Sunday, February 17, 2019

About That Host Community Benefit Agreement

From the beginning, Stewart's has offered a host community benefit agreement as an enticement to get the Common Council to change the City's zoning to accommodate its desire to expand, but it has never been clear exactly what they were offering. 

Back in July, Alderman John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward), chair of the Common Council Legal Committee and the staunchest proponent of Local Law No. 5 of 2018, which changed the zoning, made it clear at a Legal Committee meeting and an informal Common Council meeting that he believed Stewart's would give Hudson some significant but undetermined amount of money which the City could use to revise the comprehensive plan and make comprehensive zoning revisions. "It is our job," Rosenthal told the public and his colleagues on the Council, "to engage [with 'corporate actors'] to our benefit."   

The law was passed. Stewart's got what it wanted and is now before the Planning Board for site plan approval for the expansion. But we still don't know exactly what Stewart's is offering by way of a community host benefit agreement. Some statements, though, made by Stewart's representative Chuck Marshall at last Thursday's Planning Board meeting may provide some hints. 

According to Marshall, "the host community benefit agreement is supposed to fund improvements to the intersection" of Green Street and Fairview Avenue. He spoke of negotiating with the Public Works and Parks Committee about what improvements would be included in the intersection. (The Public Works and Parks Committee is chaired by Eileen Halloran who from the beginning supported the Stewart's expansion because she saw it as a way to improve the intersection and address hydrology issues that plague that part of the city.) Marshall went on to say that Stewart's would only be required to pay 1 percent of the cost of improvements to the intersection, so if the improvements cost $100,000, Stewart's would have to contribute only $1,000, but Marshall assured the Planning Board, "Our contribution would be substantial"--not defining what he meant by substantial. There was no mention of money to fund a new comprehensive plan.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Dan Udell Was There

Congressman Antonio Delgado held a town hall meeting in Germantown this afternoon, and Dan Udell was there with his recording equipment. If you missed the meeting, or if you want to relive it, click here to view the video.

A point of interest: In talking about offices he has established throughout the district, Delgado said he was "looking at a space in Hudson."

The Great War: February 18, 1919

In the winter of 1919, those who had served in World War I were making their way back home. A feature called "Soldiers News" in the Columbia Republican regularly reported the return or anticipated return of area servicemen, but sometimes such news made the front page. Such was the case with the following item. I share it because the two men mentioned--Henry C. Galster and A. Tremaine McKinstry--were both the subjects of earlier posts in this series. Last January, Gossips published a letter from Galster to a friend in Hudson. In July, Gossips published a letter from McKinstry to his Aunt Nellie.

Here's a curiosity. My research so far has failed to find Henry C. Galster on any list of World War I recipients of the Victoria Cross.

Fixing the Zoning Code

Hudson's zoning code was adopted in 1968, when Hudson was a very different place.
Fifty years later, some problems with the code are obvious: setback requirements that prohibit new construction to replicate or be compatible with existing historic buildings, commercial buildings that can no longer be used for commercial purposes because they are located in residential districts, unrealistic requirements for offstreet parking. All these things keep the Zoning Board of Appeals very busy deliberating over applications both for area variances and for use variances. 

It would seem that the code could be amended to correct these obvious problems, but there was been reluctance to make amendments to the zoning codeexcept, most notably, the one made recently to accommodate the proposed Stewart's expansionin favor of holding out for comprehensive zoning revisions, which will cost tens of thousands of dollars the City allegedly does not have to spend for the purpose.

The Planning Board, however, seems willing to eschew the trepidation about doing things "piecemeal." At the end of its meeting last Thursday, the board discussed making a recommendation to the Common Council about relaxing some of the requirements in the city code for offstreet parking. Currently, hotels must provide one offstreet parking space for every room, and eating and drinking establishments must provide one offstreet parking space for every three seats. These requirements have demanded some pretty inventive solutions for many new enterprises, as well as any number of area variances from the ZBA. There are two projects currently before the ZBA for area variances because of parking. The plan to restore and develop the Park Place firehouses into a marketplace and tasting room for New York State craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries requires, according to the code, 25 offstreet parking spaces. The wine bar planned for 260 Warren Street requires 30 offstreet parking spaces. 

In the discussion on Thursday, Planning Board chair Walter Chatham observed, "We have an overflow of parking capacity," referring to the underutilized municipal parking lots located off Warren Street. He also expressed the opinion, "At the time the parking codes were written, if you had to walk more than ten feet [from your car to your destination], you were putting yourself in danger." That may have been the case in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but probably not in 1968 when the zoning code was adopted. It's more likely the motivation for the parking requirements was to keep Hudson's commercial businesses competitive with Greenport. 

