Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats & Opportunities

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SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and the analysis describes the current conditions of the Upper Congress Street Corridor. This analysis indicates the area’s assets (Strengths), points of limitation (Weaknesses), potentialities for enhancement (Opportunities), and possible perils (Threats). The analysis provides a synopsis of the themes that will need to be addressed, as well as an outline of the probable areas of improvement required to initiate and implement a successful economic development plan for the neighborhood.

This area has a rich and colorful history that grew from the mills and factories powered by the Poesten Kill Creek.  The people who lived here formed and nurtured the neighborhood’s development through their own culture, beliefs and economic needs. One can still appreciate much of the character of that past in the style and placement of many of the extant buildings, which are the touchstone for future growth and the clearest indication of its former grandeur.   

One of the neighborhood’s chief strengths is Prospect Park, a beautiful tract of land that is under-utilized and stigmatized as unsafe.  As the park originally helped to fuel Mount Ida’s shift from an industrial to a service economy in the early 1900s, so it might again serve as an economic and cultural catalyst for the area’s renaissance.  The campuses of both Emma Willard and RPI, each within walking distance, could be excellent sources of economic increase. Attracting these students into the area could have a significant economic impact to the local businesses.  A revitalized Prospect Park and development of an overlook at the Poesten Kill Gorge can significantly increase pedestrian traffic along Congress Street and potentially benefit existing businesses.  

The Upper Congress Street DOT project could have a positive effect on the streetscape and its attendant safety issues. There is a heavy volume of traffic on Congress Street (10,000 vehicles a day), which could be tapped as an economic resource to stimulate development of additional shops and restaurants.  If better access were provided to the gorge itself, residents and visitors could more easily appreciate its beauty.





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