Albany's New Scotland Avenue neighborhood is undergoing big changes. Mayor Kathy Sheehan stopped by the newly completed "streetscape area" than runs from Quail to Ontario Streets.
Sheehan was joined by neighborhood elected officials, local business representatives and community members to cut the ribbon on the revitalized New Scotland Avenue Streetscape. City Hall says construction was accomplished in three phases, with little impact on existing businesses. Along the two-block stretch, there are new LED decorative streetlights, expanded walkways to accommodate sidewalk cafes and a two-tiered curb with improved roadway drainage. "Now that it's complete I think that you can see that it really has transformed this street. It's going to help the businesses who are here and I think it's going to drive more people to this neighborhood. And it really prepares you for the new neighbors that you're gonna be having with the construction that's happening on Ontario, and further down on New Scotland Avenue. We wanna be welcoming, right? We need people, we want people to help make sure that our business districts have the ability to not only survive but to thrive here in our neighborhoods in the city of Albany."
Mia Hinners owns the Albany Ale & Oyster restaurant. "I love what has happened with the streetscape. It's obviously beautiful. Having a flat surface to put our patio on is huge, so it’s only enhanced our outdoor space."
The CDTA bus stop was moved ahead of the traffic light beyond the corner of Ontario and New Scotland. Solar-powered flashing pedestrian-activated traffic beacons are stationed at the four corners where Grove Avenue intersects New Scotland. Ward 9 Common Council Member Judy Doesschate has watched the transformation since it was in the planning stages. "We do have a couple vacant buildings, storefronts here, that we would love to fill, and this is a great space, place to do business. The neighbors love you, it's very walkable. People come here all the time."
The project was funded from a pool bonded by the city for public improvements, which are quite noticeable in the immediate and nearby neighborhoods, abuzz with road and construction crews and various projects the mayor believes will attract more people. "We just hope that when they see a finished project like this and recognize that this is going to survive now for decades in the future and meet the needs of this neighborhood in a really important way, that that investment was definitely worth it."
The ribbon cutting corresponded with the kickoff of the 2nd Annual New Scotland Avenue Neighborhood Customer Appreciation Week, where neighbors support local restaurants that are offering specials to show their appreciation for customers old and new.