M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives


Finding Aid for the
PAPERS, 1966-2002 (bulk 1996-2002)

For reference queries contact Grenander Department Reference staff or (518)-437-3931

Finding Aid Compiled by
Aimee Morgan
March 2005

The arrangement and description of this collection was made possible through a New York State Archives Documentary Heritage Program Arrangement and Description Grant.


M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives 
University Libraries / University at Albany / State University of New York
1400 Washington Avenue / Albany, New York 12222 / (518) 437-3935

VOLUME: 2.6 cubic ft., 4 videotapes

ACQUISITION: All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by Jeanne Casatelli in November 2002.

ACCESS: Access to this record group is unrestricted.

COPYRIGHT: The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.


Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Series Descriptions

Box and Folder List:

Jeanne Casatelli
Biographical Sketch

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Jeanne Casatelli is a native of East Greenbush, New York, who has fought sprawl in her hometown for more than twenty years. She is a founding member of East Greenbush's Community Action Network, a grassroots organization whose stated purpose is "to promote good planning and the protection of natural, historic, and civic resources in accordance with principles espoused as Smart Growth, New Urbanism, and Quality Community."[1]

One of CAN's most visible activities was their campaign to prevent the widening of a stretch of U.S. Route 9 and 20, also known as the Columbia Turnpike, which passes through East Greenbush. New York's Department of Transportation (DOT) wanted to widen the road by a total of 34 feet, converting it from four lanes to five lanes. Casatelli and CAN argued that DOT's plan was not in keeping with new regulations that favored context sensitive design for highway projects, nor with the recommendations of Lt. Governor Mary Donahue's Quality Communities Task Force. CAN saw the rebuilding of Route 9 and 20 as an opportunity to develop a community-oriented "main street" in the suburban town of East Greenbush, which lacked a traditional town center. They argued that the road could be redesigned to comply with DOT's safety requirements without being widened to five lanes, and sought the input of nationally-renowned highway designers to support their position. CAN's campaign was unsuccessful, and the road was widened.

Casatelli is also involved in Citizens for Riverfront Action, an organization dedicated to protecting and providing access to the Hudson River in Rensselaer.


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1. Community Action Network of East Greenbush Statement of Purpose, undated, Series 2, Box 1, Folder 5.

Jeanne Casatelli
Scope & Content Note

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The papers document Casatelli's interest in issue-based grassroots organizations in the late 1990s and early 2000s through her involvement in Community Action Network (CAN). CAN opposed the widening of U.S. Route 9 and 20 in East Greenbush through a vigorous campaign of public education and political action. The papers provide near-complete documentation of this campaign, including letters, e-mail, press releases, position papers, contact lists, and notes.

Information on another organization of which Casatelli was a member, Citizens for Riverfront Action (CRA), is limited to CRA's involvement in coordinating Scenic Hudson's Great River Sweep in the community of Rensselaer.

Not included in this collection are Casatelli's files on CAN's effort to save the Defreest-Church house from destruction by developers. The house, which was constructed in the 1830s, was eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places because of its links to the Anti-Rent War of the mid 1800s. It was demolished in November 2002 to make way for a Target store parking lot. Casatelli transferred her files on the Defreest-Church house to the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter for use in potential litigation.

Since both CAN and CRA are grassroots organizations, there is virtually no information on organizational structure or membership, and no formal records of meetings. One exception is an undated statement of purpose for CAN in Series 2, Box 1, Folder 5.

Several collections in the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives provide further information on the environmental issues that were of concern to Casatelli. A complete list of collections is available at the subject guide for Conservation and the Environment.

Jeanne Casatelli
Series Descriptions

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Series 1: Route 9 and 20, 1997-2002, undated, 1 cubic ft., Arranged alphabetically

This series includes extensive correspondence, e-mail, press releases, position papers, notes, and other documents related to CAN's campaign against the widening of Route 9 and 20. Much of the correspondence is outgoing and addressed to political leaders, including Governor George Pataki, Lt. Governor Mary Donahue, State Senator Joseph Bruno and his staff, and East Greenbush Town Supervisor Bob Angelini. There is also some correspondence with highway engineers from whom Casatelli sought support for a redesign of NYS-DOT's plan for Route 9 and 20. Several folders contain printed copies of e-mail. Most of these e-mails do not contain full headers with date and recipient information. In many cases it is impossible to determine when or to whom individual e-mails were sent. At the end of the series are several oversized items, including posters and a map reflecting community ideas for the redesign of Route 9 and 20.

