Arbor Hill

  Arbor Hill is a historic neighborhood located in the northeast section of the City of Albany, bounded by Orange Street, Broadway and Henry Johnson Boulevard. Arbor Hill is primarily a residential area with a unique heritage.  Ten Broeck Mansion, the Palace Theatre and St. Joseph's Church are a few examples of the cultural gems within the neighborhood's historic districts (Ten Broeck and Clinton Avenue).

In 2003, the City helped form an Advisory Committee to complete a neighborhood plan that would best represent the interests and needs of Arbor Hill stakeholders (e.g., homeowners, tenants, lenders, neighborhood associations, faith-based groups and service organizations), and that could act as a guiding document for neighborhood revitalization.  The Advisory Committee focused on priorities such as homeownership and rental opportunities; arts, culture and heritage; business and job development; and improved quality of life

To date, Arbor Hill has made great progress toward implementing recommendations outlined in their Neighborhood Plan.  Many significant residential, commercial and mixed-use projects have already transformed the Arbor Hill community (see the (Re)Development Map for updates). Projects have been developed through a variety of public/private investment; through supportive relationships such as, Albany Community Development Agency, Albany Housing Authority, and the Arbor Hill Development Corporation; and through funding awarded from Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), or other public/private resources.

Some highlights in Arbor Hill include:

  • Albany receives a Planning Excellence Award for Implementation of the Arbor Hill Neighborhood Plan by the NY Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association.
  • Albany Housing Authority begins the long-awaited update and renovation of the 1970's-era Ida Yarbrough Homes.
  • Steep, vacant lots along First Street are cleaned up and landscaped--now enjoyed as Overlook Park.

North Swan Street Revitalization

  North Swan Street consists of four blocks in the Arbor Hill Neighborhood and Ten Broeck Historic District.  Historically, North Swan Street was once considered a thriving and busy, commercialized street in Arbor Hill.  Over the past 40 years, the area fell into neglect, leaving much of its existing housing stock, commercial and school buildings deteriorated and abandoned.

However, in recent years Arbor Hill has shown an increased interest in revitalizing North Swan Street.  Both the City and the Albany Housing Authority have invested time and resources to improve infrastructure and increase housing and commercial space…

King's Place, a previously dilapidated historic building that blighted North Swan Street has since been rehabbed into an impressive updated apartment building, gallery space, center for the Albany County Historical Association and meeting area for the Ten Broeck Mansion… Read more.

Albany Barn The Albany Barn, a non-profit organization who provides a major resource for the creative arts community with exhibit and studio space, continues to raise funds and support for the transformative Academy Lofts project, a multi-unit live/work residence for artists. 

Thanks to grant funds from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the former Arbor Hill Courts have been transformed into the North Swan Street Park.  This half-acre neighborhood park has been revitalized from its current status of disrepair into a sustainable area for community gathering and recreation.  As part of the Arbor Hill Neighborhood Plan, this park project was created through collaborative efforts and public outreach between the City, professional design consultants, residents and community stakeholders... Read more about creating the North Swan Street Park.

  The North Swan Street Park is designed to be a multi-generational community space with features that take on green initiatives consistent with EPA’s Green Project Reserve. Therefore, a primary design goal in building North Swan Street Park was to reduce impervious cover in the recreational areas by at least 25%, so to promote natural filtration for improved quality of stormwater runoff.  This reduction would qualify the project under NYSDEC’s redevelopment criteria for Water Quality Treatment and Runoff Reduction.

Green Initiatives within the North Swan Street Park (re)development design include permeable pavers, bioretention, soil restoration and decompaction, vegetated swales and tree plantings.


About Tivoli Lake Preserve

    The community expressed in Albany 2030 a desire to protect or improve the City's natural areas, enhance and grow its urban forest, and maintain existing habitats.  Tivoli Lake Preserve is one of the largest urban preserves in the City of Albany, and a landmark nature area for the West Hill and Arbor Hill Neighborhoods.  Tivoli Lake Preserve was established in 1975 by the City of Albany’s Common Council and Mayor Erastus Corning II.  Located between Livingston Avenue and North Manning Boulevard, Tivoli is over 70-acres of sanctuary, supporting a variety of habitats (such as wetlands, upland woods and grassy fields), which provide a home to many types of plants and animals. 

