Schenectady

Stockade residents share ideas for use of federal stimulus money

Stockade Neighborhood Association President Suzanne Unger, left, is seen with her husband Rich in 2019.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Stockade Neighborhood Association President Suzanne Unger, left, is seen with her husband Rich in 2019.

The Stockade Neighborhood Association presented four main areas where they would like to see the city of Schenectady use $53 million in federal stimulus funding.

Those areas came about through a survey the association asked residents to take. 

“It was a very open-ended question,” said Suzanne Unger, president of the association. “We just asked people to get in touch with us and tell us what they saw as appropriate use for the funding.” 

The money has to be allocated by 2024 and spent by 2026, said resident Chris White, who gave a presentation on the survey results. 

He said that gives the city a little time to figure out what it wants to put the funding toward.

The four main spending priorities people indicated in the Stockade survey were supporting small businesses; COVID health and safety; code enforcement and job training. 

Ideas for supporting small businesses included actions like grants or low-interest loans for existing businesses and consultation services to small businesses. 

“So much has changed in the wake of COVID to provide some guidance about how businesses can adjust,” White said. 

Under COVID health and safety residents wanted the money spent on items like continuing education on masks and the vaccines and preparing the cities infrastructure for COVID vaccine booster shots. 

“I know there’s a lot of conversations going on about timing at the federal government, but our neighbors were clear they really wanted to be supportive of this effort,” White said.

For code enforcement residents indicated they wanted to see an educational campaign launched that provides information on being a homeowner and measures to hold landlords accountable. 

“A number of residents here raised this concern that once rent money comes in that it first spent on repairs to ensure the housing stock is not dilapidated and then to profit once any code issues are addressed,” White said. 

The final idea of job training included allocating the money toward such things as a partnership with SUNY Schenectady and training for building trades to fill the need for skilled trade workers.

Additional ideas people provided included items like addressing park maintenance and waste pickup issues. 

Other residents like Deborah Frost said they would like to see money go toward a skate park. 

Mayor Gary McCarthy said as the city continues to hear from residents on ways to use the money it will also keep an eye on any additional funding that might be coming from the federal government. He said there are talks regarding money for infrastructure that might be better suited to resolve some of the needs in Schenectady and therefore freeing up the $53 million to be used in other ways. 

Unger said the Stockade’s ideas aren’t just about what they want to see happen. 

“We’re looking at the whole city, not just talking about our little corner of Schenectady down here in the Stockade,” she said.

McCarthy also said many of the items residents of the Stockade said they’d like to see the money go toward would actually impact many of the neighborhoods throughout the city.

“We all benefit by every neighborhood being stronger and better,” McCarthy said. 

Here are where the next meeting will take place: 

  • Sept. 28, 6:30 p.m., Upper Union – Eastern Avenue – Central State Neighborhood Associations with the location to be announced
  • Sept. 30, 7 p.m., Goose Hill Neighborhood Association at Steinmetz Park Community Room, Lenox Road
  • Oct. 14, 6:30 p.m., Mont Pleasant Neighborhood Association at Mont Pleasant Library, 1036 Crane St.

The city is also offering a survey to get an idea of what residents want. That can be found at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfWAn1o_43hO44FP3BZAWEz4FN_4uHm5-WHn6OgZ4c6G_gOYg/viewform

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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