Troy Mayor Patrick Madden gave the first annual address of his second term Wednesday night. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports on some much-anticipated announcements.
Democrat Patrick Madden is beginning his second four-year term. Speaking before a crowd at the newly renovated top floor of the Hedley building on River Street, Madden touted progress over the last four years – improvement to the city’s finances, infrastructure, and ongoing development, to name a few.
But some announcements drew a particularly enthusiastic response from the crowd.
“I am delighted to report that we have reached an agreement with the county regarding the construction of the South Troy Industrial Roadway.”
The South Troy Industrial Roadway has been a long-awaited project to divert trucks from South Troy neighborhoods, and at the same time, open up land along the Hudson River for redevelopment.
“With this matter resolved, we should be going out to bid in a couple of weeks. This is a win-win-win for the City of Troy, the County of Rensselaer, and the residents of South Troy,” said Madden.
Prior to the announcement, city officials waited for months for a final signature on the 1.3-mile project from Rensselear County Executive Steve McLaughlin. The city council had already bonded money to match state and federal grants to support the $10 million project.
City Council President Carmella Mantello, a Republican, said South Trojans have seen the foundations of their buildings crack as a result of heavy trucks moving through the residential area.
“People have endlessly endured these trucks going through their neighborhood. The South Troy Industrial Roadway – the council actually bonded money to match the state and federal grants that we’ve received. It’s just a matter of the county signing off on some of the property to make that happen, to go out with RFP and break ground. So this is a huge step forward,” said Mantello.
Another big announcement: more movement on finding a new home for city operations.
“I am pleased to announced that we are putting the finishing touches on a Request for Qualifications – an RFQ – to secure a commercial real estate services partner to assist in assessing operational needs, financial capacity, and possible locations for a new city hall,” said Madden.
For the last few years, the city has rented a floor of the Hedley building – a few floors below where the mayor gave his address – for $400,000 a year. Prior to that, a temporary city hall was located at a former Verizon building.
The former city hall in Monument Square was knocked down nine years ago.
Prior to its demolition, city councilor Ken Zalewski, now Council President Pro Tem, was chair of a City Hall Review Committee.
“Our recommendation was we should probably stay in the building until we have an alternative. Unforunately, the way things work, that building ended up being demolished and we’ve kinda been floating around. The city’s been floating around ever since,” said Zalewski.
A virtual crater has existed in its place ever since the former city hall’s demolition, with work ongoing to locate a new structure on the property. There has been a push in the past to create a new city hall at One Monument Square, an idea supported by Council President Mantello.
Mantello was largely pleased by the mayor’s address.
“I would say, overall, thumbs up. But certainly, there are issues that I plan to talk about at the legislative address that might counter a little bit. But we’re going to continue working together. And really, neighborhoods, I want to see that number one priority – and the waterfront – because certainly, we can do more to revitalize our neighborhoods.”
In his speech, Madden announced that the city would seek to create an historic district for the city’s Lansingburgh neighborhood, pursue redevelopment of the Taylor apartments into mixed-income housing, renovate the 7th Avenue pocket park, and improve riverfront access through multiple projects.