Neighborhood can capitalize on renewal
The following is an op-ed piece published in Saturday’s TU, written by Habitat’s very own volunteer, Chris Walsh. Thanks Chris!!
On June 8, Capital District Habitat for Humanity broke ground on construction of 16 low-income, owner-occupied houses on Alexander and Delaware streets in Albany’s South End (“That ‘Albany’ look rising again,” June 9).
No block in the city is more emblematic of the undermining effects of abandoned, decaying properties on a neighborhood than this stretch of Alexander, the problems of which have been well documented in this newspaper.
Safe, affordable, owner-occupied housing forms the foundation of an economically vibrant, sustainable community. Established residents have a greater sense of belonging to a neighborhood and help to generate a shared sense of responsibility, lending stability and commitment to a re-emerging neighborhood.
The Alexander Street effort has the potential to create a lasting impact on not only future homeowners and residents of the South End, but, hopefully, as a demonstration of the importance of public investment as a basis for securing broader community support. Capitalizing on a grant from New York State Homes and Community Renewal, this project has garnered significant private sponsorship.
When we reclaim derelict inner-city lots and rebuild the core of our city, we grow the tax base and more fully utilize existing infrastructure. Particularly in this austere fiscal climate, it is essential we continue to recognize the value of urban revitalization as an investment in the future and a catalyst for economic growth.