Series 2: Subject Files, 1966, 1984, 1992-2002, undated, 1 cubic ft., Arranged alphabetically

This series contains files on various areas of concern to Casatelli and the activist groups with which she was involved. There is extensive information on topics relevant to the campaign against Route 9 and 20, such as road design, smart growth, and suburban sprawl. Other subjects include the Hudson River, waterfront access in Rensselaer County, and East Greenbush political life.

There is one folder on Scenic Hudson's Great River Sweep. The River Sweep was a grassroots event coordinated by volunteers in local communities along the Hudson River. Volunteers from these communities cooperated to remove debris from the river. Casatelli and her Citizens for Riverfront Action coordinated the Great River Sweep in Rensselaer from 1998-2000. The Scenic Hudson Great River Sweep folder contains correspondence, press releases, financial records, and other documents related to the local River Sweep.

Series 3: News Clippings, circa 1996-ca. 2002, .4 cubic ft., Partially processed; not arranged

This series consists of news clippings on topics of interest to Casatelli. Duplicates have been removed from the series, but the clippings have not been arranged further. Many clippings relate to the Route 9 and 20 widening issue. Sources for the clippings include the Albany Times-Union, the Rensselaer Beacon, and the Independent. There are also some clippings on highway design and other environmental issues from newspapers in other regions, as well as clippings on Scenic Hudson's Great River Sweep event.

Series 4: Photographs and Moving Images, circa 1999-2001, .2 cubic ft. Arranged by format

This series contains 29 color snapshots depicting Route 9 and 20 in East Greenbush. Although the photographs are undated, they probably date from 1999-2001.

There are also four VHS videocassettes:

"Rennselaer [sic] River Sweep and Urban Sprawl." Two WTEN-TV news reports on the 2000 River Sweep event. These reports aired at 6 P.M. and 11 P.M. on April 29, 2000. Also included is a WRGB-TV report on suburban sprawl in the Capital District, focusing on town meetings in Milton (Saratoga County) and Troy. This report aired at 11 P.M. on May 23, 2000. Running time is 7 minutes, 36 seconds.
"Route #303 The Visioning Process: Smart Growth and Public Health." There are two identical videocassettes containing this program. It documents a community-oriented approach to planning for development of the Route 303 corridor in Rockland County, New York, and includes footage of community meetings. Running time is 29 minutes, 38 seconds.
"Scenic Hudson: The Great River Sweep." Produced by Scenic Hudson in 2000, this program provides a brief overview of Hudson River conservation issues and the Great River Sweep Event. It is narrated by author Toni Morrison, and includes interviews with actor William Hurt and folk singer/activist Pete Seeger. Running time is 7 minutes, 5 seconds.

Series 5: Electronic Records, 2000-2001

This series is comprised of three PowerPoint presentations and three video clips, most of which are related to a community-oriented sustainable development study on Route 303 in Rockland County, New York. It is likely that Casatelli saw this study as a model, which could be applied to redesigning Route 9 and 20. The two video clips on Route 303 duplicate footage found on the Route 303 video in series 4. The third video clip is a brief interview of Don Chen, founding director of Smart Growth America. The sound is very low in this clip and difficult to hear.

The files were originally located on two recordable compact discs. They have been copied to a University Libraries' server for preservation reasons.

Jeanne Casatelli Papers
Box and Folder List

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Series 1: Route 9 and 20, 1997-2002, undated

Box 1

1. Addresses of Homes and Business on Route 9 and 20, undated
2. Conceptual Stage Relocation Plan, U.S Route 9 and 20, circa 1997
3. Contact List, circa 1998-ca. 2001
4. Correspondence, 1997-1998
5. Correspondence, January-June 1999
6. Correspondence, July-December 1999
7. Correspondence, 2000
8. Correspondence, January-February 2001
9. Correspondence, March-April 2001
10. Correspondence, May-June 2001
11. Correspondence, July-December 2001
12. Correspondence, 2002, undated
13. Correspondence, Department of Transportation, 1998-1999, 2001
14. Department of Transportation, Route 9 and 20 Newsletter, Issue 3, 1999
15. E-Mail, 1999-2002
16. E-Mail, 1999-2002
17. E-Mail, undated
18. E-Mail, undated
19. Final Design Report/ Environmental Assessment, 1999
20. Notes, circa1998-ca. 2001
21. Notes, circa 1998-ca. 2001
22. Parcel Maps, Route 9 and 20 Properties, undated
23. Petitions, 1997-2001
24. Position Papers, Fact Sheets, and Fliers, 1998-2001
25. Press Releases, 1997-2001
26. Project Location Map, undated
27. Proposal Buildout Images, undated
28. Proposal and Placement Plan, First Draft of Colombia Turnpikes Transportation Management System, 1998
29. Public Hearing on 9 and 20 Proposal, Transcript, 1998
30. Report from the Public on the Rt. 9 and 20/Colombia Turnpike Project, 1998
31. Signalized Intersections Input Worksheets, undated
32. Survey of Route 9 and 20 Business Owners, undated

