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Feedback wanted for Mont Pleasant streetscape upgrades in Schenectady

Feedback wanted for Mont Pleasant streetscape upgrades in Schenectady

Feedback wanted for Mont Pleasant streetscape upgrades in Schenectady
The city is seeking community feedback for streetscape improvements at the corner of Main Avenue and Crane Street. 
Photographer: Pete DeMola/Gazette Reporter

SCHENECTADY — Big changes are underway at the intersection at Crane Street and Main Avenue.

The new Mont Pleasant Branch Library was completed in April, and a handful of blighted properties along Crane Street have been included in an upcoming batch of demolitions, including the vacant structure located next to the Family Dollar.

Now the city wants community feedback on upcoming streetscape improvements.

A workshop is scheduled for Thursday at the Mont Pleasant Branch Library from 5 to 7:45 p.m. to discuss potential changes along the corridor. 

The event to gather input on the Craig-Main Connection marks the latest in a series of community workshops led by the city and the Capital District Transportation Committee.

A key goal is empowering residents to become active participants in the design process for their neighborhoods. 

“We highly encourage participation and look forward to enhanced connection, sense of place and mobility along this corridor that is informed by the people who use it the most,” said Kristin Diotte, the city’s director of planning and development.

One discussion topic will be if Main Avenue and Forest Road should be considered for one-way conversions to make the corridor safer for walking and biking.

“Nothing is really set in stone,” Diotte said. "They are just ideas for discussion.”

Joining the pending demolitions are facade enhancements on nine buildings along Crane Street, including G&K Laundry, Ramesh’s Grocery and Marcella’s, among others.

Those efforts are funded by the New York Main Street grant program and overseen by Better Neighborhoods, Inc.

Ken Thakker, president of Country Farm gas station located at the intersection, said the neighborhood has improved significantly since the completion of the library, which is located on the former footprint of a crime-plagued bodega.

“It’s better than before,” Thakker said. 

He’s noticed an uptick in business and a more diverse clientele, shifts he attributed to people who are no longer afraid to frequent his business. 

“Good people come,” said Thakker, who also applauded an increased police presence in the neighborhood, including the patrol cars often stationed in his parking lot.

The former library building was torn down to make way for an expanded parking lot.

Once completed, Thakker said, the new lot will likely reduce congestion along Crane Street, including blockages caused by delivery trucks temporarily parked to unload product at various businesses located along the strip.

The workshop comes on the heels of a similar series of events to discuss streetscape improvements along nearby Craig Street.

“The design team has been weighing the different options and has started doing a cost analysis and will eventually come up with an implementation plan for final completion of this study,” Diotte said.

As for the next round of demolitions, the Capital Region Land Bank board is scheduled to approve the award of the demolition contract for 11 properties on Tuesday, including 625 Crane, 702 Crane and 1002 Crane, the building adjacent to Family Dollar.

If you go: Open House Event on Design Ideas for Main Avenue Corridor: Thursday, Aug. 1 from 5 pm to 7:45 p.m. at Mont Pleasant Branch Library, 1036 Crane St. For more information, visit craig-main-connection.com or contact the city’s Department of Development at 518-382-5147.

 The city is seeking community feedback for streetscape improvements at the corner of Main Avenue and Crane Street. 

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