Monday, April 22, 2013

Residents Celebrate Earth Day at Troy's September 11th Memorial Park

On Saturday, April 20th, some 25 Lansingburgh residents descended on Memorial Park to participate in the Annual Troy Earth Day celebration. Residents performed numerous clean-up and beautification projects for approximately three hours.

Volunteers tidy up Memorial Park

 When the park was originally conceived in 2008, it was meant to clean up a riverside parcel of land that became wasteland after several trailers were removed. Lenny Kluz, Darlene Simpson, Chris Lambertsen, and I applied for CDBG funds through the city over a period of two years to begin the development process. The grant money that was awarded went to the installation of the majority of the infrastructure of the park. We aimed to create a space where people would gather and relax, enjoying the river views and the wildlife that inhabits the area.

In 2010, we choose the park as the location of the Troy September 11th Memorial. The 112th Street Bridge is one of the busiest entryways into the city, the park with the memorial allows visitors and residents the opportunity to visually see the memorial and park, in addition to, a place to site and reflect.

There were many objectives we aimed to achieve with the park and memorial and this past Saturday, as volunteers continued the beautification of the riverside parcel of land, we witnessed dozens of families and visitors to Troy enjoying the riverside views and the 9/11 Memorial. This past Saturday a high school regatta race was held in the Hudson River. People from all over the Capital District came to cheer on their son, daughter, or grandchild, and as they did, they did so from the banks of Memorial Park.

Our Volunteers
As the volunteers worked and people came and went, many visitors complemented us on the progress. Progress many of the visitors witnessed over the several year period. They have come to the same location year after year as their child progressed in school years and each year the park grew. It grew from a vacant muddy and dusty lot to a well manicured site that features a memorial to one of America's most memorable events and a site where a steel artifact from the World Trade Center is prodominitly featured.

A lot of long stressful days and nights, sweat, and dedication went into developing the site, but what made it happen was a love for our community and for country. Often those who are involved in community betterment groups and programs seek some assurance that what they do and have done makes a positive difference in the neighborhoods where they live. On Saturday, April 20th, as dozens of visitors from other towns and cities sat on the banks of Memorial Park overlooking the Hudson River, we realized the objectives we set out to achieve have made that positive difference.

It can be done, and I encourage and challenge people all the time to get involved and make a difference. It’s us; those that "do" that strengthen the fabric of our communities and build better cities!

Click Here to view a PDF slide show that includes some photos and articles of the development of the Troy 9/11 Memorial and Memorial Park.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Earth Day Clean-up Projects in Lansingburgh!

This Saturday brings the annual citywide Earth Day celebration, where community members adopt projects in their neighborhoods to clean-up and beautify the city of Troy. Specifically, in Lansingburgh we will be focusing on two parks.

First, at the September 11th Memorial (112th Street and 1st Ave) beginning at 9am residents are invited to join to perform clean-up and landscaping. Bette Dinovo and the Friends of Memorial Park will participate, performing work on the beautiful gardens they installed last year. We are seeking volunteers to work alongside them. Please bring a rake and gloves with you. Jim Gordon will be on site to direct volunteers.

Second, at Powers Park a group will be on hand to perform a number of projects throughout the park. Please bring a rake and gloves with you. Vito Ciccarelli will be on site to direct volunteers.

At both locations projects are expected to run until 11:30 - 12:00pm.

A limited number of Earth Day t-shirts will be available on a first come-first serve basis as in years past.

Thank you for your support and if you are unable to attend either of these projects, please consider taking on a beautification project within your community. Initiatives such as this help grow community spirit and a sense of ownership in ones community. Hope you'll be able to join us.

Monday, January 21, 2013

S.O.S, :Smoke Signals: - a plea of help from Lansingburgh

Everyday it's something different. Street crime, violence, gun and drug activity. Each morning we awake in Lansingburgh to another form of quality-of-life crime - at least that what it appears anyway.

Here is what several residents in Southerner Lansingburgh seen when they went out to their vehicles his Monday morning.

Some may say ignorance is bliss. However, in this case it is not. This is the third posting where the continued increase in crime has been clearly exampled, to date no acknowledgement.

Honestly, not sure if there is much more to say, these photos speak for themselves.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cats, Dogs, Crime, and a Compost Heap

As street crime continues to grow city residents can lay their heads upon their pillows at night, resting assured that city officials are promptly and thoroughly addressing the most pressing issues.

Unfortunately, these pressing issues have nothing to do with larcenies from vehicles, criminal mischief, burglaries, shootings, robberies, drugs, violence, or arson's in Lansingburgh. You see city officials are actively engaged in solving the deficiency of a dog park, spay and neutering feral cats, and planning for urban composting. It's worth noting that if the city hasn't been experiencing increased levels of crime, each of the previously mentioned initiatives have merit, as I personally have supported two of them in the past, but right now the abundance of crime is at the forefront of everyone's mind and the lack of attention has residents concerned.

