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Downtown Schenectady Master Plan — V: Alternative Futures

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[This information is from pp. 77-79 of the Downtown Schenectady Master Plan prepared by Hunter Interests, Inc. in 1999, and is reproduced with their permission. It is in the Schenectady Collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at Schdy R 711 DOWf.]

This report summarizes the process used to derive the Downtown Schenectady Master Plan, as well as the plan itself An important aspect of the work process was consideration of several alternative futures for the downtown area. Planners and designers from Sasaki Associates and Synthesis Architects combined various aspects of the information and needs presented earlier in this report into three alternative scenarios for the future of downtown Schenectady. These alternative futures were presented to the client group, interested organizations, and the Schenectady citizens in a public forum during the summer of 1999. In-depth analysis, review, and comment followed. The most desirable aspects of each of the three alternatives were then selected, molded, and combined into the final recommended physical development plan for downtown Schenectady. The three options are briefly summarized here to give the reader a sense of the differences and similarities associated with each option.

A. Evaluation of Alternatives

Each of the three alternatives was developed to respond to different urban design and economic development objectives identified by the client group and the community during the public meetings. A brief summary of the program upon which each option is based is below, followed by physical plan drawings of each option.

1. Summary of Option A

2. Summary of Option B

3. Summary of Option C

Physical development plans for each option were discussed with the client group and Schenectady citizens in meetings and public forums during the summer of 1999. These alternative plans and diagrams of the details of each option are shown in Figures 39 through 44.

Figure 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44

B. Criteria for Evaluation of Alternatives

The evaluation of the alternative plans for downtown Schenectady focused on several factors including cost of implementation, ability of the alternative to respond to concerns and issues expressed by the community, phasing of improvements, and the alternatives response to project objectives that included:

Reinforce the vision of Schenectady as an affordable urban community with an eclectic mix of uses.

New development projects need to be built around and incorporate the civic and architectural history of the City.

The arts (i.e., Proctor's Theatre) are central to the civic vitality of Schenectady. The master plan needs to support growth of uses related to the arts.

New and upgraded urban housing will be essential in improving the sense of community in the downtown.

Finally, in a series of public meetings to present the alternatives, members of the community and business leaders were provided the opportunity to express their comments and offer feedback on the design and program options. These comments, along with feedback from the client group, were used to develop a preferred plan.

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