Present: Ray Gillen, Brad Lewis, Neil Golub, Bob Wall, Bill Chapman, Bob Mantello, Janet Hutchison, Sharon Jordan, Ed Capovani and Karen Zalewski-Wildzunas
Absent: John Mallozzi
Others: Jayme Lahut, Jim Callander, David Hogenkamp and audience of 6
Call to Order: Mr. Gillen called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.
1. Approval of Minutes: Mr. Wall moved adoption of the December 2013 meeting minutes, seconded by Mrs. Zalewski-Wildzunas and approved.
2. Treasurer’s Report: Mr. Wall reviewed the Treasurer’s Report for the period ending December 31, 2013, which was distributed prior to the meeting. He noted that sales tax receipts were below the budgeted amount, and operating expenses were well under budget. Predevelopment expenses were tracking above budget due to the extensive queue of projects developing during the year. Cash on hand was $2.17 million. Following brief discussion, Mrs. Jordan moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report; seconded by Mr. Golub, and approved.
3. Purchase 722 Eastern Avenue: Resolution 872-14 — SEQRA/ No Significant Effect on the Environment
Resolution 872-14 designated the project as an Unlisted Action pursuant to SEQRA with no significant effect on the environment. The action involved purchasing the three-story multi-family building at 722 Eastern Avenue from the current owner. Mrs. Jordan moved Resolution 872-14; seconded by Mr. Golub and approved.
4. Purchase 722 Eastern Avenue: Resolution 873-14 — Adopt General Project Plan
Resolution 873-14 authorized the purchase of the three-story multi-family building at 722 Eastern Avenue for the equivalent of current delinquent real property taxes, which is approximately $5,000, and allocates $7,500 for closing costs, insurance, securing the property and other project-related expenses. Metroplex plans to demolish the building and divest the vacant land to the Schenectady Land Bank for resale and reuse. Ms. Jordan moved Resolution 873-14; seconded by Mr. Lewis. After discussion, Resolution 873-14 was approved.
5. Purchase 803 Eastern Avenue: Resolution 874-14 — SEQRA/ No Significant Effect on the Environment
Resolution 874-14 designated the project as an Unlisted Action pursuant to SEQRA with no significant effect on the environment. Ms. Jordan moved Resolution 874-14; seconded by Mr. Mantello and approved.
6. Purchase 803 Eastern Avenue: Resolution 875-14 — Adopt General Project Plan
Resolution 875-14 authorized buying 803 Eastern Avenue, the former Kilgore’s Tavern, for about $10,000, which includes a payment of $5,000 to American Tax Funding to purchase a lien and about $5,000 for outstanding taxes. Metroplex plans to demolish the building and divest the vacant land to the Schenectady Land Bank for resale and reuse. Ms. Jordan moved Resolution 875-14; seconded by Mrs. Zalewski-Wildzunas. Following discussion, Resolution 875-14 was approved.
7. Arket Electric Façade Project: Resolution 876-14 —Adopt the General Project Plan
The project involved updating the appearance of the two commercial properties owned and operated by Arket Electric Inc. at 827-831 Eastern Avenue with new siding, painting, signage, fencing, green space and lighting. The buildings are visible along the Eastern Avenue commercial corridor, a focus area for the Schenectady Land Bank. Resolution 876-14 allotted $60,000 towards façade improvements matched by $20,000 investment from the owner. Mrs. Zalewski-Wildzunas moved Resolution 876-14; seconded by Mr. Golub. Following discussion about supporting commercial businesses on Eastern Avenue as a means of stabilizing the neighborhood, Resolution 876-14 was approved.
8. 868 Eastern Avenue: Resolution 877-14 — Adopt the General Project Plan
Resolution 877-14 authorized allocating $3,000 to purchase tax liens for a tax-delinquent, vacant commercial building at 868 Eastern Avenue plus $3,500 for other project-related expenses. Metroplex has reached agreement with ATF to buy its tax liens on the former Latimer’s Tavern for $3,000. This action clears the way for the City to add the property to its foreclosure process and for the demolition of the structure. Mr. Golub moved Resolution 877-14; seconded by Mrs. Zalewski-Wildzunas and approved.
9. Downtown Parking Project: Resolution 878-14 — Authorization to Amend the State Assistance Contract (NYS DEC Environmental Restoration Program)
NYS DEC is encouraging Metroplex and the City to seek additional DEC funds by extending the environmental investigation beyond the boundaries of the Broadway South Lot. The new area abuts the parking lot that was cleaned up a few months ago. Resolution 878-14 authorized an amendment to the State Assistance Contract (SAC) to increase the scope of work to cover this next parcel. Mrs. Zalewski-Wildzunas moved Resolution 878-14; seconded by Ms. Jordan and approved.
Bob Harvey representing Schenectady United Neighborhoods and the Eastern Avenue Neighborhood Association spoke in support of the activities that Metroplex and the Schenectady Land Bank propose for Eastern Avenue.
Robert Hoffman, chairman of the Schenectady Land Bank thanked the Metroplex Board for partnering with the Land Bank on the Eastern Avenue neighborhood initiative.
Dr. Bernard McEvoy, Schenectady resident, spoke in favor of greater accessibility to Vale Park and Vale Cemetery from the Eastern Avenue neighborhood.
Diane Hart, Niskayuna resident, asked that Metroplex consider supporting improvements to slow traffic and improve pedestrian safety along Nott Street’s Co-Op Plaza in Niskayuna.
Board Comment: None
Adjournment: Mrs. Zalewski-Wildzunas moved to adjourn, seconded by Mr. Lewis. The meeting was adjourned at 6:45 p.m.