AMSTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Residents of the lower Market Hill neighborhoods are being invited to attend the City of Amsterdam’s second “Improve our Neighborhoods Initiative conversation” (IONIC), which will take place at the Wilbur H. Lynch Middle School cafeteria on Thursday, October 6, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The lower Market Hill neighborhoods include all streets west of Market Street, east of Brandt Place, north of Guy Park Avenue, and south of Arnold Avenue.

“The streets and homes in this targeted area are among the oldest in our City,” said Amsterdam Mayor Mike Cinquanti, “and with time comes quality of life challenges for the residents who live there. Like we did with Park Hill residents last month, City officials want to talk about those challenges with the people who live there and discuss how they can be addressed more effectively by getting everyone to work together.”

The City’s first IONIC event was held in the Park Hill neighborhood in late August. Around 50 residents attended and discussed their issues and concerns with a panel of representatives from City and County government as well as several community service organizations. Cinquanti said a majority of the feedback his office received from both residents and panel participants who attended the Park Hill event, has been very positive.

Within two weeks after the August meeting, most of the specific complaints, which included speeding and noisy vehicles, broken streetlights, potholes, properties with overgrown vegetation and suspected code violations, and a clogged storm drain, had either been fixed or were in the process of getting solved. In addition, the most blighted home in the Park Hill neighborhood was moved to the top of the City’s demolition list and new traffic and parking signs were ordered.

Representatives from the Amsterdam Police Department, the Amsterdam City Codes Department, the City’s Tourism, Marketing & Recreation Department along with the Mayor and the Common Council members representing the targeted area will take part in the October 6 panel as will staff from Montgomery County’s Department of Social Services, Montgomery County Health Department, a County Legislator, Montgomery County Office for the Aging, Creative Connections Clubhouse, Amen Place Food Pantry, Centro Civico/IBERO, the Greater Amsterdam School District and substance abuse and behavioral health specialists from St. Mary’s Healthcare.

The IONIC initiative is being modeled after successful neighborhood outreach efforts which have taken place in other municipalities. Sections of each Ward of the City have been identified as priorities for the program. The West End will be next up on the IONIC schedule, followed by the East End, the lower South Side, and then Reid Hill. “And then,” said Cinquanti, “we hope to extend these conversations to every neighborhood in the City.”