A decline into the unrecognizable
To the editor:
As the city council battles yet another pressing issue, this particular one being basketball hoops, the city as a whole continues its rapid decline, into something that lifelong residents can barely recognize.
Amsterdam is becoming a depressing shadow of its former self.
I'd like to bring one street in particular into focus with this letter.
We are all well aware of other streets that share the same issues, but for now, let's just focus on Union Street in the 3rd Ward.
After an ever so brief accounting, it appears that there are 19 properties on Union Street alone that are either abandoned, have absentee landlords, are overgrown lots, or, more often than not, are owned by the city itself.
Again,19 properties on one street.
The city-owned parking lot on the street is always in deplorable shape and more often than not has been maintained by local residents.
My mother still owns a property on Union Street and to say her property value plummets daily would be an understatement. The citizens who properly maintain their properties on the street are being driven out by conditions that are becoming intolerable, while their pleas for assistance from the city go largely unheard, and all too regularly trivialized.
Most of the street is now so overgrown, maybe we could classify it as a wildlife sanctuary. That's not realistic because some of the properties aren't fit for even wildlife.
The mayor and code enforcement has been contacted many times on the state of Union Street, and to say proper attention has been given to the numerous issues is laughable.
The mayor and council should be ashamed of themselves as they preside over Amsterdam's decline.
I would hope that some day our beloved mayor or maybe just the 3rd Ward alderman, Ronald Barone, would take a ride down Union Street, which is located almost directly in the center of our fair city, and take a look at the deplorable conditions that are starting to fester and worsen there daily. There are many good hardworking residents of Union Street that deserve that much respect.
I'm sure that there are many, many, many stories from other streets in our city that need to be addressed. I would like to urge other citizens of Amsterdam to contact the powers that be with them. Maybe we as a community can get something done about them.
That is, of course, if the mayor and the council can find the time between arguments about the golf course, bridges to nowhere, and, of course, basketball hoops.
The laughingstock of the region
To the editor:
I want to express my utter disgust with the city council's override of the mayor's veto on the basketball ordinance. I take exception with the council's assertion that this ordinance is for public safety. If public safety in roadways is such an issue for these children, how is forcing them to walk or bike to parks to play basketball any safer than having them play in front of their homes? By forcing children to make a decision about traveling to a park or not to play basketball, you may have some choose to stay in their neighborhoods and not partake in physical activity or better yet, get into mischief. I know as a child, especially during the summer, I would spend hours playing basketball on my street. It kept me out of trouble and I survived. I was never hit by a vehicle or anything of that nature. If the council has such a concern about vehicles "speeding" and possibly colliding with these children, maybe the answer is to focus on enforcing our existing traffic laws. Are we really willing to waste taxpayer dollars to have law enforcement go patrol for this ordinance? There are far greater crimes being committed in this city that are truly a threat to public safety that need attention than kids playing basketball in the street.
I feel there are so many more important issues that the city needs to deal with that this ordinance is a joke. Heck, all you have to do is watch the local news or listen to the radio for what people outside our city think of this ordinance. Congratulations, city council, you have made Amsterdam the laughingstock of the Capital District.