County Report Highlights Opportunities Lost in the City of Amsterdam

From Mohawk Valley Compass, County-sponsored report identifies seven opportunities in Amsterdam area :

A hotel and sports arena complex in the Town of Florida, renovating the old FGI building for apartments and business start-ups, as well as linking local agriculture to area schools and restaurants, are just a few of the ideas envisioned in the Amsterdam Area-Wide Opportunity Analysis.

Here is a summary of the seven areas outlined in the report:
3.Upper falls historic mill district – catalyzing a creative and urban live/work district

  • Re-purpose FGI building as a catalytic redevelopment project with loft apartments and mixed-use, incubator and makerspace.

So let’s ask ourselves how this report can be even considered as viable when the city turned its back on the repurposing of the Chalmers Building when it was almost the same catalytic project featuring lofts and mixed use.
Let’s remind ourselves that the opportunity for precisely such a project was deemed wholly implausible in our fair city much to the delight of the naysayers, the demolitionists and the demagogues who take ultimate delight in tearing things down and stopping progress lest it upset their worldview of the city as nothing but a failure, destined to fail forever forward. And they embrace their role in its demise dearly.
I can assure you that the anti-Chalmers voices will chime in on how this nothing like Chalmers even though the concept is for all intents and purposes equivalent. The difference here is that this is coming from “the County” which, according to our esteemed pundit and political class, renders any development project inviolate and sacred.
Don’t forget that the Chalmers opponents put the city back about 8 years (2008 or so) from projects such as these from becoming a reality, choosing instead to chill any developers from considering working with the city on repurposing its buildings and rebuilding a residential core. That is why you see such action in residential development in the city — precisely zero!
If you want to know why your taxes are so high and your house values don’t appreciate (euphemism for losing value) , you just need to revisit the lost opportunity with Chalmers.
Here is what I wrote in may 2008 about Chalmers:

I talked to a friend who had also seen the presentation and who also took a walk through the Chalmers site.
He was wildly enthused at the prospect of redeveloping Chalmers into high end apartments. But I had my doubts although I kept alive a small spark of hope that this would engage and mobilize some support. After reading today’s editorial titled “Knock Chalmers down” and finding another article by Michael Lazarou called “Beware of Men in Space Suits” which also appeared in the Recorder, I see my cynicism and pessimism paid off . I think it’s a matter of physics that any issue that I would support and embrace, the Recorder editorializes against it. So here we go again.

So maybe the County economic developers should just scratch item #3 from their list as they seem to forget the mindset and character of the city they are dealing with.  This city does not want to change, to proceed with optimism or to embrace forward looking endeavours– it wants to make sure it stays rooted to where it is.

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