ALBANY, N.Y. — Most of the land has been purchased, millions of dollars
appropriated by the state, even the public has had the chance to weigh in –
and after nearly a decade, plans to build a convention center in Albany still
haven't moved forward.
The proposal, created by the Albany Convention Center Authority, has been
scaled down over the years but it's rendering for a six-acre complex would
carry a $220 million price tag.
NEWS10 spoke with the authority's chairman, Gavin Donohue, about the delay.
“We've had an incredibly bad economic recession that
you know revivals the depression and two we've had four different governors
with all different priorities,” said Donohue.
Given the tough economic times, Mayor Jerry Jennings has called it
unrealistic and in his State of the City called for a less ambitious plan — one
that would improve the existing facilities at the Times Union Center and the
Empire State Plaza along with construction of a new hotel and ballroom, all
connected through the existing walkway.
The governor appropriated money for the project this year, but there's
concern it won't be there for 2014. Albany county executive Dan McCoy tells
NEWS10 he's spoken with the governor's office and they want progress.
“Jerry and I need to come up with a project and we need to make it
work. We need to get something done this year. You know he has confidence, he
put the money in the budget the $63 million which is going to be there but we
have to have a plan that's going to work,” said McCoy.
The governor's office directed NEWS10 to the State Budget
Division for comment, and in a statement they said “the budget
reappropriates existing spending authority for the convention center, but the
project continues to have a significant funding gap.”