Oversize Box 1

1. Community Action Network, Route 9 and 20 Posters, undated
2. Route 9 and 20, Maps and Plans, undated

Jeanne Casatelli
Box and Folder List

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Series 2: Subject Files, 1966, 1984, 1992-2002, undated

Box 1

1. Articles, Miscellaneous, 1998-2001, undated
2. BASF, 2002, undated
3. Capital District Transportation Committee, 2001
4. Community Action Network of East Greenbush, Statement of Purpose, undated
5. Community Image Survey, 2001
6. Context Sensitive Design, 1998-1999, 2001
7. Contributors to Senator Joseph Bruno's Campaign, 2001
8. Defreestville Area Neighborhoods Association, 2000, undated
9. East Greenbush, Boat Launch, 1997-2000
10. East Greenbush, Politics, 1999, 2001
11. Energy, Alternative Sources, 2000
12. Friends of Hudson/St. Lawrence Cement Project, 2002
13. A Good Place To Live, Terry Pundell, Excerpts, undated
14. Greater Capital Region Teacher Center, 1995, 2001
15. Healthy Heart Program, New York State Department of Health, 2001
16. Hudson River and Hudson River Valley, 1995-2001
17. Miscellaneous, circa 1996-ca. 2001
18. National Register of Historic Places, undated
19. New York State Department of State, Publications, 1998, 2000
20. New York State Governor's Office, Press Releases, 1998, 2001
21. New York State, History and Facts, undated
22. New York State Tourism, Brochures, and Postcards, undated
23. Northern Adirondack Revitalization Initiative, Briefing Paper, undated
24. Planning Commissioners' Journal, Articles, 1992-1994,1996-1997
25. Project for Public Spaces, Inc., 2000
26. Property Rights Foundation of America, 2000
27. Quality Coasts, Quality Communities, Waterfront Rediscovery Conference, 2001
28. Quality Communities, Demonstration Program and Task Force, 2000-2001
29. Quality Communities, Quality Coasts Conference, Brochure, 2002
30. Rensselaer, 1996-2001
31. Rensselaer County 1791-1966, Excerpts, circa 1966
32. "Rensselaer: The Right Side of the River" Campaign, 1994
33. Rensselaer Waterfront, 1997-1998
34. Riverview Road, Rexford, 1999
35. Road Design, 1984, 1997-1999, 2001
36. Scenic Hudson, Great River Sweep, 1998-2000, undated
37. Smart Growth, 1995-2002, undated
38. Smart Growth, Urban Advantage circa 2001
39. Surface Transportation Policy Project, 1996, 1998, 2001
40. Urban Design Group, circa 2000
41. Walkable Communities Inc., circa 2000
42. Walkable Communities, Slide Presentation, undated
43. Website Printouts, Miscellaneous, 2001
44. Westchester Land Trust, 2001, undated

Jeanne Casatelli
Box and Folder List

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Series 3: News Clippings, circa 1996-2002

Box 1

News Clippings, circa 1996-2002

Jeanne Casatelli
Box and Folder List

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Series 4: Photographs and Moving Images, circa 1999-2001

Box 1

Photographs of Routes 9 and 20, East Greenbush [29 items], circa 1999-2001

Box 2

"Rennselaer [sic] River Sweep and Urban Sprawl," VHS Videocassette, 2000
"Route #303 The Visioning Process: Smart Growth and Public Health," 2 VHS Videocassettes, undated
"Scenic Hudson: The Great River Sweep," VHS Videocassette, Roadrunner Production Services, undated

Jeanne Casatelli
Box and Folder List

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Series 5: Electronic Records, 2000-2001

"303." Video clip, MPEG format. Video title: "The Route 303 Sustainable Development Study, Rockland County, New York." 7 min., 36 sec. Copyright 2000, Rockland County. Last modified 31 May 2000.
"303Charette." Video clip, MPEG format. Video title: "Route 303 Sustainable Development Study: The Visioning Process." 6 min., 20 sec. Last modified 5 February 2001.
Untitled file. Video clip, MPEG format. Interview of Don Chen, founding director, Smart Growth America, 2 min, 5 sec.
"Charette Presentation." Microsoft PowerPoint file. 24 slides. Last modified 21 April 2001.
"Route 303 Challenges Presentation." Microsoft PowerPoint file. 18 slides. Last modified 20 April 2001.
"Route 303 Slideshow." Microsoft PowerPoint file. 18 slides. Last modified 20 April 2001.

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Last updated February 7, 2006