At the heart of this scenic property is Tivoli Lake, a former City reservoir, and a picturesque opportunity for fishing and Tivoli Lakeboating.  The Patroon Creek, a local tributary, flows along Tivoli's northern border on its way from the Albany Pine Bush Preserve to the Hudson River.

Though Tivoli Lake Preserve is a valuable resource for outdoor activity and science education, the property has become neglected and overgrown with invasive plants.  To spur community interest, the City has created a Visioning Plan, which offers collective ideas from the community on making the Preserve a safe and appealing destination to enjoy nature.  

Through funds provided by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the City is currently implementing various projects--from new trails and improved access to invasive species management--which will help transform Tivoli into a multi-faceted natural and engaging retreat.  

Projects Related to Improving Tivoli Lake Preserve
Daylighting Patroon Creek:  The Patroon Creek is enclosed in a narrow conduit when it enters Tivoli Lake Preserve.  The City is investigating daylighting Patroon Creek to help mitigate and control the negative impacts its enclosure has on the social and environmental quality of the Preserve.  

The Visioning Plan:  Transforming Tivoli Lake Preserve into a successful urban outlet for recreational activity and education, starts with a realistic conceptual park design that balances community interest and desired uses with environmental management and programming. 





Patroon Creek Daylighting Project

  Patroon Creek, a small urban tributary approximately 6.8 miles long, headwaters in Albany's Pine Bush Preserve and is the major hydraulic system of the Patroon Creek Subwatershed.  At present, Patroon Creek is enclosed in a conduit as it flows through the Tivoli Lake Preserve on its way to the Hudson River. Though Tivoli Lake Preserve is rich in natural attractions, it is underutilized by the community and is negatively impacted by a variety of issues associated with the enclosure of Patroon Creek.

Historically, the natural course of Patroon Creek has been altered many times by construction projects, dams and reservoirs and currently is used as a natural drainage for parts of Colonie, the City of Albany, Guilderland and Interstate I-90. 

The volume of water contributed to Patroon Creek (area surface runoff, natural storm events and other tributaries) often exceeds its capacity as it enters the narrow and aged conduit, creating fast and highly pressurized water flows that flood and washout trails, erode stream banks and destroy existing habitats. 

The City of Albany, in partnership with Albany County Sewer District, CDRPC, Creighton Manning Engineering and fellow stakeholders have completed a feasibility study for a green infrastructure design project to mitigate key water and infrastructure issues at Tivoli Lake Preserve, in accordance with Albany 2030.  This project involves multiple phases and is dependent on future funding sources.

Daylighting is the first phase to manage and control Patroon Creek, addressing flood hazards and other issues (protecting municipal infrastructure, severe bank erosion, habitat destruction) and the overall physical and visual appeal of the Tivoli Lake Preserve. Removing the aging clay pipe enclosure will also improve the environmental quality of Patroon Creek, Tivoli Lake and the surrounding watershed.

  This green infrastructure design project directly relates to priorities and interconnecting strategies outlined in Albany 2030 (e.g., control sources of negative environmental impact; address stormwater runoff; protect and restore our natural resources...) and leverage Albany’s reputation as a sustainable community.

Next Steps…

The City will continue to (re)introduce the Patroon Creek Daylighting Project to the public and provide updates as the project changes or moves forward.  Read the presentation and review the phases of the potential project areas, below.  All project partners and area stakeholders will continue to work together to procure funding for future construction. The City will also continue to foster support by coordinating efforts with other planning initiatives in the Preserve.

Tivoli Lake Preserve: Project Phases I - III Online Maps


Kate Lawrence, Sustainability Planner
Department of Planning & Development
200 Henry Johnson Blvd
(518) 465-6066


    Albany Waterfront

      The City of Albany is located on the western edge of the Hudson River in the Lower Hudson Watershed, a tidal estuary which makes up approximately 40% of the Hudson/Mohawk River Basin--one of the largest drainage areas on the eastern seaboard, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

    The Hudson River (and its tributaries) are major natural features that have shaped Albany's identity and urban footprint throughout its history.  Albany is privileged to have approximately 4.5 miles of waterfront, most of which is designated for recreational and entertainment activities... Erastus Corning Riverfront Preserve in North Albany, the Corning Riverfront Park in Downtown, and Island Creek Park in the South End… as well as, touring attractions such as, Dutch Apple Cruises and the Historic USS Slater

    And not to overlook this major economic driver in the South End--the Port of Albany offers significant employment and financial benefit to the Capital Region and New York State overall, generating millions of dollars in investments each year through cargo shipments, supplies and other commodities.

