I have enjoyed following Schenectady’s revitalization over the last 15 years, thanks to the efforts of countless stakeholders. However, after losing multiple landmarks, I believe we’re missing opportunities to make lasting change while reversing the antiquated message that growth requires a choice between past and future. I’m confident that we have everything we need to implement sustainable building practices, create connected and vibrant neighborhoods citywide, and move toward reducing our reliance on government and outside funding to thrive.
I was raised here by hard-working parents who understood the opportunities the city afforded. I’m a proud product of the public school system and community-supported initiatives. My first job was as a newspaper carrier for The Gazette. High grades earned me numerous scholarships, including from local public-benefit organizations. Schenectady got a bad rap back then, and my parents were often heard proudly defending the city, its unique heritage and its untapped potential. These days, I find myself doing that, too, wondering why people fail to realize that urban centers will always share good and bad, and we are no exception.
Our local constituents offer invaluable insight into green design alternatives like salvaging demolition materials. Many well-meaning organizations are struggling to remain viable while advocating healthy communities. With a little ingenuity, we can harness the collective power of these groups and make Schenectady a leader in smart growth, sustainable construction and interdependent community. In my graduation speech 21 years ago, I spoke about a bright future and I still believe those words.
Caroline (Benedict) Bardwell