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In Re-Election Race, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan Touts Growth In Chamber Talk

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Capital Region Chamber
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The Capital Region Chamber hosted a forum with Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan this week.

During a virtual appearance via Zoom, Sheehan gave viewers a picture of what's been going on in the city, including the view from her office.

"It's been an exciting day in the city of Albany. I look out my window of Washington Avenue, and I saw a bunch of cars from the 1960s and 70s as they transformed Washington Avenue into a movie set for an HBO series. And that's good for our economy. $125,000 a day is the estimated economic benefit to communities where filming occurs."

Sheehan was introduced by Chamber President Ruth Mahoney for the "Issue Forum 2021.” Maloney says the Democrat running for a third term has dedicated her administration to creating a city of opportunity.

"Leading with a commitment to equity and responsive government that includes diverse community voices, under Mayor Sheehan's leadership, the city has invested more than $100 million of park and infrastructure improvements across the city, with a focus in our neighborhoods impacted by redlining and other discriminatory practices. Her innovation streetlight purchase and conversion program has reduced Albany's carbon emissions, improved pedestrian safety and saved millions of taxpayer dollars. She worked with the Common Council to enact groundbreaking equity legislation and policy reform initiatives and has led a multi-year effort to eliminate blight and substandard housing in the city."

Sheehan says she'd like to see more investment in the city and more support for local hotels and the travel and tourism industry. Under Sheehan, the first rezoning in more than half a century happened. She says it continues to attract new residential and commercial development to Albany. During a Q and A with viewers, Sheehan says the city is looking at ways to incentivize homeownership.

"Well, one of the models that has been talked about, you know, and it's something that I've been in conversations with the U.S. Conference of Mayors about, is looking at leveraging the funding that we have, where the city could basically backstop mortgages, you know, lending, to families that otherwise, for whom otherwise, homeownership would be unattainable. So it's a combination of not just providing grants, but, you know, interest rates, it's, it's, you know, no secret that there is a huge disparity in the interest rates that have historically been charged for black and brown families, and those that are available to people in other neighborhoods, and with other, you know, economic, more economic stability."

Sheehan said she would like to "ensure that we're building an inclusive middle class." She also discussed Albany's emergence from the pandemic.

"And we would love your help and your assistance in any ways that you have being innovative and getting folks vaccinated. While our state has had 70%, only four of our 10 zip codes here in the city of Albany are at that 70% or above number. We have work to do. We have great partnerships. The city is investing a lot of its funding, its CARES Act funding, and getting people vaccinated. Our Treasurer has an innovative program where if you have a parking ticket, you can get that voided if you've been vaccinated. So we're really working hard, we want to be at that 70% level. Our goal for that is by the Fourth of July."

Sheehan encouraged businesses and individuals to fill out the COVID Recovery Task Force Public Survey –  Take the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVIDpublic1

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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