FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Amsterdam, NY August 9 2022 - Amsterdam Mayor, Mike Cinquanti campaigned for the office three years ago by walking through every neighborhood in the city, knocking on doors and having conversations with the folks who opened them. “I had so many great discussions with so many great people and the experience confirmed for me that our community is filled with folks who take pride in their homes, their neighborhoods and their City.” Even in the most downtrodden areas of our municipality, Cinquanti says there are people, who are not willing to surrender their houses or their street to crime or blight. They want to fight back and the mayor is hoping the City’s new Improve Our Neighborhoods Initiative will provide a mechanism residents can use to do so.
The City's first "Improve our Neighborhoods Initiative" conversation will take place in the Park Hill neighborhood on Thursday, August 18, 2022, at 6:00pm in the IDDP Segunda Sinagoga Church parking lot located at the corner of Vanderveer St. and 2nd Ave. “We’re focusing on Vanderveer, Milton, Grand and Park Streets and all the side streets connecting them. This section of Park Hill has certainly seen better days,” said the mayor but that doesn’t mean the problems causing its decline are untreatable or that we can’t work together to make things better for the people who now live there.”
This was something Cinquanti wanted to start during his first year in office but COVID changed that schedule. This initiative, which is patterned after similar and successful efforts from other communities, is designed to get key city, county and community service officials together with residents of a specific neighborhood to have a targeted conversation. Residents are given the opportunity to discuss crime, blight, housing, street and infrastructure concerns, etc. and help prioritize the three or four biggest reasons the quality of life in their neighborhood is declining. The panel responds by making the residents aware of the tools and programs the city, county and local social service organizations have to combat those concerns. The City then uses what they learn from the conversation and develops an action plan for the neighborhood, which focuses on the priorities residents identify.
“Instead of asking residents to call, message, e-mail or make visits to different places to describe and seek assistance for their concerns, we’re coming to them, in their backyard.” But instead of just listening, said Cinquanti, the panel will have the opportunity to explain the things residents can do themselves to work more effectively not just with City and Social Service agencies but also with each other in a joint effort to improve quality of life conditions in their neighborhood.” Residents will also have the opportunity to speak one-on-one with individual panel members after the group discussion about individual or family issues for which they need assistance, such as mental health, substance abuse, employment, hunger etc.
Representatives from the Amsterdam Police Department, the Amsterdam City Codes Department, the City’s Marketing, Tourism & Recreation Department along with the Mayor and the Alderperson representing the targeted Ward will take part in the panel as will staff from Montgomery County’s Department of Social Services, a County Legislator, Montgomery County Office for the Aging, Creative Connections Clubhouse, Amen Place Food Pantry, and Centro Civico/IBERO. Other organizations have been invited as well but have not yet confirmed they can attend the first session on the 18th.
Mayor Cinquanti explained that the initial action plans for the neighborhood will be distributed to residents who attended the meeting and implemented as quickly as possible. We will work the plan, monitor the results, make adjustments to the format as needed and move onto the next neighborhood.” Sections of each Ward of the City have been identified as priorities for this program, but eventually, Cinquanti’s goal is that every neighborhood in Amsterdam gets visited and residents in each of them become part of their own ongoing Improve Our Neighborhoods committees.