Mayor’s Message – June

  July 21, 2016

With Spring coming to a close and Summer right around the corner, I wanted to send an update on activities over the last few months. Things continue to be busy, which is always a good thing.


As the temperatures rise over the next couple of months, anyone in need of assistance please do not hesitate to contact the Menands Police @ 463-1681 or call 911. What may seem like a bother to some is not to our first responders as the health and safety of our residents is a priority.

With schools closing soon, please be mindful of the increased number of kids playing outside, particularly near the parks, out riding their bikes or walking in the streets, and just having fun. This time of year there is an increased number of bicycles stolen. To reiterate Chief O’Brien’s message regarding vehicle break ins, please remember to keep your car doors and houses locked, as well as bicycles.

Be aware of SCAMS. There have been calls to Village residents claiming to be from the IRS, viruses in computers, lowering mortgages or credit card debt., etc. Around this time each year there have been people knocking on doors offering to do unsolicited work around the house. If it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t.

There is also an increase in motorcycles on the road now that the weather is nice. Too many times there have been accidents in our Village involving motorcycles and some have been fatal. We are hopeful for this trend to stop and that all who share the road are safe.

I have continued to participate in the quarterly meetings for Albany County municipal leaders. These meetings are a great opportunity to hear from the County Executive and other community leaders on issues we share and ways to come together for the benefit and safety of our residents. We have discussed hazard mitigation, needs of our seniors, the heroin epidemic that continues to rise in Albany County and elsewhere, and other topics of health and safety.

Together with various department heads, we have attended Albany County Emergency Managers training sessions. The last meeting focused on summer weather and storm preparedness and response. This included a presentation from Albany County’s Meteorologist, National Grid and the National Weather Service on how various types of weather radar and other equipment are used to predict and tract storms and the resources available should a need arise. We also toured a control center for National Grid, which included information of their response protocols and the handling of power outages.

I had an opportunity to take another tour of the Lofts at Albany International with members of the Menands Police and Fire Depts. This was mutually beneficial for both our departments and AI to see firsthand the layout of the building and have discussions on issues that could arise in an emergency situation and ways to reduce response times. The heads of our Police, Fire and Public Works departments are involved in the site plan review process of projects that are presented to our Building Dept. and given an opportunity to review and comment on submitted plans. The tour of the Lofts was another step in this process.

We are fortunate to have a good working relationship with NYSDOT to discuss topics on concern in the Village related to NYS roadways. We have met to discuss the continuation of the road diets along Broadway, which will include a crosswalk near Village One Apartments, and reducing the four lanes to three with a turning lane in the middle. This project is expected to be completed this summer. We also met to discuss the proposed road diet on Van Renss. Blvd. This will also entail reducing the four lanes to three, with a turning lane in the middle and wider shoulders for pedestrian and bicyclists safety. DOT will also reduce the speed limit to 45 mph once the project begins, which is expected in 2017. A public meeting is being planned for the end of this summer to discuss the VRB project. Once DOT has finalized their plans we will be contacted with a meeting date and a notice will be posted to inform residents who are interested in attending. I am appreciative of DOT’s willingness to hold this meeting to give firsthand information and answer questions directly.

We continue to meet with National Grid, who are also great community partners, to discuss additional lighting along VRB and Broadway. The increased lighting located in Menands on the North end of Broadway was completed last year and discussions will continue in coordination with DOT on the VRB project. I am very grateful for the relationships with outside agency’s that the Village has and their willingness to work closely with us on various projects.


The VRB water infrastructure project has been completed. We appreciate the efforts of our DPW and engineers, and patience of the residents during this process.

Plans for the 2016 paving are underway. Residents in areas to be paved this year will be notified of the schedule as it becomes available.

Upgrades to the Wards Pump Station have begun and expected to be completed soon. Also, the relining project of the main sewer trunk in the Village is underway and also expected to be completed over the next few months.

