TROY, NY – Speaking at the first in-person Troy 100 Forum since 2019, Troy Mayor Patrick Madden recently spoke about city finances and neighborhood reinvestment. Madden also stressed the importance of the city finally repaying its MAC debt, allowing investment to progress in city services and infrastructure.
“Over the past year, we have invested in our fire stations. We will replace the one in Lansingburgh, but we spent a lot of money on all the others. We rebuilt the South Troy pool. We spent $1.2 million to repair a swimming pool that cost us $200,000 to build in 1960. We have developed a parks plan where we will reinvest in our parks. So paying off that debt again is important to the quality of our lives going forward, just be patient, it’s going to take us some time, we didn’t get here overnight,” Madden commented on the structures in course of treatment in the city.
Madden also explained the opportunity created by Congress to invest $42.8 million in American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funds to make an investment with long-term impact. The mayor noted that the city has a website, TroyNow.org, where residents can keep track of these spending and decisions.
Madden noted her strong preference for investing that one-time money in neighborhood improvements that create lasting change.
“So we’ve identified some areas where we’re going to spend those funds and there are funds left for additional community contribution, but things like affordable housing, home improvements, promoting home ownership ownership, these are issues we’ve heard from small working groups,” Madden commented on some of the ideas put forward.
“Investments in our parks. We have a parks master plan. We also have a plan to replace the pool at Knickerbocker Park, not only nearly replacing the pool, but changing the layout of the park location where the pool is located. If you’ve visited parks in other communities, you’ll find the pool, picnic tables, grills, volleyball courts, and everything around it. The Knickerbocker Park Pool, as it stands today, is down an alley. It’s an awful place. Thank goodness it can’t be fixed, so we don’t have to make that decision. It needs to be replaced. So we want to move the pool to a more prime location, we want to make the park a destination for our families, not just a place where you drop your kids off for summer activities,” Madden noted during the Knickerbocker Park redesign in particular.
“Demolition of vacant Taylor Buildings One and Two, one block away, these buildings have been vacant for over 10 years. We are investing money in their demolition, working with the Troy Housing Authority to redevelop this site to provide residents with Taylor apartments [with] modern, new and efficient accommodation. Thus, all occupied units in three and four will move into new construction which will be placed where buildings one and two currently stand, opening up the rest of this site for redevelopment of more housing and green space along the river,” Madden explained regarding creating more affordable and environmentally friendly housing in the city.
Madden also commented on the importance of having places and activities for families.
“The American Theater, also known as Cinema Arts, has been closed for several years. Prior to the pandemic, the Proctors Collaboration, which runs Proctors at Schenectady, Cap Rep and Saratoga’s Music Hall, was moving toward reopening as a theater for both performance art and first-run films. . This was derailed by Covid. We are going to invest money in this, to bring this theater back to downtown Troy, which is great because we can only go so far in bars and restaurants, we also need to have other kinds of activities, like movies,” Madden explained.
Additionally, Madden talked about investing in the children of Troy and creating jobs to keep them here.
“Other things we’re looking at, education and workforce development, we’re emerging as a center for game development in the city of Troy, video games. This will create new jobs. I want it to be for our children. I don’t mind people coming and moving to Troy, but I want our kids to get into it. So we work with Hudson Valley’s [Community College’s] workforce institute,” Madden said.
“Youth programming, we all know how valuable youth programming is. Access to food is something that was also mentioned earlier. We are working with Capital Roots and Barton grocery stores to open food access just north of the Hoosick Street Bridge. Child care, I don’t know exactly where we’re going with that yet, but I know that if you want everybody back to work, if you want everybody back to school, you’re going to have to offer childcare options. Child care was difficult before the pandemic and it became impossible during and after the pandemic,” Madden continued on a number of important issues the city is also working to address.
Madden concluded by acknowledging the creation of a position of Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at City Hall. The position, adopted by the city council and endorsed by the mayor, aims to foster a diverse, welcoming and supportive work environment in the city.