Speaker Carl Heastie today continued his annual statewide tour with stops in Utica with Assemblymember Marianne Buttenschon and Schenectady with Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara.
"One of the best parts of my statewide tour is being able to see all the great and unique things that are going on in every region of our state," Speaker Heastie said. "Today's stops gave me a chance to see a bit of everything, from Empire Recycling's long history of being green – even before that was a concept – to riding along the Canalway Trail to the Boys & Girls Club and Mont Pleasant Library who provide wonderful programs for the children of Schenectady. The Assembly Majority will continue to support programs that make our communities a destination for families and businesses."
The first stop on today's tour was Empire Recycling in Utica, where Speaker Heastie and Assemblymember Buttenschon were joined by Empire Recycling President Steve Kowalsky and Executive Vice President Ed Kowalsky. Established in 1916, Empire Recycling has been in the Kowalsky family for seven generations. Ahead of its time, at its inception they recycled rags, paper and metals. Now they are one of the largest family owned recycling centers for metal and paper in the country, supporting almost 200 employees.
Speaker Heastie and Assemblymember Buttenschon also took a bike ride down the Canalway Trail. The Canalway Trail follows sections of the New York State Canal System, with major portions along the Erie Canal. In addition to being a destination for bicycling and recreation, trailheads provide kiosks with information about the historic Erie Canal. The State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2017-18 Budget included a $200 million investment in the Empire State Trail, which includes the Canalway Trail.
The last stop in the 119th Assembly District was lunch at Aqua Vino, which is owned by Rob Esche, Utica Comets owner and former Philadelphia Flyers goalie, and his mother Beverly. Located in Utica's historic Harbor Point, the restaurant serves Italian-American cuisine and local Utica specialties like chicken riggies, tomato pie and Utica greens.
"It was an absolute pleasure and an honor to be able to show Speaker Heastie around today," Assemblymember Buttenschon said. "Here in Utica, we know the importance of going green, whether that's 100 years of recycling, preserving the natural beauty of the canal system or enjoying Utica greens."
Speaker Heastie then joined Assemblymember Santabarbara at the construction site of what will be a brand new Boys & Girls Club in Quackenbush Park, Schenectady. The new site will serve 300 young people, and feature a teen center, a commercial kitchen for providing meals and teaching culinary skills, a gymnasium and a game room. The new Boys & Girls Club is expected to open in September.
The last stop was the Mont Pleasant Library. The library offers programs for early childhood, adult and family literacy, financial and digital literacy, as well as other programs for children and adults of all ages. It opened in May 2019 on what was once the epicenter of crime in the neighborhood.
"I thank Speaker Heastie for his commitment to ensuring our children are able to grow and thrive in our communities," Assemblymember Santabarbara said. "Here in Schenectady we are doing everything we can to make that a reality. The Mont Pleasant Library is a testament to that dedication, and soon the new Boys & Girls Club will add to the support system for Schenectady's children and families."