In 1965, just three years before Hudson adopted its zoning code, the Healy Farm93 acres between Fairview Avenue (Route 9) and Union Turnpike (Route 66), just beyond Hudson's northern border—had been sold and was being developed as a shopping center, with acres of parking in close proximity to places of business. Given that circumstance, it's easy to attribute Hudson's parking requirements to a desire to ensure that parking for patrons of Hudson businesses was as convenient as that provided in Greenportthat goal coupled with no compunction about demolishing old buildings and creating parking lots in their stead. This house, the home of Elihu and Eliza Gifford, parents of the Hudson River School painter Sanford Robinson Gifford, was demolished during that era, in 1965, and its location turned into a parking lot.

In what may have been his last bit of advice as counsel to a Hudson regulatory board, assistant city attorney Mitch Khosrova told the Planning Board, "The quicker you make a recommendation to simplify the parking, the better."

Only a Week from Today

The Hudson Polar Plunge happens just week from today, on Saturday, February 23. The ten-day forecast promises weather quite suitable for taking the plunge--partly cloudy with temperatures above freezing throughout the day.

There is still time to register to take the plunge or to support those already committed to diving into the chilly waters of Oakdale Lake. To do either, click here.

Photo: Zach Neven
Immediately after the plunge, the Great Chili Cook-Off takes place at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street. A pot of fabulous chili is all that's needed to enter the competition. A hearty appetite and a taste for heat is all that's needed to participate in the consumption and the judging. Click here (and scroll down) or email Tamar Adler for details. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Tomorrow in Germantown

In the coming week, Congressman Antonio Delgado will hold six town halls in various places throughout the district. The first of those town halls will take place tomorrow, Saturday, February 16, right here in Columbia County. From 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., Delgado will be in Germantown at the Kellner Community Center, 65 Palatine Park Road. 

And Then There Was One

In 2017, the City of Hudson employed three attorneys: Ken Dow was the city attorney--"corporation counsel"; Andy Howard was counsel to the Council; and Mitch Khosrova was counsel to the Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Historic Preservation Commission. Beginning in January 2018, there were just two attorneys: Howard was city attorney, and Khosrova was assistant city attorney, counsel to the regulatory boards. This morning, Gossips received the following announcement from City Hall:
City of Hudson Mayor Rick Rector announced today that there have been revisions to the City's legal advisory group. Andrew Howard, Corporation Counsel for the City of Hudson, will be assuming the additional role as legal counsel to the City's three regulatory boards, which include the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and the Historic Preservation Commission.
This change will streamline the legal communication process for all city departments, agencies, boards and commissions. "Establishing a single voice for matters related to legal issues is something we have been evaluating and discussing for the past several months," said Mayor Rector.
"The community and I extend our thanks and appreciation to Mitchell Khosrova for his outstanding work with the three regulatory boards for the last few years," stated Rector. "Mitch has been loyal and consistent and will be missed."

Stewart's at the Planning Board

Last night, Chuck Marshall of Stewart's Shops made his first appearance at the Planning Board, seeking site plan approval for the new convenience store and gas station to be constructed at the corner of Green Street and Fairview Avenue.

The plan submitted to the Planning Board did not substantively differ from the plan submitted to the Common Council in January 2018, when Stewart's petitioned the Council to change the City's zoning to enable its plans to expand the store: two houses get demolished, a larger store is sited at the north end of the newly enlarged lot, the gas canopy with four fueling positions is out in front, and the store itself has the same gable design.

The application to the Planning Board, however, was accompanied by a cover letter to Planning Board chair Walter Chatham from Marshall, which, among other things, defended the gable roof design "mirroring the peaks of the surrounding residential buildings," explained why the gas tanks could not be hidden behind the building, and used Chatham's own words to laud the Stewart's plan: 
In a recent article on, I saw that your new favorite axiom is "the perfect shall not be the enemy of the good." I can't think of a more relevant planning and zoning re-development project than this one to prove the importance of that axiom.
In fact, it was a post on Gossips that reported Chatham's "new favorite axiom," which he had shared in reference to the design for the proposed Hudson Housing Authority project--a design he called "well-intentioned" because it "adopted a number of New Urbanism strategies."

Although Marshall considered the gable roof design compatible with the surrounding neighborhood because it "mirrored the peaks of the surrounding residential buildings," Chatham called it "countrified," saying the site required a more urban building type. He and Planning Board member Betsy Gramkow had identified another Stewart's model that would be more suitable for the site, one found on Hoosick Street in Troy. The following are Google images of that building.

The building appears to have two stories, but in fact the higher walls simply conceal HVAC equipment on the roof. Recognizing that compatibility has more to do with scale and proportion than with details like gables, Gramkow noted that all the surrounding buildings were at least two stories and those across the street--across both Fairview Avenue and Green Street--were on a slope, making them higher still, so the design with greater height was more appropriate. Marshall assured the board, "Tell me what you want, and I'll do my best to get as close as I can."

Various board members expressed concerns about lighting and driveways and landscaping and pedestrians. Chatham noted that the store building would buffer the adjacent house on Fairview Avenue but the adjacent house on Green Street would be completely exposed to the traffic at the gas pumps. Marshall explained there would be a grade change and a retaining wall. He suggested there might be a four-foot vinyl fence above the retaining wall to screen the site. Chatham suggested arborvitae.

