Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's a Plan

Having served four years as chair of the Schenectady City Council's Development and Planning Committee, I have been particularly interested in the city's proposed comprehensive plan -- a vision of Schenectady over the next 20 years. Here are the comments I offered at the Council's public hearing on the plan earlier this week:

Good evening, Madame President, Mayor Stratton and honorable members of the City Council. My name is Frank Maurizio of Lexington Ave. in Schenectady and I’m here to speak in strong support of the comprehensive plan as presented.

While there is certainly always room for improvement to any idea and proposal – and I have every faith that this body might, in fact, enhance what we have here – the beauty of the the comprehensive plan is that it reflects the hopes and vision of the citizens of Schenectady.
As you well know, the comprehensive plan you’re considering is the product of months and months of hearings, discussions, interviews and public meetings. Hundreds of Schenectadians took advantage of the opportunity to voice their concerns and to share their ideas. And, by and large, that input – derived from a very open, inclusive process – is in here.

Now, we certainly can discuss whether an old, oil-soaked garage is our idea of a park or not. And we certainly can consider whether some of our venerable institutions should be held to different standard; I have my opinions on both. But those discussions should not derail or delay adoption and implementation of this plan.

For the past few years, we have all been enjoying – in fact, celebrating – downtown’s resurgence. As we should. What’s happening downtown borders on a miracle. But the elephant in the room during these celebrations has always been: What about the other parts of the city – the neighborhoods where people live and work – they need our attention too.

Well, this comprehensive plan is the answer to that very appropriate question. Zoning and neighborhood issues must be addressed as the next step in Schenectady’s revitalization. And this comprehensive plan provides the roadmap to do just that. It’s professional; it’s thorough; and, again, it reflects the will of the people.

Finally, I want to congratulate the City Council and the administration – especially Steve Strichman of the Development Department – for spearheading this important effort. It’s indicative of the progressive, forward-thinking attitude that has turned our city around. Thank you for that.

And thank you for this time.

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