Dominick Calsolaro

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Letter to Governor Cuomo regarding the Convention Center

February 14, 2011

Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
State of New York
Executive Chamber
Albany, New York 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo:

I read that you have included the reappropriation of funds for the New York State Convention Center to be located in Albany in your proposed 2011/12 Executive Budget. I have been a critic of this proposal since the first study of the need for a convention center was undertaken ten years ago. Enclosed is a copy of a letter I sent to former Governor Spitzer, and re-sent to former Governor Paterson, stating my reasons for opposing the convention center, and proposing a ReBuild Albany Construction Authority (RACA) in its place.

I will not go into the reasons for my opposition of the convention center here, they are enumerated in the enclosure, but I do want to ask you to consider my proposal for amending the Public Authorities Law to reconstitute the Albany Convention Center Authority as the ReBuild Albany Construction Authority.

Here are the reasons for establishing RACA:

RACA would: (a) provide funding to the City of Albany to rebuild or rehabilitate and/or demolish the 600 or so vacant buildings presently identified in the City; (b) provide funds for street and sidewalk reconstruction where the rehabilitated houses are located; and (c) create a revolving loan fund to help residents purchase the rehabilitated vacant buildings for owner occupancy. This revolving loan fund would also help to ensure a continuous source of monies to RACA for future home ownership initiatives.

This proposal would have to be implemented quickly before anymore money is spent on the proposed convention center/hotel project. Doesn’t it make more sense to build or rehabilitate hundreds of houses for home ownership, thus helping to reverse Albany’s present trend of population loss, than to build one or two buildings that will do nothing to bring in permanent residents to the shrinking City of Albany? Furthermore, the RACA program would have to have a lifespan of at least twenty years in duration, thus guaranteeing the construction trade workers many more years of work than the building of one large project over an eighteen to twenty-four month period.

What I am asking you to do is to review the whole convention center/hotel project. Albany is a capital city, it should look like one. The RACA I am proposing would go a long way into making Albany the capital of capital cities. The City of Albany needs a major investment by the State of New York in order for this to happen. A convention center/hotel is a “sexy” idea, hundreds of vacant, dilapidated buildings made into owner-occupied homes, with attendant reconstructed streets and sidewalks, while not as “sexy” as a convention center, will go a lot further in making Albany the capital of capitals, than one lonely convention center.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter. I look forward to working with you on making Albany the “capital of capitals”.


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