July 22, 2005: Pat Kelly of Albany, New York died on July 21st of cancer. Pat was one of the founders of, and the principle force behind, the
Park South Walk & Watch. She was also active in the Park South
Neighborhood Association. Pat was in her 60's and had lived and
worked in Park South for more than four decades. She loved her
neighborhood. She knew every inch of it. Her commitment to it
was unshakable. Though a tenant who could have left at any time,
Pat stuck by Park South as it became blighted by crime and
neglect. She worked hard to reverse that decline. She also
defended Park South in the last few years when the city of Albany
launched a redevelopment plan that involved the use of eminent
domain. Pat, more than anyone, wanted Park South to be
revitalized. But in her words, "Bulldozers are not the answer."
Pat was the heart of Park South. She was everything good about
blue collar neighborhoods. Though she appeared gruff at times,
and could face down threats by drug dealers, slumlords and
politicians (all of which she received) Pat had a kind and
loving soul. She organized Christmas toy drives for the
neighborhood children and tried to help provide them with
activities other than hanging out on the street. She was a total
softy for stray cats. When a building she'd lived in when the
neighborhood thrived burned down, Pat sat on the curb and cried.
As much for the building's slide downhill as for its sudden
demise. One of the things that bothered Pat most about crime was
how fear of it limited the lives of the neighborhood's elderly
residents. All of whom she knew.
When Pat walked down the street all kinds of people would come up
to her and tell her about problems they were having with things
such as druggies hanging on their stoop or garbage left on the
street. Pat would listen, sympathize and provide practical
advice. And encourage them to become involved with changing the
neighborhood. Saying not to give up or move out. Park South
could be saved.
Pat Kelly had many many friends from many walks of life. Park
South relied on her strength and presence. It's hard to imagine
the neighborhood without her. But then, I doubt if Pat's spirit
has really left. She loved Park South that much...
Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff
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