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Ad Hoc Committee moves Park South Urban Renewal Plan forward

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Albany/HV: Ad Hoc Committee moves Park South Urban Renewal Plan forward
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After numerous meetings and the public's feedback, the Park South Urban Renewal Plan looks like it might finally be moving forward. That is, for another vote on Monday before the Common Council. YNN's Karen Tararache has the details.

ALBANY, N. Y. -- "We have fifteen members on the council that represent approximately seven to eight thousand people and it's time to start looking out for us," said Vincent Rigosu and that's how some Albany Residents felt at Friday's Ad Hoc Committee Meeting.

As requested by residents in prior meetings, the most recent plans do drop the height of the parking garage down but the changes also cause the building to extend outward onto the street.

Albany Common Council Member, Richard Conti said, "We looked at some alternative renderings and options for the structure which bring the height of the garage down and the number of spaces down and that's really one of the main issues that has taken part in the discussions."

In one option the garage is seven stories and houses 825 cars. The other option is six stories and houses 816 cars. But residents say these amendments are just not good enough.

Alice Brody said, "Is it critical that we continue to increase parking spaces as oppose to improve public transportation."

Virginia Hammer added, "I think that other cities are probably a lot further along in creating environments in which people don't have to drive."

After three public hearings, several committee and Park South Neighborhood Association meetings, the Ad Hoc Committee decided to present the amendments before the Common Council for a vote, Monday.

Columbia Development VP, Richard Rosen explained, "That doesn't mean that the project is approved or disapproved, it just means we know where we stand and we will have to continue and almost start all over again going through the planning board process."

"We've been waiting for the re development of these blocks since 2006 so we're eager to see it move forward," Conti said.

And while some are eager to get the project approved, others are hoping that patience will prevail.

"Do not allow yourself into making a decision that you have serious questions about and work much harder in raising the issues to the public in your own communities," Brody said.

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