The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Monday, May 22, 2006


The recent removal of the Cinema Arts marquee stirred the public to action. Many (we'll call them preservationists) were disturbed that an historical building (the CA), in an historical section of Troy, was unnecessarily altered without following the proper procedures.

The outcry caused Mayor Harry to hold a meeting. Both the administration and the preservasionists were able to voice their concerns on a variety issue. Then, Mayor Harry threw down a challenge. He challenged someone to buy and rehabilitate a property on 8th and Hoosick. The property would be auctioned off for $1.00.

It was a cynical move and not a challenge at all. It was a trap and far too many people fell for it.

We have driven by the property numerous times. It is, in a word, a dump. A shell. Perhaps there's a chance that the inside is in better condition than the outside, but that seems doubtful. Who in their right mind will buy the place and rehab it? Rehabing that building would be rehabilitation in name only. It does need to come down.

The challenge was a cheap, bush-league shot aimed to humiliate the preservationists, many whom the Mayor has called liars. The challenge detracts from the real issues of balancing preservation with new construction. Troy does have fine building and many of them would be worthwhile to rehab. The 8th and Hoosick property isn't one of them.

Harry should start spending the money earmarked for preservation. None of it has been spent (along with the money for paving etc). He's more than likely sitting on the cash until next year, an election year.

The preservationists must realize two things: not every building can or should be saved. They must also realize that people who purchase property should have a right to do with that property what they will.

It's a worthwhile debate cheapened by Harry's infantile challenge. The challenge was a cheap, bush-league stunt designed to make concerned citizens look like failures when the property in question is ultimately demolished.

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