What Else is Happening in Troy?
Plenty! Especially with the Vacant Properties Workgroup. A large, dedicated, capable and ambitious group of volunteers meets at TRIP offices on River Street with an overflowing agenda. Concerns about the deteriorating areas of Troy prompt a myriad of options being considered. They are directed at both the long term and immediate reversal of the forces that have brought about the present inner-city blight. Of immediate concern are the vacant buildings, those abandoned by former owners and those purchased from the city, not rehabilitated and still vacant. Gaining legal access to the buildings to evaluate their stabilization needs, using the Sherriff’s work party to clean out some of the buildings, and establishing a Habitat for Humanity-like store to remove architectural items from buildings slated for demolition are some of the options being considered by the group. A study of code enforcement practices and recommendations for improvement, with the possibility of the establishment of a Code Court, will be discussed with the city.
An updated inventory of what is abandoned, bank-owned, owned by the city of Troy or previously auctioned and not yet rehabbed will be created. A study of the current rehab plans (with some incentives for activity toward re-use) for previously auctioned
properties will be initiated.
Another important decision to be made by Troy is whether to pursue Land Banking. Recently authorized in New York State to give a select group of communities the ability to acquire, hold, sell or develop vacant properties within their boundaries. Land Banks have the ability to clear titles and forgive back taxes, expediting the process of bringing properties in New York back to market. This can be a very powerful tool for rehabilitation, but the Preservation League of New York State has concerns that it may be used for
wholesale demolition without consideration of the revitalization potential of historic buildings. It is fortunate that Mayor Rosamilia’s support for the efforts of the Workgroup is evident. The next Workgroup meeting will be on March 7th and I will be
there to add CDARPO’s support for their ambitious activities.