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Troy Taking Input On Downtown Redevelopment

Lucas Willard

There’s been a hole in downtown Troy ever since the old city hall building was knocked down five-and-a-half years ago.

After the failure of three development proposals and two builders, the city is turning to its residents to offer up what they’d like to see on the River Street site.

Mayor Patrick Madden welcomed a crowd of curious Trojans to Sage College Wednesday night.

“This is a very important site in the downtown. What we do there will have a significant impact beyond our lives,” said Madden.

The most recent One Monument Square proposal fell apart earlier this year. The project pitched by a Dutchess County firm would have included apartments, commercial space, and a year-round home for the city’s popular farmers’ market. The company pulled out amid tensions with the city about the site itself and a long approval process. 

Madden said the community should take lessons from the past.

“But grievances about past events or past decisions, whether we should have taken City Hall down, whether we should have taken the first, the second, or the third proposal…they’re not going to help us get to where we need to go,” said Madden.

Before the crowd began their group discussions, Deputy Mayor Monica Kurzejeski said the city wants to hear what residents would like to see and what is the best use of the 1.5-acre site.

“We have varying different opinions. I’ve heard parks. I’ve heard plazas. I’ve heard hotels. I’ve heard residential. I’ve heard business. I’ve heard whatever. We want to hear from you. We’re going to take all of this into consideration as we develop the RFP and get ready to put that out in the fall,” said Kurzejeski.

At one group table, Kyle Plante of the group Transition Troy said whatever is built at One Monument Square should work functionally and aesthetically.

“Entering Troy, I know that from the Green Island Bridge you can see the site, I don’t know about the Watervliet Bridge. But this is an opportunity to have a jewel of Troy here. Something that really is an admirable if not impressive site,” said Plante.

Across the table, RPI Professor Eddie Ade Knowles favors an open area featuring a performance stage along the riverfront.

“I mean, I go to Alive at Five in Albany, and what they’ve managed to do with a very limited area in terms of actual seating, is create an extraordinary ambience for music on the Hudson,” said Knowles.

Downtown Troy has changed a lot since the city hall building was knocked down in 2011. Several new restaurants and bars have opened and rents are rising as tenants are moving into the heart of the city. City council member Lynn Kopka has heard the call for new apartments downtown.

“It’s great to have folks out demanding services, demanding retail, demanding whatever. So it’s changing a great deal. So whatever happens in that stretch, will sort of key off what’s already going on,” said Kopka.

The city will take comments until September 9th.

Comments can be emailed to Steven.Strichman@troyny.gov or sent by mail to Department of Planning and Economic Development, City Hall, 433 River Street, Troy, NY 12180. 

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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