    Though the entire eastern border of Albany is distinguished by the Hudson River, utilizing the waterfront still remains a challenge for the City.  Albany’s access points have been extensively altered by private development, and are limited due to major highway and railway infrastructure barriers, built in general response to twentieth century suburban migration and a decline in the use of the Erie Canal.

    However, the City's focus to (re)connect with the waterfront and implement strategies outlined in Albany 2030, continues to be a major priority.  Access improvements and signage have been incorporated in the completed transportation updates at the Corning Riverfront Park (see the Corning Preserve Master Plan), and the Albany Skyway--a project to transform an underutilized highway ramp into an elevated park--is soon to move forward with an innovative multi-use concept that will bring pedestrians and cyclists from multiple neighborhoods to and from the waterfront.

    The City values the Hudson River for its influential force behind Albany's historic development, cultural expression and economic prosperity.  The Hudson is a natural environment that provides visitors and residents alike with a prime resource for recreation, for scenic beauty, and for a sense of place in the State of New York.  Therefore, the City will continue to look for opportunities to move forward with improvements that further develop commercial and recreational outlets, protect water quality and habitat environments, and create waterfront access and community connections to this amazing destination.


    Matt Wade Photography


    Local Waterfront Revitalization

      The Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) is a land- and water-use plan for the City of Albany’s Hudson River waterfront.  The LWRP was originally adopted in 1991 in partnership between the NYS Division of Coastal Resources (under the NYS Coastal Management Program) and the City of Albany, establishing policies and implementation techniques that balance (re)development, preservation and enhancement of natural and recreation areas along the City's waterfront.  The LWRP also provides a framework for ensuring consistency between local, State and Federal policies and decisions.

    Though several projects from the LWRP have already been implemented, the plan is in need of updating in accordance with priorities outlined in Albany 2030.  LWRP projects successfully completed:

    • Landscaping Lower Patroon Island Nature Preserve
    • Rehabilitation of Corning Preserve Comfort Station
    • Island Creek Waterfront Park
    • Hudson River Pedestrian Walkway from Downtown to Waterfront
    • Continuation of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike Trail

    Updates to the LWRP will address new issues, such as changes in climate and flooding patterns, underutilized Brownfields properties and access challenges.

    Key Issues

    Current review of the LWRP and analysis of existing data has identified certain key issues to overcome in improving waterfront and downtown connections.   

    • Access to the waterfront via all modes is constricted by physical barriers and confusing street patterns.
    • Vacant and underutilized properties provide opportunities, but also environmental and financial constraints to redevelopment.
    • Commercial services (refreshments, equipment rental, retail) are limited by a lease agreement with the State and Albany Port Commission.
    • Waterfront facilities (parking lots, sidewalks, boathouse) are in disrepair and reflect a poor image.
    • Improved marketing and promotion of waterfront events, activities, and businesses is needed.
    • Projected impacts of climate change (Hudson River rise and increased flooding) on waterfront development and infrastructure.

    Calendar of Events 
    Several steps are required to update the LWRP.  Public meetings have already taken place to discuss the LWRP and gather community input (December, 11, 2012 and February 25, 2013). 
    The updated LWRP is scheduled to be completed the Spring 2014. Provide your comments about the LWRP on our facebook or twitter (#AlbanyWaterfront) or post a comment below.

    Download the meeting presentations and maps of the waterfront below.

    LWRP Waterfront Advisory Committee
    City of Albany
    Albany Port District Commission
    Albany County
    Albany County Convention & Visitor’s Bureau
    Albany Rowing Center
    USS Slater Museum
    Riverfront Bar & Grill
    Downtown Albany BID
    NYS Canals Recreationway Commission

    See Draft Proposed Projects


    The Corning Preserve

    The Corning Preserve is a 15-acre landscaped waterfront, park, entertainment venue and natural habitat area, supporting native species of animals and plants along the Hudson River in Downtown Albany.

    The Corning Preserve is a major destination for urban and passive recreation, enjoyed by local residents and regional visitors alike. The Corning Preserve is the City's most direct outlet to the waterfront, offering opportunities for a variety of activity...