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Archive for June 17th, 2010

The following is the correspondence that inspired me to post the pertinacious pictures. The Controller had contacted the Council to approve the release of a $2,700 payment for work done in the side lot at City Hall. The total had been disputed at the recent common council meeting, Mr. Leggiero purporting that the sum was over $5000. The Controller corrected this misinformation in her communication with the Council.

On 6/16/10 9:55 AM, “Bill Wills” wrote:

Once we receive an explanation of why the rose garden which according to my recollection was not near any foundations had to be dug up and readied for what appears to be replanting. The incredible explanation of the damage by roots to the building’s foundation was almost too good to be true. I hope I am dead wrong on this and we actually did something to better the condition of the building as these monies came from the building repair account along with the other three user accounts.

Heather, please add up the charges to the all of the accounts for this and I believe that is how Alderman Leggiero came up with his $5,000 figure. Thanks!!

Alderman Wills

From: “Ann M. Thane”
Date: June 17, 2010 12:32:02 PM EDT

Bill,

I don’t suppose you had paid any attention to the side lot over the past few years, as it had turned into a treed area. Last year, I had seasonals and volunteers from Workforce Solutions cut the growth down over three days, but they were unable to take out the roots as they lacked the proper equipment and experience. The trees had sprouted up on every inch of the lot and along the walls/steps, causing significant damage. I will email photos of what this negligence has caused, though I didn’t get before and after shots (wish I had).

I had anticipated that the lot would be planted as a community garden this year, but was approached by a group that is interested in restoring what had been the Rose Garden. They have met three times in the past two weeks and are putting together a proposed plan of implementation. They are also starting an Amsterdam Historical Society which is described in a recently released memorandum to the Council from the City Historian.

Over the past two years, with very little money, I have systematically begun to give this property the care it has long needed and missed. We’ve painted and re-carpeted the entire first floor, parts of the second and third floors, and have created new offices out of closets that had been in a state of disrepair. The regional Congressional offices are now housed here and we use the new conference room on a daily basis. We continue to restructure the storage areas and will be abating the basement of asbestos in the next month or so– a job that should have been done in 2003 but was not funded by the Council, ignoring possible health risks to employees and the public. This summer, we will be making ADA improvements to bathrooms & signage, abating the asbestos from the portico outside of the council chamber, removing rust & painting the railing on the back patio to preserve it, and scraping/painting the windows on the front of the building. We are trying to stretch the dollars that have been allotted for the purpose of maintaining this building to the best of our abilities.

I don’t understand why you would question the investment we have made to stabilize this beautiful community treasure. As long as we are here, it is our responsibility to preserve it, as it is a part of our shared heritage and a symbol of what our expectations are for the future of Amsterdam. It is deserving of the attention I have given it. I am especially puzzled that you would question the expenditure to save the garden walls, when in 2007, you allotted $90,000 for the building and very little went to its maintenance. Instead, without any scrutiny from administration or the Council, the custodian was given carte blanche to do as he wished, purchasing components for his tractor that were never used as the building fell further into demise.

I will forward the photos later tonight. The payment for the $2700 owed to Dave’s Landscaping should be released. If anyone on the council feels otherwise, please forward your comments before the end of the business day. Thanks, A.

Mayor Ann M. Thane

No further commentary was received before the end of the day.

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I am posting photos of the incredible damage done by nature to architectural elements at City Hall. Pictured: effects of vegetation to the walls and steps in the lot that had formally been the rose garden, and the effects of water damage to the back railing and portico outside of the Mayor’s office.

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