Schenectady County

DSIC notes successes as it marks its 10th year

New building facades, new business, flowers and greenery downtown are just part of the legacy of the

New building facades, new business, flowers and greenery downtown are just part of the legacy of the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation, which is turning 10 this year.

Executive Director James Salengo listed a series of accomplishments for the guests Tuesday at the organization’s annual meeting and luncheon, held at Key Hall. DSIC has spent about $2.1 million on grants to upgrade properties and private owners have kicked in another $2.6 million for a total of $4.7 million worth of investment on more than a hundred projects.

DSIC is funded through sales tax revenue and corporate sponsorships.

Among some of the initiatives have been upgrading the facades of the Bangkok Bistro at the intersection of Erie Boulevard and State Street; what Salengo described as a “burned out shell of a building” at 322 State St.; the outside of the Schenectady ARC at 214 State St.; and the Stockade View Apartments at 10 Mill Lane.

“You sort of forget how some things looked before redevelopment happened downtown,” he said.

The Main Street Improvement Program provided a $333,250 grant to the Schenectady Light Opera Company to help upgrade its new home on Franklin Street.

DSIC also focuses on beautification projects. It has three employees who clean up the sidewalks seven days a week. The organization is also responsible for hanging flower baskets and planters, putting up wreaths and banners during the holiday season, and placing other decorations downtown.

The organization is also stepping up its marketing. It did a joint partnership with Saratoga County to promote Travers Week and published the 2011 Schenectady Dining Guide.

For 2011, DSIC is rolling out a new logo and a revamped website.

The guests also heard a keynote speech from Andy Taft, president of Fort Worth Inc., who said there are a lot of parallels between his city’s revitalization and Schenectady. He encouraged patience.

“It’s a marathon. You have to prepare yourself for that. If you have a plan for you’re how going to run that marathon, it becomes a whole lot easier.”

Lawyer Paul Tocker, who owns a building downtown, said DSIC does a great job. “They respond to the stakeholders and concerns. They encourage us to participate in the process.”

Tocker said he wishes that they did not charge for parking downtown.

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