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Mayor Gerald D. Jennings
Mayor Gerald D. Jennings is the 74th Mayor of the City of Albany. First elected in 1993, he is currently serving his fifth term as Mayor of New York’s Capital City. Born in North Albany, Jennings had a 21-year career as a popular teacher and high school administrator for the Albany City School District. Prior to his stunning election victory in 1993, Jennings served 13 years as a Member of the Common Council representing the 11th Ward. He distinguished himself as a tireless voice for the citizens of Albany and an advocate for Albany’s Pine Bush.
Mayor Jennings first took office on January 1st, 1994 and assumed the responsibilities of leadership that turned a city with a structural financial deficit and pessimistic outlook for its future into a true renaissance. In an environment where upstate New York cities have been decaying over the last decade, the City of Albany has experienced a bona fide renewal in both downtown and its historic neighborhoods as a result of Mayor Jennings’ leadership and vision. As Mayor, Jerry Jennings has presided over an unprecedented reduction in crime and meaningful increases in quality of life for all of Albany. The most critical element of Mayor Jennings public service is his unparalleled dedication to the children of the city.
The Mayor has successfully established collaborative partnerships with New York State, the business community, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations that have produced new development projects representing more than $6 billion in new investment since 1994. No elected official has worked harder or been more successful in garnering its fair share of resources from New York State.
The Mayor has been able to secure, through his Capitalize Albany initiatives, the construction of new headquarters for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the NYS Comptroller, Dormitory Authority and a number of major infrastructure improvements throughout the City of Albany. Many new businesses have located or expanded in the City of Albany, creating significant job opportunities for local residents. Perhaps the most stunning investment has been the state-of-the-art research and development center at Albany NanoTech. This complex has attracted global investment, talent and collaboration that are transforming the Capital Region.
In addition, Mayor Jennings has focused tremendous resources and programming on revitalizing the City’s rich and distinct neighborhoods. He established a Comprehensive Commercial Neighborhood revitalization program and dedicated over $2 million to fund infrastructure projects within these districts. Through a comprehensive and planned approach, the Mayor has secured tens of millions of dollars and garnered strong support for neighborhood revitalization investment projects. Mayor Jennings showed swift and clear leadership at the passage of the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in order to secure important funding for the City of Albany and its residents. In order to identify and prioritize projects for ‘stimulus’ funding, Mayor Jennings established a plan, solicited public input, and held public forums to reach out to the community. The result has been new public infrastructure improvements, street reconstruction projects, Port improvements, public safety investments and neighborhoods housing and infrastructure projects.
A critical element of the City’s long-term renewal is the Albany Convention Center project of which the Mayor secured $75 million from the New York State Governor in the 2006 New York State budget. This state sponsored project will serve as a catalyst for downtown, and its property values will add vitality to the local economy. Currently, the Authority is assembling the properties necessary to gain full site control.
The Mayor has also implemented a comprehensive redevelopment of Albany’s beautiful waterfront and the Corning Preserve. The construction of the Hudson River Way Pedestrian Bridge—a result of this redevelopment--links downtown Albany with the Hudson River and new Amphitheater at Albany Riverfront Park.
Mayor Jennings has focused on implementing environmentally sensitive policies. He has worked with the State of New York and the Pine Bush Commission to add hundreds of acres to the Pine Bush Preserve. He was instrumental in negotiating a settlement with the State of New York on the ANSWERS burn plant litigation and he has dedicated millions of dollars toward the improvement of parks, playgrounds and nature preserves within the City of Albany. In 2008, Mayor Jennings signed the national Green Jobs Pledge that aims to build an inclusive green economy in the United States and endorsed the "Empowering Local Climate Action" Blueprint for President Obama and the 111th Congress.
Mayor Jennings has received numerous awards for his visionary and progressive leadership and is recognized nationally for innovative and effective government. He and the City of Albany received the prestigious City Livability Award fro m the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The Mayor was also recognized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors for the Public/Private Partnership Outstanding Achievement Award for his collaborative partnerships with the business community. Mayor Jennings also was recognized by the National Council for Urban Economic Development with their Public-Private Partnership Program award. Albany’s programs, initiatives and successes have served as models nationwide for effective local government.
In June of 2009, under the leadership of Mayor Jennings the City of Albany was designated as an All-America City by the National Civic League (NCL). The award is designed to recognize civic engagement and stresses the long-term interests of the community as a whole. The NCL was formed in 1894 by founders such as Louis Brandeis, Frederick Law Olmstead, Marshall Fields and Theodore Roosevelt. The All America City recognition is bestowed upon only 10 cities from across the Country each year and is considered a quintessential recognition.