Mailbag: Urban renewal is wrong priority

Mailbag: Urban renewal is wrong priority

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What urban renewal really is, is gentrification, a lovely-sounding word for spending taxpayers' money to spiff up areas so that rents rise and working class people are forced to leave their businesses and homes and move elsewhere. Albany's urban renewal, CARA (Central Albany Revitalization Agency), is planning on spending about $24 million (including consultant's fee) on doing God knows what to Albany's waterfront, such as paving it over and putting in a fountain.

Let me remind you that the Albany Senior Center is on the waterfront. It is run by the city of Albany, and the city bigwigs also run CARA. The Senior Center apparently does not have adequate money to employ enough cleaning staff to keep the floors clean in the multipurpose area, where the exercise classes are held. The floors are sticky with the same dried food bits for weeks. Yet CARA has millions of dollars to gentrify the waterfront with whatever scheme they have in mind. This just is not right.

Oh, regarding the Jan. 11th D-H article about ARA buying the old hotel in downtown Albany, ARA is the advisory board for CARA. Both ARA (Albany Revitalization Agency) and CARA are run by the mayor and council. Using the term ARA is a smokescreen to distract people from the hated (by some) acronym CARA. ARA and CARA know a lot of people are sick of CARA, which has been skimming property tax money since 2001, with no end in sight.

Mary Brock

Albany

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