This is wonderful news.
I have just confirmed with Brad Glass at the Albany Planning Dept. that the Ft. Orange Club has withdrawn its application for a parking lot permit and fence.
According to Roger Bearden, President of the Hudson/Park Neighborhood Association, "This means that they are no longer seeking to construct a parking lot at the site of the buildings at 118-120 Washington Ave. The Ft. Orange Club continues to seek permission to expand their health facility, but this part of the project does not involve knocking down buildings."
As Caroline Mason wrote in an Op Ed piece in the Times Union on Friday, Albany's future must keep its past. I couldn't have said it better myself.
She cites the sad example of buildings torn down across the street from Lombardo's in 2001. Even though Lombardo's may be a fine establishment, she uses the words of Anthony Tang to explain why 7 years of hindsight show that "the loss of old ancient buildings involved much more that just the visible destruction of ancient bricks and stones."
We must remain vigilant to ensure that Albany's historic streetscape is not chipped away little by little -- but for today, at least, we have cause to celebrate. We are grateful that the Fort Orange Club has embraced the neighborhood view that it's never acceptable to tear down historic buildings to make way for surface parking.
Thanks so much for all of your efforts. Please stay tuned to the NeoAlbany blog and keep the lines of communication open ...