At our North Lansingburgh Neighborhood Watch meetings have averaged somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 residents each meeting since October. The common topic - crime and the lack of attention in addressing it. While the monthly crime statistics demonstrate a need for increased public safety, Lansingburgh hasn't received the support from city officials or the headlines in newspapers or on the news as dog parks, feral cats, and composting have. City officials aren't recognizing our need. Why's that? Maybe it's because they have been eagerly awaiting the new Public Safety Commissioner to ride in on a white horse and solve all their problems for them. Lets be blunt here, the recently appointed commissioner had a very honorable career  with the Troy PD prior to his retirement and he is a very capable officer of the law, but what he isn't is a wizard. He has no magic wand that can be waved to make these issues magically disappear.

At this time a good starting point would be an acknowledgment from the City that there is a serious crime problem and a commitment to OUR Lansingburgh neighborhoods that a timely solution will be established. And until this happens, I personally don't want to hear about feral cats unless they're the ones breaking into our cars, or dog parks unless that's where the drug dealers are hanging out, or newly created jobs to coordinate composting the only "new" jobs we want to hear about are more cops per shift on our streets.

I fear we will continue to lose Lansingburgh block-by-block and the city will fall to the cats and dogs.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Growing Public Safety Concerns in the Burgh - We need more COPS!

As a resident of Troy and a neighborhood watch leader in Lansingburgh I am beyond concerned with the surge of petty street level crimes that continue to spread throughout the city, especially in Lansingburgh. While the occasional high profile mugging, shooting, robbery, stabbing, and arson dominate the headlines, it is the street level larcenies, burglaries, and criminal mischief that continue to cause the most grief for residents.

During the month of December there were 25 larcenies from vehicles, 7 burglaries, and numerous other infractions in Lansingburgh alone.  It seems that on a daily basis we are learning of yet another incident. These are becoming too overwhelming. Residents should not have to worry about whether or not their home or vehicle will be intact when they wake up in the morning. Just today, January 17, I learned that there have been 11 REPORTED larcenies to vehicles in Lanaingburgh.

What we need are more cops on our streets. A more visible presence is necessary. The patrol officers that are currently enforcing public safety are not enough. Patrol officers spend the majority of their shifts bouncing from call to call in policing zones that stretch for miles. 

In Troy there are currently 4 policing zones. Each zone is assigned two patrol cars (one officer in each). Let’s be honest having just two patrol cars in Lansingburgh's zone 4, which stretches from Hoosick Street north to the city line, is not feasible anymore. The policing zones need to be expanded and more patrol officers need to be added to each shift. Back filling “busy” shifts with officers on overtime is not a prudent use of taxpayer dollars. Reorganizing the cities policing zones adding one or maybe two more would allow for more patrol officers to move about our neighborhoods more often without the added overtime expense.

Seeing more marked patrols within our communities is just one necessity to deter criminalistic acts. The Street Crimes Unit or something similar needs to be reinstated - unmarked, plain clothed officers patrolling the streets on a regular basis. The street level petty crime that is growing in the city can only be addressed by undercover aggressive details. These crimes happen in a flash and marked patrols are not too effective on sneaking up on them while in progress. This tactic worked in the past why not again?

If anyone has been paying attention to the crimes that are happening throughout Troy you will realize they are very aggressive in nature. For those who make the argument that aggressive policing isnt the answer than you need to wake up and smell the coffee. Passive policing tactics as those implemented by City Hall are laughed at by the criminals and this is demonstrated by there continuation of their acts.

Let's remember that the winter season is the "quiet time" for crime, if the current trend continues, unchecked, we are in for a hair raising spring/summer.

Understanding the current crime situation in Troy leads one to ask why hasn’t these or similar tactics already been implemented? I’m sure someone knows the answer. That’s why recently when the Democrats on the City Council voted to add a Police Commissioner for $30,000 it puzzled me. Why would a newly created position that has NO bearing on actually increasing public safety be implemented instead of finding ways to put more cops on the street? Why not invest in cops or in initiatives to address these quality-of-life crimes? In 2012, the police chief introduced a program to reduce the number of larcenies from vehicles. This program is already being utilized in several Upstate NY communities, including Buffalo and Rochester, and has significantly reduced these types of crimes by over 40%. Instead of supporting the chief the Democrats City Council shot down the proposal.

Residents are searching for answers – and this city government is not providing them. More specifically in Lansingburgh we have no advocate, other than ourselves and we are left to fend and seek our own solutions. These crimes are happening in sections of Lansingburgh that would never see a stitch of crime in the past. We need to reverse the trend of losing Lansingburgh block-by-block.