Purpose & Needs

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Introduction

During the Spring 2007 term, the RPI Building Conservation Studio Project focused on the upper Congress Street corridor in Troy, New York, between Christie Street and Pawling Avenue.  The Congress Street corridor has a long history as an important thoroughfare between downtown Troy and rural communities located in the heartland of Rensselaer County.  The corridor skirts prominent natural features such as Mount Ida and the Poesten Kill Gorge.  In the 19th century, the tremendous energy of the Poesten Kill contributed to Troy’s prominence during the American Industrial Revolution.  A diverse base of industries, powered by the foaming waters, gave rise to a thriving urban factory village, known as the Mount Ida Neighborhood. 

During the 20th century, the character of this neighborhood saw significant change and decline.   Despite the decline, this neighborhood continues to hold much potential and now presents a wide range of new opportunities in the areas of historic preservation, natural resource appreciation, and business development.  Information compiled in the website created by the RPI students can be used by neighborhood residents and business owners to further bring into focus a vision for revitalizing this area.  The ideas presented in this report can also be folded into ongoing roadway improvement and economic development projects that are slated to occur in the upper Congress Street corridor.

Project Boundary

Overall, the Congress Street corridor spans a distance of about 1¼ miles from the Hudson River to Pawling Avenue and Brunswick Road (Route 2).  Previous studies have divided this highly variable corridor into smaller sections for the sake of organization and manageability.  Similarly, we have identified project boundaries to include both the Congress Street and Mt. Ida neighborhoods (hot link to map).  Consistent with previous studies such as the Congress Street Corridor Study (Laberge, 2001), the eastern boundary near the intersection of Brunswick Road and Pawling Avenue “… is expressly recognized as the primary southeastern gateway into the Congress Street corridor…”  Christie Street was selected as the western boundary for this project in order to logically include the entrance to Prospect Park, which is a large and important feature of the corridor.  The southern project boundary incorporates the Poesten Kill industrial heritage area as well as the small neighborhood enclave between Cypress and Birch Streets. 

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