Around the world our beaches are succumbing to climate change; protections are being stripped against logging and road building in the Tongass National Forest; and here in our own town similar insidious forces are working, apparently successfully, to destroy natural habitat and fill our bucolic landscape with sprawl. Is it not too late to turn back? Is anyone out there thinking of the Bethlehem we are leaving for our children? I am referring to the planned development at 65 Kenwood Avenue: land formally owned by the Kleinke family.
Amidst a climate catastrophe it seems that powerful individuals are able to bully bully our leaders into acquiescing to another shortsighted land grab in order to bang out architectural mediocrity that will degrade the character and soul of our community and pollute our earth forever. It is yet another example of how money is allowed to come before people.
Single home building has an immensely negative impact on the environment in a myriad of ways, and at this point, amidst a climate crisis, thinking adults should be considering alternatives. Also, as the climate changes further, inevitably disrupting agriculture in unpredictable ways, prudently, we should be saving our open land for food security, or planting forests as carbon sinks, or, heaven forbid, wildlife habitat. Who will speak for the animals?
If housing is the issue, before using costly resources and spewing carbon to start anew in pristine fields, wouldn’t it be more efficient, green and responsible for regional leadership to harness the initiative of developers and builders to restore every available abandoned building in Albany, Troy and Schenectady for habitation? You see, the housing is already there. Residential development, of the type we’ve seen at Monument Square in Troy, for example, and many other areas in the Tri-city region, solves the problem of degraded housing stock in our cities, while greatly mitigating the climate impacts of new construction. It would greatly enhance the quality of life in our cities, while allowing our small towns and rural areas to retain their natural charm, not to mention the positive aspects of protecting open space for the health of humans and wildlife.
If construction jobs are the issue, think how much work there would be! This initiative would generate jobs for a far wider swath of people than just the limited type employed in new construction, as it would be an opportunity for local businesses catering to a population moving to where housing already exists near business districts. If you build it they will come. It would mean a renaissance for our cities!
I implore our leaders and community to take charge of our future and reject the trend of letting money and power control the game. Do what is right, and that is to put people before monied interests. If we save open space and use the market to restore urban housing infrastructure, everybody wins.