The Village of Colonie is one of the most strategically located municipalities in the State of New York. Its nearness to Albany International Airport, the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, the Northway and the Thruway, the picturesque Catskill and Adirondack Mountains, and its location within the triangle of Albany, Schenectady, and Troy make the Village a vital business and residential community in which to live and work. The Village was officially incorporated on March 2, 1921. Under the leadership of its first mayor, Charles H. Collins, the Village borrowed $500 to defray the expenses of incorporation, created the Office of Police Justice, set a tax rate of $3.00 per $1,000 assessed valuation, and established a budget of $1,285. In the decades that followed, each presiding Mayor and Board of Trustees initiated improvements, expanded services and programs, faced challenges as well as triumphs and molded the Village into a “place to be proud of.”
Today, the 3.3 square mile Village has some 3,200 properties and a business-lined corridor of Central Avenue from the East side of Route 155 to the West side of Wolf Road. In the 1920’s, Mayor Nordin J. Shambrook improved Albany Schenectady Road and “raised” significant monies – more than $20,000 – from the collection of speeding fines before speed traps were removed from each end of the Village. The 1930’s welcomed the incorporation of the Village Fire Company and the budget grew to more than $16,000. The decade of the 1940’s ushered in the purchase of water from the Latham Water District for all Village residents, bus service between Albany and Schenectady was put into effect, Lincoln Avenue was paved and the Zoning Commission was authorized to protect the Village from undesirable buildings. The era of the fifties saw population expansion in the Village as well as the budget increasing to nearly $100,000 to meet the growing demands of Village taxpayers.
The 1960’s were ushered in with a tie vote in the election of trustees between Edward Mahoney and William Cook. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court ruled that the choosing of the trustee would be done by lots. A deck of cards was produced — William Cook drew a jack of diamonds and Edward Mahoney drew the eight of diamonds. Thus, by the luck of the draw, William Cook became a trustee. He went on to become Mayor and served in that post until his retirement in 1971. Growth in both size and delivery of services accelerated during the 1960’s and into the 1970’s. During this time, the Village Planning Commission was established, land was purchased to create Cook Park, the new Village Hall was dedicated, ground was broken for the sanitary sewer system, and a fire ladder truck was purchased to provide service to multi-storied buildings along Wolf Road. These achievements added to the comfort of residents as well as increased property value. It should be noted that although the Village budget had increased significantly, taxes remained reasonable and equitable – something that had become a tradition of the Village. As the 1980’s unfolded, the Village played a vital role in the development of the Golden Mile – Wolf Road. Mayor Herbert B. Kuhn focused on the beautification of the Village and its future plan for growth and prosperity as the new millennium approached.
Throughout the 1990’s and the beginning of the 21st Century, Mayor Frank A. Leak guided the Village along a path of fiscal responsibility. He focused on the expansion of facilities and services, and on the welfare and safety of children and seniors in the community. Mayor Leak served for 24 years and ultimately managed an over-all budget of more than $7-million. Under his long-tenured leadership, more than 8,000 Village residents benefitted from snow removal, fire protection, senior and youth outreach programs, parks and recreational facilities and sewer and water services. As a force within the community, Frank Leak was proud of all the programs and facilities that were created under his watch, especially the Amphitheater for the Arts that bears his name. Due to health reasons, Mayor Frank A. Leak stepped down in October, 2019 and the Board of Trustees appointed Edward Sim as Acting Mayor. In less than three months, Ed Sim and the Board of Trustees were confronted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. History will show that the Village of Colonie leadership carried on during this difficult time with a renewed strength to focus on the health and safety of the entire community. In September of 2020, voters turned out in unprecedented numbers to elect Thomas J. Tobin as the new mayor. Tom Tobin had served as a trustee since 1998 and as deputy mayor from 2001 to 2015. Mayor Tobin and his Board of Trustees are committed to leading the Village residents safely forward out of this Pandemic and to sustain the Village as a “place to be proud of” today, tomorrow, and into the future.
1950 Photograph of the original Village Hall, located at 1649 Central Ave. This building originally housed all the departments including the Village Hall, Village Court, DPW & the original Fire Department Kiliaen Van Rensselaer Fire Company. The name of the department was later changed in the late 1930’s to the Colonie Fire Company Inc.
Newly constructed Village Hall in 1970 at its current location at 2 Thunder Road.