Albany has a lot of plans. The Albany 2030 Plan, adopted in 2012, was the first Comprehensive Plan in the city’s 400-year history. There’s a plan for Complete Streets, a plan for Energy and a strategy called Impact Downtown.
This year, Albany is updating its Citywide Historic Preservation Plan, and there are opportunities for the public to be part of the process.
The Lakota Group, based in Chicago, has been retained to produce the plan. The group has 25 years of experience in urban design, planning, landscape architecture and historic preservation. According to its website, the firm’s mission is “to create plans that build connections between people, their environments and their history.”
On May 21, representatives from the Hudson/Park, Center Square, Washington Park, Ten Broeck Triangle and Delaware Avenue neighborhood associations, as well as former members of the city’s Historic Resources Commission and Planning Department, took part in a stakeholder meeting with Lakota staff.
Issues varied widely. Some neighbors expressed concern about multiple satellite television receivers on residential buildings, while others were alarmed by the growing number of emergency demolitions.
From the former St. Joseph’s Church in Arbor Hill to the “red x” placards on vacant buildings, the invited stakeholders seemed to agree on one thing – there is plenty of room for improvement in the way Albany treats its historic built environment.
According to the request for proposals issued by the city in February, the Citywide Historic Preservation Plan will:
- [strengthen] the City’s historic preservation program through a long-term vision and a set of practical and achievable strategies;
- [acknowledge] the role historic preservation plays in shaping the city’s urban form and character, in contributing to the city’s overall economic development, and in sustaining a high quality of life for all Albany residents, businesses, and visitors; and
- be used as a work program to change and streamline current historic preservation efforts, as well as a guideline for future planning and development efforts and will reflect input from a broad range of partners, including preservation advocates, business interests and development advocates.
That last bullet is where the community planning process comes in.
The ambitious timeline calls for stakeholder interviews, focus groups and community open houses through June, with the delivery of the final plan in September 2019.
This is your chance to get involved! Visit AlbanyHistoricPreservationPlan.com and sign up for email updates. Attend a public meeting. Advocate for what matters most to you.
Albany is the oldest chartered city in the nation. It deserves strategic, thoughtful management of its built environment. Albany’s historic fabric is among the city’s most promising – and to date, largely untapped – economic development assets. You can help make sure we get the Historic Preservation Plan right.