On Monday, October 28, Project Manager at Campus Planning and Facilities Design Barbara Nelson ’80 was awarded the Troy Treasure award at the Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program/Rensselaer County Housing Resources annual dinner. The Troy Treasure award goes to “an individual, group, or business who is passionately committed to improving Troy, toils in his or her neighborhood out of a love of community, and demonstrates his or her hometown pride in Troy in very positive and real ways,” according to the TRIP website.
Joe Fama of TAP Inc. introduced Nelson’s accomplishments. Nelson, originally from California, graduated from RPI with a degree in architecture in 1980 and became licensed to practice architecture in 1983. Nelson worked for TAP for six years, starting in 1980, when TAP was renovating houses in the Hillside North area. Hillside North is bounded by Hoosick Street on the south, Ingalls Avenue on the north, and 8th and 10th Streets on the west and east, respectively. In 1992, she came back to RPI as a campus planner and project manager and has played a major role in projects such as the East Campus Athletic Village as well as being an adjunct professor in the School of Architecture. Nelson was also on the Troy Planning Commission from 1998–2004 and is currently the chairman. She has also done many other activities to improve Troy, such as chairing Transport Troy and volunteering as an art teacher. Nelson has won other awards. Fama commended Nelson for all the work she has done.
Fama noted Nelson’s unfailing enthusiasm, citing the Alley Action project, which fills Troy’s alleys with art. He presented Nelson with her award as 10th Troy Treasure: a painted flower vase symbolizing Nelson as “a transplant who is prospering.”
In her acceptance speech, Nelson said that Fama was the person who introduced her to community engagement. She talked about what had inspired her, expanding upon how the citizens own the streets, parks, and other public spaces. She noted that many people had been working hard to make Troy a better place. Nelson also stated that while on the planning commission, she had seen many great projects. She commented that, while Troy might have a great deal of substandard housing, more good housing for low-income families is needed, and for that, she thanked TRIP. Nelson also noted that RPI has a similar award to Troy Treasure for staff members, the Pillar of Rensselaer award, and mentioned that several of her colleagues present had received that award.
In addition, founder of the Ark Community Charter School, Mary Theresa Streck, was honored with the 2014 Community Citizenship Award. Also present and speaking were RCHR Board President Michael Danforth, TRIP Board President Joseph Fleming, TRIP Executive Director Patrick Madden, and Rensselaer County Executive Honorary Kathleen Jimino.