enjoyed reading Mayor Tutunjian’s thin-skinned response [Letters,
Aug. 9] to the article on his term as Troy’s mayor [“Give
’em Heck, Harry,” Aug. 2]. I would like to clear up a few
misstatements by the mayor.
The current Congress-Ferry Street plan involving RPI, Rensselaer
County, Troy Housing Authority, the City of Troy and a selected
developer began under the previous administration. Harry refers
to an earlier HOPE VI application by the Troy Housing Authority
when HOPE VI funding was the only game in town. HOPE VI was
a new departure to transform public housing and involve private
investment for an integrated approach. When federal funding
was not awarded for HOPE VI, new partners came to the table
and devised a strategy combining public and private investment.
HOPE VI had public housing units in a mixed-use setting; as
does the current plan touted by Tutunjian. His administration
did not even apply for TEA-21 transportation funds in 2006.
While Tutunjian claims that he is continuing the planning
process for a South Troy industrial road, the City’s Web site
informs viewers that preliminary design approval was due in
August 2003. The road has been in planning for more than 25
years. Tutunjian also claims that he is not convinced that
a strict industrial road is what is needed for South Troy.
The road proposed by the previous administration is not a
strict industrial road. An industrial road was planned for
the southern end (where brownfield concerns limit the possibilities
for redevelopment of the land), but further north a street
similar to a city street was planned. Had Tutunjian attended
all of the charettes as a council member, he might have been
inspired to pursue construction of this road which is designed
to remove heavy truck and commercial traffic from the very
neighborhoods he claims he is trying to revitalize.
He claims the city refused to collect taxes on the King Fuels
site. I don’t know how a city can refuse to collect taxes;
I do know that a property owner can refuse to pay them. The
previous administration was negotiating with Niagara Mohawk
to acquire the site. Sen. Bruno was actively involved in seeking
$2 million in state funding and did not want the city to foreclose.
The city now owns the King Fuels site, but the important question
is what is now happening there.
The credit for the ongoing redevelopment of downtown really
belongs to the merchants and property owners.
Yes, the people of Troy have great memories. They will remember
that the city under Tutunjian lost over $1 million in HUD
funds, lost $250,000 in funds for Prospect Park, never collected
$1 million in past due City of Rensselaer water bills, never
enacted a comprehensive rezoning to protect neighborhoods
from inappropriate land use, never declared a snow emergency
even when surrounding municipalities were doing so, destroyed
private property to eliminate an unwanted (although highly
successful) tax-paying business, ticketed an outspoken neighborhood
advocate for a nonexistent code violation. They will remember
that through planning, the previous administration secured
the $5 million funding for the upgrade of the signalization
system that Harry is now promoting.
Tutunjian does not give credit to the people of Troy. They
know that careful long range planning will result in a better
Troy. Yes, much has changed under the Tutunjian administration—no
planning, no leveraging of funds, no partnerships with the
major business, educational and health care players in Troy;
instead a let’s-hope-for-the-best, laissez-faire approach
to the future of Troy.
violent crime increasing in Troy by 25 percent at the same
time crime rates in other cities of the area are declining,
I’m surprised when Harry Tutunjian categorizes his inability
to curb crime as a “misstep.” I’m also troubled by his dismissive
comments about the increase in crime and his response to those
who don’t like him as “bothersome.” Both comments reflect
the attitude of arrogance in his administration, aptly presented
in your article. Similarly, his facts about my involvement
in the Lower Congress Street Project are just plain wrong.
He refers to the THA Hope VI application for $35 million from
the Federal government but omits that the Lower Congress Street
Project was initiated in 2003 under the direction of the Office
of Deputy Mayor. In fact, we were ready to advertise for a
preferred developer for the project but were stymied by then
Council President Tutunjian and his colleagues.
The truth is verifiable. I spearheaded the development of
the South Troy Road Project, the South Troy Working Waterfront
Project, the King Fuel Site Redevelopment (in conjunction
with Sen. Bruno’s office), the Brownfield Redevelopment Grant
and many other economic development projects Mr. Tutunjian
now claims as his own. He is correct when he says that many
of the current development projects in Troy are the result
of private investment not government involvement. However,
Troy is better today because we had the vision to reduce crime
and provide the building blocks for today’s economic progress.
J. Conroy, Candidate for Mayor, Troy
week’s cover photo of Edward Schwarzschild was incorrectly
attributed. The photograph was taken by Leif Zurmuhlen.
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