Mayor’s Message – January

  February 21, 2016

Things have been pretty busy since my last message. This is always a wonderful time of year where the community comes together to support those in need. Infrastructure projects have continued and economic development agendas are ongoing.

The Village Halloween Party was held in October with the traditional parade to the park and the kids dressed up in their favorite costumes. Once at the park, there were food, beverages and fun activities for everyone to enjoy. Thank you to Brianna and her counselors for providing a festive afternoon. Thank you also to the MFD, MPD and DPW for their participation and to Il Faro Restaurant, Esposito’s and Poppy’s Place for their contributions.

Also in October I was invited by the owners of Il Faro to guest bartend at their new restaurant in Menands. Working alongside my son Jim, it was great to be back behind the bar while supporting the Derek Murphy Fund. The community came out as they always do to support Derek and welcome owners Chris and Jess to the neighborhood. Il Faro donated 10% of the sales for that day and donation buckets were placed at the bar. It was a lot of fun for a great cause.

Fill the Mayflower Food Drive, held in November, had record breaking donations this year. For 8 years, Paul DeDominicis has organized this event, receiving help from the community, Menands Cares and Pay It Forward Together with delivering flyers and picking up the food donations. This year over 50 boxes of food were collected and distributed to local food pantries in time for Thanksgiving. This annual event is a great way for the community to help those less fortunate. Thank you to Paul and all of his helpers for making this event a continued success.

The Senior Holiday Party was held on December 5th. It is always a pleasure to attend this party and have an opportunity to talk with the seniors while enjoying a wonderful meal provided by the MFC. This event also supports the food pantry at Sacred Heart Church and once again a generous donation was made to the pantry. Thank you to Senior President Diane Leonard and all who organized this year’s party.

The Village Youth Holiday Party had a special twist this year. Youth Director Brianna Coughlin teamed up with Pay It Forward Together to supply hats and mittens to local shelters. Families were asked to bring hats and mittens to the party and then wrapped them for those in need. There were also cookies to decorate (and eat), ornament decorating and a special visit from Santa. What a great opportunity to show the kids that giving back can also be fun.

Thank you to the DPW for decorating the trees in front of Village Hall and on the island and for hanging the holiday banners and kissing balls along Broadway. Thank you also to Village Gardener Dianne MacFarland for decorating the pots with winter displays. I have received several compliments from folks, not only in Menands but also neighboring communities, on the displays along Broadway and that is all thanks to the hard work of Dianne and the DPW, season after season.

I have had several meetings over the past couple of months with engineers to discuss current and future infrastructure projects. The water project along Van Renns. Blvd. and surrounding streets is almost complete. We are hoping that in the next few months everything will be finished.

Notices have gone out for proposals for relining the main sewer line near Simmons Lane. Work is expected to begin in the spring. A contract was awarded for the rehabilitation of the Wards Pump Station. This project should also begin over the next few months.

The paving project that began over the summer in the S. End of the Village is finished. Additional streets will be paved in the spring and summer, along with some additional infrastructure work.

Our semi-annual Business Breakfast was held in October. This is a great opportunity to connect with the business folks in Menands and give updates on what is happening in the Village. Our guest speaker was Joe Nicolla, developer of the former Two Guys building and other great projects around the Capital District. Joe’s comments were very much appreciated as he spoke of never thinking about developing in Menands but after some encouragement from our Economic Development Director, Bill Giering to take a tour of the Village, he now says “Why Not Menands!” We are hopeful for future projects by Joe and others who see the potential with what we have to offer.

I had an opportunity to tour The Lofts at Albany International. The transformation of the building is amazing. Eight units are currently available and others will be in place next year. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Dutch Village IV is moving ahead of schedule due to the warm weather. This is a huge undertaking but will be great when it is finished. Family Dollar is running a little behind schedule and is expected to open on January 7th. We look forward to both grand openings.

Renovations at 431 Broadway (The former Two Guys building) continues. Presently two sections of the building are occupied. A hospital linen supply operation employs about 30 people and provides fresh linens to local hospitals. The second section will see 600 NYS and Xerox employees by early next year. There are currently 400 people working in the building. Talks are underway for occupancy of the third and final section.

There are never enough thanks for the job that our public safety workers do the protect our Village. The MPD, MFD and DPW go over and above their normal duties and we are fortunate to have such dedication. Unfortunately, November and early December were especially difficult for our first responders and I am very grateful for their professionalism. Our thoughts and prayers remain with those displaced by the fire and also the victims and their families of the auto accidents. Words cannot express how deeply sorry we are to those affected by such tragedy.

The new fire truck was delivered in November. Chief Franklin and his department received training and the new truck is now in service.

When possible please park your vehicles in your driveways instead of on the street to allow easier access for our emergency vehicles to maneuver our streets. This is especially important in the winter so there is enough room for the plow and salt trucks to get through.

Nate & Quinn Mitchell were featured on the Rachel Ray Show as part of her “Giving Tuesday” segment for their acts of kindness in giving up birthday gifts this year to make sandwiches for the local shelters.

PFC Ethan Martinez was able to come home for a week, surprising his brother Cameron before deploying to Kuwait. Please keep Ethan and all members of our armed forces in your thoughts and prayers.

On behalf of the Village Board, I wish you and your families a safe and happy holiday season.

Until next time,
Mayor Meg