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Library budget hike, spring clean-up on Neighborhood Association agenda

April 17, 2015

by Amal Assery

The neighborhood residents/ Amal Assery

The neighborhood residents/ Amal Assery

Albany Public Library Director Scott Jarzombek Thursday night encouraged neighborhood residents to support the 1.6 percent budget increase at the upcoming vote on May 19. Jarzombek addressed  members of the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association at its monthly meeting at the LaSalle School. The proposed budget will help to improve the library services in the neighborhood, support seven neighborhood branches, and the online elibrary.

“Your public library is an investment in your education, it is an investment in children’s education, and in the infrastructure of the city and technology in the city, 61% of our stuff are city residents,” Jarzombek said.

After Virginia Hammer, president of the neighborhood association asked if the increased funding would lengthen library hours, Jarzombek said the money would maintain current service levels.

“This is just to keep us where we want to be, but we are looking at our statistics and we see that we can do better,” Scott said.

The library offers the public free access to a large and diverse collection of books and DVDs, audio books and music CDs, ebooks, databases, free public computers and Wi- Fi access and mobile apps. Services are available to patrons of every age.

Next on the agenda Nina Ferguson from Capital Car Share talked about the new initiative launching this spring called iride iwalk idrive. This service is expected to help families and students in the neighborhood and will provide both transit and car sharing services.

The association also discussed the building on West Lawrence Street that burned on December 2, 2014 and housed the Refugees and Immigrant Support Services of Emmaus,

President of the RISSE, George Benson/ Amal Assery

President of the RISSE, George Benson/ Amal Assery

“This week the church received the insurance settlement, and they are going to start to maintain the building, and they will rebuild it as an education building,” said George Benson, president of RISSE.

The property is owned by St. Matthew’s Church and controlled by the regional conference in Syracuse which approved the proposal to rebuild the property for educational purposes.

“The church is very proud of the RISSE program, and considered it part of the church’s mission. They are committed to working with us to restore the program in that building,” said Benson.

The last topic on the agenda concerned residential parking permits. Lately, the Albany Medical Center Complex has had some issues involving neighborhood parking.   Some residents proposed that the Albany residential parking permit system should be expanded to include more areas.

“We are here today because we are trying to find a group of people to solve this problem,” said Bob Phaneuf, an association member and property owner on South Lake Avenue.

Specialists are expected to further address the issues and identify solutions at next month’s neighborhood meeting.

On Saturday, April 18 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. a neighborhood cleanup will kick off at Ridgefield Park at 316 Partridge St. -30-

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