William Street investments add color, light
The Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) celebrated the culmination of significant investments made to the William Street pedestrian walkway with a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by a grand opening event. Updates to William Street - located one block west of S Pearl Street between Beaver & Howard Streets, and adjacent to the MVP Arena - include new overhead lighting, colorful street furniture, and an expansive 150-foot-long sidewalk mural by local artist Eugene O'Neill.
The project was funded through a grant from National Grid's Urban Center/Commercial District Revitalization Program. This program is designed to assist metro centers in National Grid's Upstate New York service territory achieve revitalization goals, increase property tax bases, and promote “smart growth” and sustainable investment in central business districts and commercial corridors.
Artist Eugene O'Neill was selected through a competitive artist application process to work on the mural. O'Neill is an art educator and one of the founding partners of the Amplified Voices Mural Project, a program that focuses on amplifying the voices, experiences, and expression of BIPOC youth through art. Entitled "Meet Me in the Middle", O'Neill's artwork is intended to provide a narrative journey to connect heart and spirit. These colorful portals are a notion to dig deeper beyond the surface, stepping beyond the shadowed doubt of impossible thoughts and welcoming a metamorphosis of changes designed to clear a path to a breakthrough moment.
With the addition of street furniture, the space also acts as an extended patio for nearby restaurants in and around the MVP Arena, as patrons can enjoy a wide variety of take-out options in a comfortable seat on William Street.
Joining Downtown Albany BID Executive Director Georgette Steffens at the ribbon cutting were Capitalize Albany Corporation President Sarah Reginelli, Counsel to the Albany County Executive Jeff Jamison, National Grid Director of Customer and Community Management Laurie Poltynski, and artist Eugene O'Neill.
If you are interested in hosting your own event at William Street, contact the Albany City Clerk's office at 518.434.5090 or file a Special Event Application online here.