City looking for volunteers to help update comprehensive plan

According to a press release issued yesterday, Mayor Ann Thane is looking for volunteers looking to help revise the city’s Comprehensive Plan as well as to participate in an upcoming Community Needs Assessment to be conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Community Needs Assessment will be conducted at no charge to the city and will involve a series of roundtable discussions with community members.  According to the release, the assessment will produce a detailed plan regarding how HUD can best assist the city in the next two years with housing and urban development issues. According to Community and Economic Director Robert von Hasseln, the research needed to complete the assessment will benefit the comprehensive plan revision process.

In the release, von Hasseln said, “Much of the community profile data which will be generated by HUD statisticians is the same material we normally pay outside consultants to produce for an updated comprehensive plan.”

The city’s Comprehensive Plan was completed in 2003 during former mayor John Duchessi’s administration. The plan outlines seven broad goals as well as specific strategies to achieve them.

  1. Improve Amsterdam’s image and identity in the region
  2. Rebuild Amsterdam’s economic foundation
  3. Re-establish downtown as the community center
  4. Stabilize and strengthen neighborhoods
  5. Redevelop old mill sites and improve connections to neighborhoods
  6. Enhance important gateways to the community
  7. Create a city green-way system

In the release, Thane said, “The 2003 plan was an excellent document and much in it remains valid. We have consistently used it to guide our actions, but some things have changed, new information has been developed.”

Thane said that information from other previous projects, such as the Brown Field Opportunity Act (BOA) study of the North East and East End, a phase II BOA study of the Waterfront Heritage Area, the feasibility study on the River Walk project, and the New York Rising study will be used to revise the plan.  “Our intent is to take all the information and ideas from these and other previous and regional plans and reports, resolve differences, refine goals and plans, and prepare a new comprehensive plan for public review and adoption which will guide our actions for the next ten years.”

According to von Hasslen, “We need participants from all aspects of life in this city: those who have participated or are now participating in studies and those who never have. Educators, clergy, small and large business operators, senior citizens, veterans, health care providers, students, recent graduates, nonprofit workers, typical homeowners ­ the list could go on and on because the more people involved the better the final product.”

Anyone interested in participating in the HUD Community Needs Assessment or the Comprehensive Plan revision should contact either Mayor Ann Thane at (518) 841-4311,  or the Director of Community and Economic Development Robert von Hasseln at (518) 841-4323,

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.