Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan delivered her State of the City address Monday evening.
Sheehan, a Democrat who is seeking a third-term, conceded 2020 was a challenging year for her "diverse, progressive" city.
“Last year, when I joined you, I spoke about Albany's rise. About the unprecedented investments that were being made in our city and the transformational revitalization that was underway. However, little did we know that only a couple of months into the year, our entire world would change as we knew it. “
Once the pandemic set in, Sheehan says although her plans for the city were put on hold, the police, fire and Department of General Services didn't miss a beat as frontline workers continued to provide vital services.
“Together with business and community partners, we quickly geared up to ensure people were fed. That they had access to masks and hand sanitizer and other PPE. The day after the governor placed New York state on pause, I created two working groups, one focused on aiding our business community and one focused on the needs of our residents. And everyone who I asked to help said yes. We were taking on these actions as we were learning about the virus. In the confusion created by the lack of federal leadership, we had to take it upon ourselves to ensure that we were educating our community residents.”
Despite uncertainties faced due to COVID-19, Sheehan said her sound fiscal management continues to lead the city to a strong and sustainable future. The Democrat spoke of the delayed project to repurpose a ramp serving I-787:
"COVID delayed the Albany Skyway but we are committed to teaming up with New York state to award concert to award construction contracts and break ground in 2021. And I want to thank the Common Council for their support of this transformative project. "
Sheehan also discussed her commitment to revitalizing parks across the city:
“...from Westland hills to Washington, Mater, Christi and Ridgefield parks in 2021. We also look forward to constructing a new basketball complex at Lincoln Park, as part of our master plan for Lincoln Park. This was the number one most popular opportunity for transforming Lincoln Park. It's something that the community wanted, it provides the opportunity for us to host basketball tournaments. And to make sure that we have state of the art basketball facilities at our state of the art Lincoln Park. And over the next 24 months, we're going to invest an additional $2 million in Lincoln Park, with the creation of an open air amphitheater, improving the Morton Ave. overlook and enhancing the intersections around the park to make it more pedestrian friendly.”
A South End Plan is also in the works, as is an initiative to reduce Albany's dependence on its landfill. Other issues on the table include 21st Century Policing strategies, addressing gun violence, dismantling systemic racism, water and sewer infrastructure upgrades and recovering from the effects of the pandemic.
“And I'm going to continue to fight for our most vulnerable residents, to ensure that the vaccine is being distributed equitably, to ensure that the vaccine is going into the neighborhoods that have been most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. I am confident that with all of us working together, with all of the incredible partners that we have, with the way that our business community, the way that our residents have stepped up and done incredible things in 2020, that we are poised for a very bright future in 2021. Our best days truly are ahead of us. We are all in this together. And I look forward to guiding us through the challenges of today to the promise of tomorrow.”
Sheehan said she’s hoping Albany will get a share of the next COVID relief package.