We have contracted with Chazen Co’s to look at the next section of infrastructure work needed. Focusing on the S. End of the Village, this is one of the larger undertakings and with help from Chazen we are exploring grant opportunities.


The Village is pleased to welcome RAD Soap Co. to Menands at 8 Wolfert Avenue. This family owned business was founded by Sue Kerber in her kitchen in Cohoes in 2009. Continuously expanding, RAD produces natural body care products, such as high antioxidant soaps and body creams in their Menands location. I had an opportunity to tour their facility and was very impressed with what they have accomplished. They are still reconfiguring space in the building to accommodate their growing needs including a contract with QVC. RAD Soap will soon be opening a retail store in Styvesant Plaza, which will be one of 20 stores nationwide. I wish RAD continued success and grateful that they chose Menands for their place of business.

The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, has proposed redevelopment of their 19.2 acre parcel, including a new 34,000 square foot building to expand the services that the Humane Society provides. Looking at other locations for expansion, the MHHS decided Menands was the place to be and are staying here. The new facility will be a great addition to the region that they service.

Bill Giering and I took a tour of 431 Broadway (former Two Guys) owned by Columbia Development Companies. They have refitted the space to accommodate 600 workers so far, both public and private, and are looking to expand with a 16,000 square foot addition at the east end of the building in the near future.\

The new Family Dollar store opened in January at 28 Broadway.

The Lofts at Albany International remain on schedule and should be completed later this year. Once finished there will be 143 new apartments available for lease.

The Dutch Village project continues and will offer 48 new apartments when completed. I look forward to welcoming new residents into the Village from both apartment complexes.

Bill Giering and I met with CDTA to hear about their plans to provide Bus Rapid Transit along Route 32 with stops in Menands. The BRT will provide transportation from Waterford to Albany with fewer stops for a faster commute. This will be in addition to the #22 bus that currently services Menands. With the increase in both workers and residents coming to Menands this will be a great asset. The BRT is expected to be on-line next year.

Our Spring Business Breakfast was held in May. We had another great turnout with new faces in attendance. In addition to my updates on Menands, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy gave an update on things happening in Albany County and Brad Shear, Executive Director of the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, gave a presentation on the services they provide and the expansion that is planned. The Business Breakfast is a great opportunity for the business community to come together and meet each other, while enjoying a delicious breakfast provided by Poppy’s Place. I was pleased to hear many compliments about the direction Menands is heading in and the positive improvements along Broadway.


The Youth Easter Party was held in March and well attended. The kids enjoyed the magician, treats and special visit from the Easter Bunny. Youth Director Brianna Coughlin and her counselors once again did a great job.

The Annual Joint Installation Dinner for the Menands Fire Co. and Auxiliary was held in April. Congratulations to all of the 2016 Officers.

Also in April, I was invited to attend a dinner for the Turkish Cultural Center and the Capital District Child Care Counsel Annual Meeting. Both organizations are located in Menands and provide wonderful services for our community.

Opening Day of Little League was held on April 23rd. Starting with pictures and a parade to the park, this annual tradition is very special to the kids. A very touching moment for me was during the singing of the National Anthem by Charlotte Boulet. As I looked to the outfield where the American Flag is located, I noticed a few kids playing on the playground. When they heard the Anthem begin they ran over near the flag and stood at attention during the song. I could not tell from the distance who the kids were or how old but was very impressed by their patriotism.

Il Faro Restaurant is hosting local artists. Menands resident and school teacher Pat Testo was the first featured artist, showcasing her artwork for the month of May. In June, Menands resident Chuck Smith will showcase his photographs. It is nice to support these and other talented artists.

Pay It Forward Together continues to support the Menands/Watervliet Communities. Most recently with a prom closet with donated prom attire.

The 2016 Summer Concert Series will begin on July 12th. The concerts are always a good time to get together with neighbors while enjoying awesome music.

Have a safe and happy summer.

Until next time,
Mayor Meg