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Making Menands a destination

For those who live in it, Menands is already a jewel, but for those who drive by it, Menands is nothing but a word written in big type on a green sign on Interstate 787.

However, according to village officials, the steps needed to transform Menands into a destination point have already begun with the formation of a group that is looking at ways to enhance the Broadway corridor and make the village pedestrian-friendly.

We think Menands has virtually more potential than any other area in the Capital District, said Mayor Tom Coates.

According to Coates, the potential has not been reached with what the village currently has to offer.

"The plan is in the process of being developed," the mayor said.

According to executive assistant to the mayor Paul Reuss, no drawings or images illustrating the village's vision for the future were available yet since none had been drawn up, but the village has formed a board of specialists last fall, called the Menands Planning and Economic Development Workgroup, to head upcoming projects. The workgroup is chaired by Rocco Ferraro, executive director of the Capital District Regional Planning Commission.

According to Reuss, when the group first got together, its primary focus was the east side of Broadway, industrial properties and other designated areas throughout the village.

"We meet monthly, and basically the group has developed an agenda of issues to look at, really focusing on the best future use of the Broadway corridor," said Reuss.

In an effort to ensure that residents of Menands are pleased with the efforts of the workgroup, the village had sent out surveys regarding the Broadway corridor, asking the residents what they would and would not like to see in their village.

According to Reuss, the village had gotten about 250 responses, and an online version of the survey is still accessible through the village Web site www.villageofmenands.com/home/.

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