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Mayor Jennings does final ribbon cutting

Mayor Jerry Jennings (center) cuts the ribbon at McGeary's Irish Pub in Albany. With him are Rep. Paul Tonko - D (left), and Tess Collins from McGeary's (right) - Justin Wambach / WNYT

ALBANY – Mayor Jerry Jennings is retiring next week after 20 years as Albany’s mayor. On Friday, he attended his final ribbon cutting, which took place at McGeary’s Irish Pub.

Friends and patrons gathered outside the pub late Friday afternoon for the final ceremony. While the mayor has done hundreds of ceremonies throughout the years, this one was extra special.

The mayor has saved a piece of ribbon from each of the hundreds of ribbon cuttings he has done throughout the years. Now, he has to figure out what to do with all of them.

“I have envelopes full of them. They’re not dated by year in the envelopes. They’ve got to be sorted out…I’m going to probably take some time…see what’s still here, what isn’t still here. It’s going to be interesting. I have a lot of time to do that though,” says Mayor Jennings.

Century-old building becomes transitional housing for homeless

This is the old building that will be used for transitional housing. - Rich Frederick / WNYT

ALBANY - An abandoned building in Albany has a new look and a new purpose -- and it is helping the city's homeless.

The former shirt factory, built 125 years ago, will now provide transitional housing for the Capital City Rescue Mission.

The center at 95 Trinity Place has 30 apartments meant for people who have been getting their lives back on track and are starting to transition out of the homeless shelter.

“They're taking their places in churches in this area. They're buying from places in this area. They're living in the city and that is not homeless housing really anymore, that is transition to full independence,” said Perry Jones, the executive director of the Capital City Rescue Mission.

The building is also providing a new and bigger space for the mission's clothing store, Blessingdales, which provides clothing, free of charge, to mission residents.

Buildings recommended for National Register of Historic Places

The State Board has recommended several places in the Capital Region be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

This would tie them in with a national program, which gives the buildings some extra funding, upkeep, and support to make sure they are preserved for the future.

Across the state, 33 buildings and structures were nominated.

Here is the list of local buildings and structures:

Albany County:

  • Albany Felt Complex – Menands

  • 44 Central Avenue (building was built around 1817 and is known as Robison's Point

Rensselaer County:

  • The Howard-Odmin-Sherman Farm in Pittstown

  • Troy Waste Manufacturing Company

  • Van Zandt, Jacobs & Company, Troy

Saratoga County:

'American dream' on hold for some during shutdown

LATHAM -  Maple Tree Funding in Latham has several families in housing contracts that fear the shutdown will hold up their next step. So those for sale signs we see neighborhood to neighborhood may stay up longer than anybody anticipated.

The office that handles USDA loans is closed down. USDA loans are attractive to first time buyers in rural areas of the Capital Region like Washington and Warren counties. So that paper work is stopped dead in its tracks.

Maple Tree Funding President Marty Pfeiffenberger says the best he can tell his clients is to keep chugging along with what they can do and, as hard as it is, try to be patient.

Old St. Joseph's Academy gets an interior makeover

It's a familiar site at the corner of North Swan and Second Streets in Arbor Hill. The old St. Joseph's Academy building has been here since 1906, but on the inside this building is getting an extreme makeover.

Albany Barn Inc., a private non-profit organization, has joined forces with the Albany Housing Authority and is changing the interior into an artist incubator.

”The creative arts can be visual artists, painters, writers, musicians, and chefs,” says Jeff Mirel, president of the Albany Barn Project.

Mirel says the artists will not only be working here, they'll be living here in  22 subsidized apartments with studios. There will also be an additional 15,000 square feet of studio space.

Organizers hope the changes on the inside will lead to changes on the outside -- bringing businesses back to the surrounding neighborhood.

Survey shows slight decline in real estate pessimism

ALBANY- New Yorkers' pessimistic outlook on the housing market is slowly improving.
The Siena Research Institute released its quarterly survey on real estate sentiment Thursday morning.
It finds that although the sales are still down, homeowners are feeling that property values are starting to creep up.
There was improvement in upstate New York, but not much change in New York City.

History group gets $350K grant to restore historic home

ALBANY (AP) - An Underground Railroad history group has received a $350,000 grant to help its ongoing restoration of an Albany home that harbored fugitive slaves in the mid-19th century.

Paul Stewart, co-founder of the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, told the Times Union of Albany that the grant from the state Environmental Protection Fund came through in March. So far, the group has raised $600,000 to restore the former home of Stephen Myers, a freed slave who was a leader in Albany's abolitionist movement before the Civil War.

The group says the home was owned by one of Albany's lumber boat captains, who were known to help fugitive slaves make their way north.

The Underground Railroad History Project is holding its 10th annual conference beginning Friday at Russell Sage College in nearby Troy.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)