By Greg Brenn
While driving through areas of Schenectady around Union’s campus, it is apparent that there exists structurally deficient houses and apartments in need of significant renovation.
This past week, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy proposed to the city council a $3 million loan that would finance the demolition of approximately 100 dilapidated homes throughout the city limits of Schenectady.
Each year the city of Schenectady spends about $100,000 demolishing abandoned and unsafe buildings, but McCarthy believes that in order for Schenectady’s image to improve, more demolition and renovations in the city limits needs to be performed.
“I’m trying to get people to move to Schenectady and talk about the good things that the community has to offer,” McCarthy explained, “But at the same time I can’t pretend the bad things aren’t there.”
Union has contributed to improving Schenectady’s image, predominantly on Seward and Roger Hull Places, which began with a buyout of over 20 properties in need of significant repair about 14 years ago. Union has since converted many of those buildings into student apartment houses.
When asked about the residential image of Schenectady around campus, Hansong Qu ‘14, who will be living on Seward next year, said, “Developing Seward was a great initiative for the school to enhance the residential image bordering campus. It sounds like the city understands the importance of residential development, but Schenectady should be prepared to allot a great amount of time and money to renovate many streets around the city.”
There has also been word of a new natural food market called the Electric City Co-op, which is in the process of renovating an older building across from Boulevard Bowl on Erie Boulevard.
This cooperative market hopes to open within the next year, which would aid in Mayor McCarthy’s plan to better develop Schenectady beyond State Street and the downtown areas.