Capital District Regional Planning Commission

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April 7, 1997 Chungchin Chen 393-1715

Groundbreaking for the Capital District Juvenile Secure Detention Facility

After more than four years of planning and negotiations among Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady counties, construction will begin today on a Regional Juvenile Secure Detention Facility. The Capital District Regional Planning Commission (CDRPC) and the Capital District Youth Center, Inc. (CDYCI) announced that the 16-bed detention center will open for operations later this year.

The facility is to be built on a 4-acre site behind the Albany County Correctional Facility off Albany-Shaker Road in the Town of Colonie.

"I'm extremely pleased to see that the facility has finally gotten off the ground," said Paul J. O'Brien, President of CDYCI, a public benefit corporation jointly created by the four counties to build and administer the Center. "So many people have worked very hard over the past four years to put this project together. Their faith in regional cooperation and perseverance have paid off," continued O'Brien, a former Albany County Legislator and a CDRPC board member since 1984.

"This project is a significant milestone for the Capital District in terms of regionalism. By working together, we can provide selected local government services through a cost-effective regional approach," stated John L. Buono, CDRPC Chairman and former Rensselaer County Executive.

"This regional facility will save taxpayers money by housing juvenile offenders who otherwise must be sent to remote facilities at a tremendous cost to County residents. The youthful offenders will also benefit from being closer to family and necessary support services," said Albany County Executive Michael Breslin. Albany County agreed to make four acres of County-owned land available to build the facility, which has been cited as one of the key factors for the success of the project.

"Each county has different needs and a regional cooperative project can work only if it meets the self-interests and mutual benefits of all parties. I'm confident that this facility will fulfill that expectation, said Henry Zwack, Rensselaer County Executive.

"The fact that representatives of all four county governments are here to celebrate the groundbreaking together is a testimony of our willingness to pursue any regional joint ventures on a project by project basis. The project is a major breakthrough amid the on-going debates about Regional collaboration among local governments in the Capital District," stated Marvin LeRoy, Chairman of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors.

"All participating counties, including Schenectady, will be well served by the Regional facility. It has set a good example of how different government entities can work together. I am looking forward to seeing more regional cooperation to provide local government services," said Ralph Comanzo, Majority Leader of the Schenectady County Legislature and last year's CDRPC Chairman.

The project was first conceived of by the Capital District Regional Planning Commission in 1992 in response to the need for such a local facility expressed by county officials and family court judges. After a needs assessment and feasibility study was conducted by the Commission staff in 1993, leaders of the four counties decided to pursue the project by creating the Capital District Youth Center, Inc., with the authority to issue tax-exempt revenue bonds to finance the project. Led by Assemblyman Ronald Canestrari and former Senator Michael Hoblock, the Region's State legislators successfully secured a $2 million State grant in the 1994 New York State Budget to reimburse up to 50% of the project's eligible construction costs.

According to the inter-municipal cooperation agreement signed by the four counties, 12 of the 16 beds are guaranteed by the four counties in the following shares: Albany County, 7.5; Rensselaer County, 1.0; Saratoga County, 1.25; and Schenectady County 2.25. The balance will be available for surrounding counties within a 18-county catchment area.

CDYCI issued revenue bonds totaling $5.07 million, of which $2.0 million are short-term Grant Anticipation Notes. Total site improvement and construction costs for the 24,000 square foot facility will be $3,470,000, as per the accepted bid contracts. The balance of the bond proceeds will cover the costs of architectural and engineering design, equipment and furnishings, legal and financial services, capitalized interest, and construction contingencies.

The Facility has been designed to allow easy expansion to 24 beds. Future expansion through the addition of an 8-bed wing will be decided later based on actual needs. Completion is scheduled for mid-September of 1997, and the Center be open for operation on October 1, 1997, according to Chungchin Chen, Chief Administrator of CDYCI. The Berkshire Farm Center & Services for Youth has been retained by CDYCI to manage the facility under contract.

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