This poster describes the Ezra Prentice Homes Initiative, which began in response to the concerns about heavy truck and train traffic near Ezra Prentice Homes. To address concerns about the health effects of exposure to air pollutants, AVillage…,Inc. & the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center developed community health surveys to assess residents’ health conditions, needs, and concerns. Surveys were administered to residents, and meetings were arranged with policymakers, government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency & the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and truck & train industries to prioritize the health & well-being of residents.
Although we like everything to be perfect, and try to make everything go as according to plan, April 22nd was just another reminder that some things are completely out of AVillage’s control. Despite the lack of sunshine, and occasional “heavy mist,” South End Earth Day (SEED) was another great success.
This Summer, the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center along with A Village Inc., will conduct its five-week EcoJustice Summer Youth program for youth ages 14 - 18. Participants will have the opportunity to earn an income while being engaged in hands-on work and learning related to local ecological and social justice issues. Based out of the Radix Center, youth will be employed in food justice activism through the maintenance and operation of Radix’s one-acre urban farm as well as numerous gardens throughout Albany’s South End. Produce harvested from these gardens feeds local residents and supports Radix’s educational programs. Days also consist of educational opportunities, with workshops, guest speakers, and outdoor field trips to local sites. The dates for the program are from Monday July 3rd through Friday, August 4th.
Ms Charlene Benton, the long time president of the Ezra Prentice Tenants Association, has decided to retire from her position due to ill health. Bebe White, vice president of the Tenants Association, has called for a meeting of all tenants to discuss holding elections for new officers.
The meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29, in the Ezra Prentice Community Room. This will be a Tenants Association meeting, not an AVillage meeting.
Under HUD rules, all tenant associations elections must be monitored, administered and verified by an independent organization in order to be official. The meeting on March 29 will be so interested residents can learn more about the process and express their interest in serving as an officer. The date for an election will be set after that.
At the meeting last Wednesday, Rev. Marc Johnson, who is serving as Interim Executive Director of AVillage, said this is a particularly important time for tenants to get involved. He said word has reached the Tenants Association officers that Global Partners LLC, the company that owns the black tanker cars that carry crude oil and fuel products to the Port of Albany, is discussing a negotiated settlement with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
It was an opportunity to rekindle old friendships and make new ones; it was a night to remember that we are more than just a group of people who share the same zip code, but a unified family; it was a chance to acknowledge and appreciate everyone’s hard work in making the South End a better place; it was a celebration of our progress.
Rev. Marc Johnson is a native of Albany, NY born and raised in the South End neighborhood of Albany. He has returned back to Albany to his original home church (now named, Greater St. Johns COGIC) where he is an serves as an Associate Pastor and Church Administrator under his father, Supt. McKinley B. Johnson, Sr. as the Sr. Pastor. Rev.
Progress (slowly) at Ezra Prentice
By Tom McPheeters
Residents at Ezra Prentice Homes may legitimately feel like they are a long way from the kinds of action that would help them breathe easier, but starting this spring they will at least be seeing activities that could help in the long run. And there will also be more opportunities to help move things along.
Two events will be visible this spring: air monitoring by DEC staff carrying sophisticated hand-held monitoring devices, and a second (third, actually) traffic study designed to find out where the diesel trucks that use South Pearl Street are coming from, where they are going and who owns them.