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Amsterdam must make revitalizing downtown top priority

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Sometimes, waiting for Amsterdam’s downtown to revive feels like what Estragon and Vladimir must have felt in Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” The only difference is that Godot never showed up, while there is still hope that Amsterdam’s downtown can come back, if its revitalization is made the city’s top priority as it should be. Retired Gloversville Judge Vincent Desantis writes in his book, “Toward Civic Integrity, Re-establishing the Micropolis,” that “An attractive, viable central ...

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November 17, 2013
10:02 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

To help aid economic development, a Zoning Update Committee was formed by Mayor Thane in 2010. One of the goals of that committee was to increase the area of the downtown core and ease zoning restrictions to attract new business. The downtown core was increased to include a large part of Amsterdam's south side along the Mohawk River and and on the north side it spread the downtown core to the north, east and west. As a member of that committee, I can attest that the year long process of refining the updates with Montgomery County Planning was tedious but well thought out. A series of public meetings were held but the update was never presented to the Common Council for approval. Some say it is because of the political influence of St Mary's Hospital, a corporate conglomerate in Amsterdam, located in a historic district, that does not want to be held to any restrictions when increasing its presence in the area. The Mayor tells me that Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis has been holding the document for three years in order to do legal refinements, which is strange seeing that he was also part of the update committee. Is he holding the document hostage to negotiate another increase in his salary? Amsterdam's executive government gives much lip service to economic development but in theory they are as obstructionist as the outgoing Common Council.

Gerald J. Skrocki