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Albany Library Garden Room renamed for mayor

Albany Library Garden Room renamed for mayor

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Years ago, former Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa was trying to make a pitch to former resident Doris Scharpf to fund the carousel.

“I took her on a tour. She had never seen the expo because she only went to church and the bank so I took her to the Talking Water Gardens and the carousel and she asked if she could see the library,” Konopa said Wednesday night.

The pair sat in the parking lot, looking at the building. Sharpf, Konopa said, didn’t like the windows and didn’t like the paint.

“She asked if she could give me $1 million to change it and $1 million for books and I said yes,” Konopa said. “She didn’t like her name on things.”

But on Wednesday, it was Konopa who saw her name installed in the library.

The board officially voted to rename the Garden Room at the Albany Public Library to the Sharon Konopa Garden Room in honor of the former mayor.

Konopa, who served as the city’s first female mayor for the last 12 years, lost reelection to Alex Johnson II in November after a total of 24 years of public service.

In December, several members of city staff came forward to honor Konopa including Parks and Recreation Director Kim Lyddane who honored Konopa with a monogrammed VIP seat for the city’s summer festivals. But it was Library Director Eric Ikenouye’s announcement that sparked tears from Konopa when he announced his intention to rename the Garden Room.

On Wednesday, Konopa reiterated her appreciation of the honor saying, “I’m very appreciative of the acknowledgement of my service ... it is an honor to have the Garden Room named after me and I know I’ll always be thinking about Doris Sharpf.

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