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Troy To Seek Public Opinion On Future Of Monument Square

Troy Mayor Patrick Madden (file photo)
Lucas Willard
Troy Mayor Patrick Madden

Once again, Troy, New York is looking for input on the future of One Monument Square.

Mayor Patrick Madden says the city will hold a three-day public design charrette where participants will collaborate to develop a mutually agreed upon concept for the downtown site.   "We'd like to be able to do it in May at some point, before people get out of the city for the summer or get tied up with kids’ sports, things like that, so we're aiming for May."

First step is to find a planning or architectural firm to run the forum.

Steven Strichman, the city Commissioner of Planning and Economic Development, says it will be a detailed initiative.  "A multi-day initiative that will allow the community to provide more significant impact about how the site will be developed, including the public space and the connection down to that piece. In the past, we really hadn't identified that to any prospective developer, and I think creating those and identifying the actual footprint of property will provide more guidance to prospective developers."

Strichman encourages Troy residents, business owners and community stakeholders to participate.  It’s latest effort to redevelop the downtown plot after the latest plan for a movie theater fell through.

City Council President Carmella Mantello is urging the Troy to do everything in its power to include residents and business owners in the process.   "The residents, the businesses... if we can get them all in one room. Let's not put the cart before the horse. Let's get a design and let's hopefully move forward. After the three-day charrette and after the consultant comes up with some type of design that includes the businesses and the residents, then another RFP will go out for development of the site. What I'd like to see is a multi-use site, I've talked about maybe potentially housing city hall there with commercial space at the bottom and including waterfront access."

The last revitalization effort at One monument Square wound up in legal red tape. Madden hopes this time will be different.  "If you're successful at building a consensus you mitigate the possibility that somebody's gonna be upset and sue to try to halt the project. So by bringing people together early and engaging them in the dialogue, that serves as a guard against future litigation. It's not an ironclad guarantee that nobody will sue you, but if people are engaged, generally they feel some ownership in a project and they get excited about it and help move it forward."

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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