AMSTERDAM, NY – Veteran’s Time To Thrive, Inc. held a dinner and presentation at the Inman Senior Center on Saturday night to showcase a plan to build an 18-unit residential building on vacant land on Forbes Street. The newly-formed non-profit organization is headed by retired U.S. Naval Commander David Mendez and his wife Tanya, who own the property where they are proposing to build the project.
Tom Politi, architect for the project, gave an overview of the plans for the building. He said his approach to the design incorporated an understanding of the history of the area, the characteristics of the land, selecting the right construction materials, as well as the financial, social, and environmental sustainability of the project.
Part of the plan is to have communal spaces on the bottom floor with windows which would help maintain a visual connection between the residents and the rest of the neighborhood. Politi said that having “eyes on street” will help foster a greater sense of security in the neighborhood.
Politi added that he sees the project as center of a continuing revitalization effort in the neighborhood.
“It’s a piece of a whole,” said Politi. “This is not a one-and-done. All the other pieces need to work with it.”
The event was attended by a number of city, county, and state officials. Congressman Paul Tonko, a resident of the city, also attended and spoke in support of the project.
“When I see a project I believe in, I will invest myself totally. This is a project I believe in. This is a great cornerstone for a comeback community,” he said.
Tonko, who is the chair of the House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, said the environmentally friendly and energy efficiency aspects of the project were “music my ears.”
“I couldn’t agree more with the trifecta of sustainability that he mentioned, the financial, the social, and the environmental,” he said.
Tonko added, “To be able to do this makes a very bold statement about Amsterdam and her soulfulness and her respect for veterans. And I think also it’s a way that we can spark additional investment, by serving as a down payment to future mechanisms that will connect to this.”