Guy Cappuccio, a candidate for fourth ward alderman, said during a recent interview that he doesn’t consider himself a “political kind of guy.” But when the opportunity to serve as an appointed interim member of the council opened up earlier in the year, Cappuccio said he was determined to do his best.
Shortly after he was appointed, he hosted a ward meeting at city hall. Cappuccio said that about 12 people attended. During the meeting, he said he provided a variety of information about the Church Street repaving project, police and fire department activity in the area, and other statistics.
He said that residents at the meeting discussed the possibility of extending the 15 mile-per-hour school zone on Church Street.
“We talked about it in my town hall meeting, two weeks later, signs are already up, school zone’s established,” he said.
If elected in November, Cappuccio said that residents could expect more ward meetings of the same type where residents could ask questions, give feedback, and hear directly about various city projects.
“I would try to stay very visible and we would come to city hall maybe two, three times a year,” he said.
Cappuccio is currently employed as a customer complaint analyst at Mohawk Fine Papers in Cohoes. He has also served on the Walter Elwood Museum board from 2007 to 2016 and worked with other board members to move the museum from its former Guy Park Avenue location to Guy Park Manor and then finally to its current location at the former Noteworthy complex.
In regards to addressing the city’s general fund deficit, Cappuccio said improving the city’s tax base is an important part of the solution.
Capuccio said that he sees property values in the fourth ward neighborhood stabilizing, and believes they are beginning to increase. Recently, he’s seen at least two bank-owned houses in the neighborhood sold to owners who then completed renovations.
“So, there is activity on the real estate side. That’s going to help to start to rebuild our tax base. So, we need to continue to work hard at that,” he said.
He would also like to look at the possibility of hiring a purchasing agent, possibly shared with the county, which he believes could save on expenses due to economy of scale.
In regards to KCG Development, who is proposing to build an apartment complex and restaurant/banquet hall facility on the former Chalmers property, Cappuccio said, “You now have a developer who becomes entrenched and intrigued with wanting to come and develop that parcel. So that’s a major economic injection for the city. You have to support it. It’s an absolute yes. You’re never going to satisfy everybody with every facet of development.”
“Would balconies be great? Yeah, its waterfront property, but it may not be feasible from a cost standpoint. Anytime you look at decorative amenities, there’s always a cost associated. And the project may not be able to handle those kinds of things,” he said.
He pointed out that the proposed project most likely contributed to the city winning the $10 Downtown Revitalization Initiative. He also feels that with the combination of income-restricted apartments and market-rate apartments, the complex will be attractive to a wide range of workers at the various businesses on Route 5s such as the Dollar General distribution center which is currently under construction.
Cappuccio called the city’s golf course “a diamond in the rough” and said that he envisions marketing the course to business professionals.
“Golf courses are everywhere in the country, have become [a huge focal point] for business people,” he said.
“The golf course is beautifully situated in the city. It’s got good parking, it’s got all the amenities that you need. Should the golf course become a possible business center?” he asked.
He said that with a few relatively inexpensive improvements to the club house, such as adding a projector and screen, the facility could be used for business seminars or workshops.
However, he added that he is concerned that the right personnel and structure are not currently in place for the course to be successful.
“If the golf course, which is a revenue account for the City of Amsterdam, is going to be kind of held to the fire, well then, we as a city, need to ensure that there [are] the correct mechanisms in place that’s going to allow [the course] to be what it’s supposed to be. I’m not convinced that exists today. I think you need, a golf pro…but a golf course is still a business,” he said. “And you really need to have somebody that’s got a business mind that’s going to control and make sure that the business side of the golf course is handled in the correct fashion.”
Cappuccio said he is a life-long city resident, originally growing up on the west end and getting his first job at Noteworthy, before finally buying a home in the fourth ward.
About living in Amsterdam he said, “We’re close to family, we’re close to friends. Kids are rooted here, they go through the school district, they have all their friends,” said Cappuccio. “It’s still a simple, clean community where it’s a great place to raise your family.”
Cappuccio is running as a write-in candidate in November’s election. Fourth ward voters who want to cast a vote for him should write his full name, “Guy Cappuccio” in the write-in box under the alderman column on the ballot. He is running against Stephen Gomula on the Republican party line, and Dave Dybas on the Democratic party line.