When David Grandeau finally left office as City Manager in 1995, Troy was in dire straits.
Our crime rate was terrible, and the city looked like a virtual ghost town.
Most of the store fronts of the once thriving downtown were empty.
Bars were even beginning to fail.
You may not realize how bad that is.
When times get rough the two groups that see a rise in attendance are churches and bars.
Once bars start failing, times are beyond rough.
When Mark Pattison took over, he clearly had his work cut out for him.
Although he was criticized often by the media, it was because he wouldn’t talk to them.
All he was there for was the city, not the publicity.
After a lot of hard work, tough decisions, and help from people that wanted to see Troy prosper again, we started to rise again.
Thanks to the efforts of many people since then, including Pattison, Hedley, Tutunjian, Rosamilia (the current mayor), Frank LaPosta, Carmella Mantello, Mike Picarill0 (aka “Pickles”), James Gordon, Kevin McGrath, Mark McGrath, Bill Miller (RIP), Vito Ciccarelli, Billie-Jean Greene, Peggy Kownack, Aliz Koletas, Rev. Willie, the staff of the Downtown Troy Business Improvement District, and numerous others, Troy has continued to grow.
Troy still has a long way to go.
We’re looking great again, but we are far from the Jewel Of The Hudson that we used to be.
People at one point flocked to Troy for shopping, music, horse races, professional baseball, and horse racing.
While it’s unlikely that we’ll ever achieve quite that same line-up of activities, we can still grow in unique ways.
One of our biggest problems is that we consider Troy to be a small city.
It’s easy to understand why.
We have a close proximity to a few cities that are better known and much larger.
Being so close to places like New York City and Boston easily make us feel smaller.
We have to get over that.
Troy is actually bigger than many states’ largest cities.
Despite the fact that we aren’t close to NY’s biggest.
Albany and Schenectady are also big cities.
Together we create an impressive Metropolitan region.
Once we see that, we can truly appreciate our potential, and finally be ready to grow.
Our misleading self-image aside, there’s more that I’d like to see happen for Troy.
My biggest hope is that we can redraw the patrol zones for the Troy Police Department and add more officers.
We’ve been having a crushing time, as of late, with criminal activity.
The current plan just isn’t working.
The North Lansingburgh Neighborhood Watch has been telling every city official that they can about the changes that need to be made.
Regardless of how strong a voice that group has, they only represent a fraction of the total population.
If you aren’t a fan of the crime, you should be letting the City Council know.
They represent you, and if you aren’t telling them what you want, they can’t help.
Personally, I hope that they make the necessary changes.
I’d love to be able to let my child go out and play without having to worry about her safety every second.
The construction of Bomber’s Troy on Federal and King, as well as the development of the building next to it, already play into my next hope.
Troy’s social scene is still growing.
Troy used to have an amazing social scene.
The streets and sidewalks used to be packed all week long, not just during special occasions.
I love walking around Downtown and appreciating the business and the architecture.
We do have a fantastic downtown, and it’s only getting better.
The best part is that the change is across the board.
We have small cozy and classy establishments (like the Charles F Lucas Confectionery & Wine Bar), laid back yet upscale (like Daisy Bakers), right down to the average joe type of place (The Brown Bag and Muddaddy Flats).
Downtown Troy is a great place to go wandering on the weekends.
You can easily do it multiple weekends in a row and not do the same thing twice.
There are still open store fronts that need filling.
I’m confident that they will become occupied, increasing the diversity.
My biggest hope is that more of us start to appreciate it and go downtown more often, supporting local businesses, and enriching our city.
We need more live music again.
I miss all of the shows at Revolution Hall.
Or catching local groups at Positively Fourth St (Later as P4).
Heck, I remember when I was 20, and the Holiday Inn was still on 6th where the RPI student housing is now.
The bar there was where I saw Ernie Williams and the Wildcats for the first time.
It left a mark on me.
That’s when I first started to appreciate the musical venues in Troy.
So, I reiterate, we need more live music again.
Somebody needs to make this happen.
And with the decline in Albany’s nightlife, now is the time to do it
Back when I used to work the door at a local bar I had several patrons that would take the bus to come join us.
Some people would snicker at the thought of these patrons not having a car or a ride.
What I knew, that they didn’t, was that several did have cars.
They were drinking responsibly.
Unfortunately, if they stayed after midnight they needed to take a cab home, or find someone to drive them.
Considering the amount of people we have living in the Capitol Region, we should have a much better transit system.
Sure, they’ve broken down some existing runs into multiple parts to make sure they run on time.
BUT, that makes using public transportation even more expensive because that’s more buses that riders have to pay for.
Not to mention the fact that CDTA has cut a number of runs that made transit to outlying areas easier.
We need public transportation that covers all of the region and does it 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We do have enough businesses and places of work open around the clock to justify such a change.
As well as the high probability that if transportation were more readily available, more businesses would increase their open hours to accommodate extra traffic.
I also think that a rail system is something our area would greatly benefit from.
Something that doesn’t just cover Albany, Troy, and Schenectady, but extends to Saratoga, Mechanicville, Clifton Park, and even Lake George.
Making it that much easier to travel quickly would improve business throughout the region.
Lastly (for now), what I’d really love to see for Troy is a new home for City Hall.
Someplace that’s uniquely Troy, and stands apart from the surrounding edifices.
Someplace where our council can share offices, our various departments can work together, where our Mayor has easy access to everyone that he/she needs to have access to, with room for a large enough council chamber to be inviting enough for citizens to come and join in the running of their local government.
It would also be great to have an active and eager chamber of commerce there to bolster Troy’s PR.
We live in a great city, we should let everyone know about it.