Excerpts from "Metrofix: The Combative Comeback of a Company Town”

“Metrofix: The Combative Comeback of a Company Town” by William B. Patrick follows the trajectory of Schenectady, a typical post-industrial Northeastern city, whose citizens and leaders struggled through obstacles to transform it from a center of urban blight to a proud city.

Here are some excerpts from “Metrofix”:

  • “Hardly anyone wanted to admit that a miraculous recovery was all but impossible. The realization that it was up to them if they wanted to save their city – that, simply, their illustrious, corporate parent had pretty much abandoned them for a new and distant family and they were now saddled with a do-it-yourself project – had not fully sunk in.”

  • “Anyone who read the papers in the Capital Region during the ’90s could follow Schenectady’s troubles – not only with crime and corruption, but with educational scandals, constant political squabbles and business closings – and conclude that it wasn’t a community where they might want to live. For [Golub Corp. CEO] Neil Golub and [former Union President] Roger Hull and the volunteers of Schenectady 2000, lifting the morale of the city’s resident’s and countering the constant stream of bad press was becoming a Herculean task.”

  • “[Former Union President] Roger Hull stipulated mandatory volunteerism as part of the orientation of the entire incoming freshman class as a way of helping his students, first, to see what was there in the community, warts and all, but secondly to make them recognize and appreciate the fact that they were going to be spending their four years behind the cloistered gates of the College.”

  • “We have to create momentum and break the down cycle and show people that we can have a win, and we start with a Corridor of Strength. We do one block, the Proctor’s block … we fix the Proctor’s block and go on from there.” – Ray Gillen, chair Metroplex Development Authority

  • “During Metroplex’s first 20 years [sales tax revenue] had totaled almost $140 million, and had enabled it to engineer close to $1.5 BILLION in private-and-public sector investments in more than 700 projects. Moreover, in that time, Metroplex had also had been awarded more than $100 million in state and federal grants, and had been responsible for creating 8,000 new jobs in Schenectady County.”

  • “Between 2015 and 2020, the economic progress in the city seemed unstoppable, part of Newton’s first law of motion: if a body is at constant speed in a straight line, it will keep moving in a straight line at a constant speed unless it is acted upon by a force.”