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Posted on: March 12, 2021

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan Announces Launch of “Restart Albany”

RESTART ALBANY 2

Contact: David Galin

Mayor Sheehan Encourages Neighborhood Associations and Community Leaders to Organize Neighborhood Cleanups in Partnership with DGS

Mayor Sheehan Announces COVID Recovery Task Force and Names Co-Chairs: Mike Whalen, M&T Bank VP & Jahkeen Hoke, Business For Good Foundation ED

ALBANY, NY – In response to President Biden’s signing of the American Rescue Plan and the continued expansion of COVID vaccine availability, Mayor Kathy Sheehan has announced the launch of “Restart Albany” – an initiative that marks a new beginning for Albany and:

  • Adds new employees to the Department of General Services to help clean parks, streets, and sidewalks
  • Adds new employees to the Department of Recreation to operate a full Summer Youth Employment Program and recreation camps & clinics 
  • Encourages neighborhood associations and community leaders to organize neighborhood cleanups in partnership with DGS
  • Launches a renewed effort by the City’s Codes Department to ensure continued buildings and regulatory compliance across Albany
  • Creates a COVID Recovery Task Force to ensure the City of Albany equitably and strategically maximizes the resources available to our residents, businesses, and community organizations thanks to the American Rescue Plan to restart Albany and build back better.

Residents interested in applying for positions in the Department of General Services or Department of Recreation can visit www.jobs.albanyny.gov. Additionally, individuals interested in applying for DGS seasonal opportunities can apply online or apply in person by visiting DGS Headquarters at 1 Connors Boulevard. 

Any group that is interested in organizing a neighborhood cleanup can request supplies and support from the Department of General Services necessary to having a successful cleanup, including tools, gloves, bags and trash collection by visiting http://www.albanyneighborhoods.com/ or by calling (518) 434-CITY (2489).

Mayor Sheehan named Mike Whalen, Administrative Vice President of M&T Bank, and Jahkeen Hoke, Executive Director of Business For Good Foundation, as Co-Chairs of the City’s COVID Recovery Task Force – a task force that will engage every sector of the City of Albany to ensure that we get resources where they need to be to restart Albany, re-open businesses, prevent evictions and strengthen our not-for-profit organizations.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, “It has been exactly one year since the first two cases of COVID were diagnosed in Albany County. Immediately, our City employees stepped up in herculean ways to continue providing essential city services when our residents and businesses needed it most – but we also know we had to scale back some of our typical efforts to ensure we remained fiscally solvent as the previous federal administration put airlines and Fortune 500 companies ahead of our frontline heroes. That’s why it is fitting that today, as vaccinations ramp up and our entire nation works to end this pandemic, we announce this new effort to mark a new beginning in Albany – a new beginning that is only possible because of the passage of the American Rescue Plan and tireless advocacy of President Joe Biden, US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressman Paul Tonko. Our best days are truly ahead of us.”

Mike Whalen, Administrative Vice President of M&T Bank, and Jahkeen Hoke, Executive Director of Business For Good Foundation said, “The American Rescue Plan is a game changer for our fellow neighbors, the business community, and our community-based organizations, and we are committed to working closely with Mayor Sheehan to ensure that we equitably and strategically maximize the resources available in the Plan to benefit our entire City. We look forward to working with leaders from across the City to help restart Albany and build back better.”

City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar said, “Joe Biden famously said ‘Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.’ Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Joe Biden have shown us what they value, and have reinforced what we as Americans value, and that is our public workforce. Every public employee in the City of Albany and cities across the country owe Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Joe Biden a huge debt of gratitude, including police, fire, road, sanitation, water and sewer crews, and all of our other heroic first responders.”

Common Council Majority Leader & Finance Committee Chairperson Ginnie Farrell said, “The pandemic has been devastating to our community and to Albany’s budget. The American Rescue Plan will give the opportunity for financial healing, ensuring our city services, including our parks, streets, and sidewalks, stay open, clean, and safe, and even more importantly investing in youth engagement over the summer months. I appreciate Mayor Sheehan’s leadership through the pandemic and into this much needed recovery.”

6th Ward Common Councilmember Richard Conti said, "The resources under the American Rescue Plan will allow us to reinvest in our community as we embark on the road to recovery and building back our economy and our neighborhoods. Today's announcement by Mayor Sheehan signals a new start that it's time to work together and move forward."

Jackie Ring, Center Square Neighborhood Association President said, “The initiatives Mayor Sheehan announced today addressed key needs in our city – job creation, youth programs, code enforcement and clean neighborhoods and parks. They are creative solutions to problems we call “quality of life” issues and will go a long way toward improving our city on many levels. Center Square residents grapple constantly with keeping the neighborhood clean and we are particularly appreciative of the city’s stepped-up commitment to helping us. As the Mayor indicated, we’re all in this together, it’s a great “Restart” for Albany.”

Jeff Crumpton, Hudson Park Neighborhood Association President said, “The two most important allies for the Hudson Park Neighborhood Association are our friends and neighbors through the community, and the incredible partnership with our City, County, and State leaders. Without the focus and leadership from Mayor Sheehan and her administration over the past year, the outcome would have been very different. We are beyond grateful to you and your team, especially the hard-working members of DGS.  We are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work in Restarting Albany. Mayor Sheehan, COVID Recovery Task Force Co-chairs Whalen and Hoke, Commissioners Panunzio and Jones, we are excited about the future of this great city and are ready to pitch in to make it even better.”

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