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216 Lancaster Street • Albany, NY 12210 email@example.com • 518-428-9348 February 20, 2010 Mr. Norman Rice, Chair Historic Resource Commission c/o Richard Nicholson City of Albany, Department of Development & Planning 200 Henry Johnson Boulevard Albany, NY 12207 RE: Lower Washington Avenue Historic District Nomination Dear Mr. Rice: As a Center Square homeowner and a past president of the board of Historic Albany Foundation, I am writing to express my strong support for the listing of the Lower Washington Avenue Historic District as a locally landmarked historic district within the city of Albany. Beginning at Swan Street with the heroic Alfred E. Smith office building and the stately Fort Orange Club, Washington Avenue boasts a unique collection of grand mansions, modern office buildings, and ornately decorated exteriors alongside modest residences. These buildings, taken together, help tell the story of our city’s westward expansion, and provide an important transition between the nearby residential neighborhoods and the government complex crowned by the New York State Capitol. The recent controversy over the Fort Orange Club’s plans to raze two pre-Civil War buildings at 118-120 Washington Avenue underscores the need for the very protections historic district designation will provide. I take no issue with the Fort Orange Club seeking to enhance the safety and comfort of its clientele, but I believe that in a civil society, the common good must prevail. In this case, the Club’s desire for additional parking must not be allowed to override the constructs that have long been used to prevent wanton demolition in our historic neighborhoods. I urge you, as a champion of not only our irreplaceable built environment, but also the urban lifestyle that we hold dear, to prevent our historic streetscape from being chipped away one building at a time, and to ensure that this historic corridor is preserved for future generations. I strongly pledge my support for the Lower Washington Avenue Historic District and urge the Historic Resource Commission to recommend this nomination for listing as a locally landmarked historic district. Sincerely, /signed/ Colleen M. Ryan PS: Albany has precious few buildings that will turn 200 in my lifetime! I hope you will swiftly approve the establishment of this historic district to safeguard these and other structures along Washington Avenue.
cc: Hon. Richard Conti, Albany Common Council Susan Holland, Historic Albany Foundation