can get that into a boulevard, not only is it safer, 'cause we know through a lot of documentation and a lot of results, that just going from a highway to a boulevard is a 10 mph decrease in speed, just by virtue of how it looks people slow down. That data has been tested over and over again. So we would have a beautiful gateway to our community, we have all kinds of exciting things happening from development on Remsen Street to the Palace Theatre announcing its first season of shows. I'm excited to be the mayor. I think a lot of great things are happening and I think if you stay tuned you'll see Cohoes is gonna be an All-American city a lot quicker than we ever imagined."

Doors will be open from 7 to 9 p.m. at Cohoes Music Hall, 58 Remsen St, Cohoes, NY.  Morse says citizens will be provided an overview of the Comprehensive Plan update process, share the feedback received through public open houses held over the summer, have an opportunity to discuss the milestones achieved to date, and provide additional feedback on the plan.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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