SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — The Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation (DSIC) hosted a festive celebration of the opening of the much-anticipated Jay Square, a green space placemaking initiative, providing much needed public seating and accessibility in a high pedestrian area. This lot located on Jay Street across from City Hall has been vacant since 2015, and instead of closing it up with another building, the community choose to leave it open and create space for all to enjoy.
On hand was Mayor Gary McCarthy who was quoted as saying; “After the tragic Jay Street Fire in March of 2015, our community has united to transform this long-vacant site into Jay Square, a vibrant green space that now graces the heart of Jay Street, right in front of City Hall. Jay Square will now offer a welcoming community space for people to gather and connect. We extend our gratitude to our dedicated partners, whose efforts have made this inspiring project a reality.”
Joining us for the ribbon cutting was David Hogenkamp, Executive Director of Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority who said, “Jay Square adds to our creative placemaking efforts with the new space across from City Hall. Metroplex is pleased to work with DSIC and City of Schenectady to build this unique outdoor space for people who live, work, or play in Schenectady to enjoy”.
Carney McGuire, Interim Executive Director of the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp (DSIC), said, “Today we celebrated the opening of new green space named Jay Square in downtown Schenectady. Placemaking is a buzz word worth paying attention to with Jay Square being a wonderful example of prioritizing people over infrastructure. While walking past after the event, I was excited to see that the community was already making use of the space!”
In addition to seating, Jay Square features a Percussion Playground funded as part of a statewide Downtown Revitalization Initiative award in the City of Schenectady. The DRI award is being administered by NYS Homes and Community Renewal.
The Jay Square project is the result of months of planning, collaboration, and dedication of the following: Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation, Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority, The City of Schenectady, The Schenectady Foundation, The Carlilian Foundation, The Neil and Jane Golub Foundation, AARP Community Challenge, TW&A/Construction Management, and LAnd Art. Special thanks were given to the SEAT Center and mural artist Charlotte Mack of Create Community Studios. The celebration also featured live music by Doc Horton and the Jay Street Band.
The ribbon cutting included an unveiling of the colorful wayfinding sculpture by artist Colin Christian, an internationally recognized and acclaimed artist. Born in London, living in Florida for 30 years and now a resident of Schenectady, Colin is a sculptor who can create anything he can imagine.
Jay Square is destined to become a place for gathering, celebrating, creating, and enjoying outdoor space in the heart of the City of Schenectady. We look forward to all the different ways our community will utilize this space.