Dominick Calsolaro

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ReBuild Albany Authority

Published on 2/15/2010 by the Times Union

February 15, 2010

Letters to the Editor
Times Union
Box 15000
Albany, New York 12212

Dear Editor:

I found the February 14 column by Paul Bray, "Forget about an Albany convention center" and the article in that day's Business section, "Modest proposals" to be a good coincidence.

Paul Bray writes about the need to scrap the convention center and to concentrate on smaller projects such as a complex of "residential, office, food store and retail development..." in the downtown area. Mr. Bray also cites my recommendation for a ReBuild Albany Authority to replace the present convention center authority as a better option than building a $220 million convention center. Meanwhile, in the "Modest proposals" story, subtitled, "Smaller residential projects hold promise for downtown", business writer Chris Churchill writes about the problems large-scale development proposals have had in getting off the ground in downtown Albany, while praising the success of small-scale residential development in downtown.

The key to revitalizing Albany's downtown and its adjacent neighborhoods where a majority of the vacant and abandoned buildings exist is to bring mixed-use residential development to downtown, while at the same time, rebuilding our inner-city neighborhoods through the ReBuild Albany Authority. As Mr. Churchill writes, "Yevoli (Albany's Commissioner of Development & Planning) and others see housing as a key component of a truly vibrant downtown."

It is now time for us to pass on the grandiose, quarter-of-a-billion dollar proposal for a nice city amenity - the convention center, and instead, concentrate on investing the necessary capital to solve Albany's vacant and abandoned building problem. The rebirth of Albany's downtown as a residential community, and extending that rebirth to the neighborhoods of Arbor Hill, West Hill and the South End, will truly be the transformational project that makes Albany a desirable place to live.


Dominick Calsolaro
Common Council Member - First Ward
(518) 859-5219