Economic Revitalization and Recovery
It is important we expand our economic development beyond downtown into all our neighborhoods. We must fight to ensure that we are not only growing our thriving downtown but all areas in the county and District 1. The growth must continue and expand, but it is important we find innovative solutions to problems that hinder certain areas of the district from attracting businesses.
I will promote continued investment in our residential areas and address blighted properties to attract and retain more local businesses. This will create new employment opportunities for our residents and help our local economy overall. Not only are these vacant properties unattractive, which deters home buyers and businesses from an area, but they are unsafe.
I will take a comprehensive approach to investing in blighted properties, including creating the opportunity to build community gardens. Building community gardens will not only beautify our environment but increase the health of our communities. Community gardens would be a source of fresh, seasonal food to our constituents who currently find themselves in the middle of a food desert and lack access to a grocery store. Access to fresh, healthy, affordable food is crucial for the health of a community and it must remain a priority. Community gardens will also work to improve air quality, contributing to lower rates of asthma. Youth asthma rates are particularly high in our district, exacerbated by difficulties in accessing healthcare. Green space is proven to improve mental health. The more clean fresh air we have, the healthier our communities can become. Programs in these gardens could not only teach kids skills to grow their own food and about nutritious food choices.
As Schenectady increasingly becomes a destination for the arts, entertainment, and waterfront activities, it is important to improve the walkability of all parts of our city. I plan to ensure street maintenance plans include all forms of traffic with a goal to make Schenectady more pedestrian, bike, and mobility-aid friendly. District 1 is home to a majority of the urbanized areas in our county, with these being areas with higher vehicle traffic, it is essential we add bike lanes and repair sidewalks to keep pedestrians safe.