Although the Planning Board has not determined the application to be complete, it was felt that public input should be heard early on in the process. For that reason, it was decided that a public hearing on the proposal would be held at the board's next meeting, on Thursday, March 14. At that meeting Creighton-Manning, the engineering firm that did the traffic study for the project, is also expected to appear to discuss that study with the Planning Board.

HCDPA and Its Land for Sale

Last year, HCDPA (Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency) decided to divest itself of most of the property it owns, to bankroll the agency and further its mission. In July 2018, a narrow lot on Columbia Street was sold to Shannan McGee. McGee, who owns the adjacent property, had been petitioning HCDPA for months to sell him the strip of land. The minimum bid had been set at $20,000; McGee's bid was $31,110.

Since then, HCDPA's attempts to sell its property have not been so successful. Last fall, HCDPA tried to sell the lot at 238 Columbia Street (now without the majestic tree), again by sealed bids. There were no bidders.

In January, HCDPA offered 238 Columbia Street for sale again, along with 202-206 Columbia Street, the parcel that was once half of a community garden. 

The sealed bids were to be submitted on February 14, and yesterday, at the monthly meeting of the HCDPA board, the bids were opened. There were no bids for the once hotly contested lot at the corner of Columbia and Second streets. For 238 Columbia Street, there were two bids: Per Blomquist, who plans to build two multi-unit buildings at 248-250 Columbia, offered $5,000 for the lot and indicated his intention to construct there a building similar to what he is planning for 248 and 250 Columbia; Matt Parker offered $3,000 and said he would build "a single-family house for affordable housing." 

Mayor Rick Rector, who sits ex officio on the HCDPA board, declared the bids a "crazy low price" and moved to reject both. (The lot is assessed for $32,000. When the lot was offered for sale last fall, the minimum bid was set at $30,000). The motion carried unanimously.

There was discussion of how the properties could be better marketed and questions about legal constraints for the agency in selling property, but no definite path forward was determined.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Last Night at the Hudson Housing Authority

The topic of the new buildings being proposed by the Hudson Housing Authority was introduced at last night's meeting with a statement by Randall Martin, the vice chair of the Board of Commissioners. Martin said that HHA was "taking time to reevaluate the project" and would "get back to the public regarding the State Street project." For the time being, he explained, the focus would be on the renovation of Bliss Towers.

In an effort to establish the need for more public housing in Hudson, the HHA board presented data gathered from the agencies in Hudson now providing publicly subsidized housing. That data is presented on the chart below.

Mary Ann Gazzola suggested that among the 1,386 names on the waiting lists there might be duplicates and then asked, "Are we housing our people or filling a regional need?" Her question seemed reasonable enough. She was curious to know if the people on the waiting lists were already part of the community or were seeking to move to Hudson from somewhere else. Although she didn't say it in so many words, Gazzola seemed concerned about Hudson, a very small city with a very small tax base, assuming responsibility for a disportionate number of people needing publicly subsidized housing. Citing the city planning game SimCity, she talked about the need for balance in urban development, noting that, in the game, which mirrors reality, overbuilding in any area causes a crash.

Daniel Hubbell, mixed finance development legal counsel for the project, honed in on Gazzola's use of the phrase "our people" and delivered a lecture on how, in the United States, people have the constitutional right to live where they want to live and spoke of putting constitutional protections at risk. He told Gazzola, "I don't find value in discussing 'our people.'" 

Mark Morgan-Perez quoted from the HUD website regarding waiting lists, which supported the idea that there could be a preference for people who are already residing in the community: 
Since the demand for housing assistance often exceeds the limited resources available to HUD and the local HAs [housing authorities], long waiting periods are common. In fact, an HA may close its waiting list when there are more families on the list than can be assisted in the near future.
Each HA has the discretion to establish preferences to reflect the needs in its own community. These preferences will be included in the HAs written policy manual.
Hubbell then conceded that "the board has heard the concerns and is rethinking the scope of the project."

When Don Moore asked about the process going forward, Hubbell said that the environmental studies had not yet been completed. He said that borings had been done on the north side of State Street--the site of the proposed new buildings--as well as at Bliss Towers. "The hope is still to renovate Bliss Towers," Hubbell explained, but they are "waiting for the environmental reports to come back." He also acknowledged that environmental tests were not the only reason the project has been suspended.

Just before the board went into executive session "to discuss Master Development Agreement (MDA and related development project matters," Common Council president Tom DePietro presented to the HHA board a list of eighty-seven properties owned by the City of Hudson. The list was presented in response to board chair Alan Weaver's challenges in the past that if the City didn't want more subsidized housing concentrated in the Second Ward, where HHA already owns property, it should donate alternative sites to HHA. What DePietro gave the board was the complete list of City-owned properties from the tax rolls, a list that includes city buildings and facilities and public parks but not very many viable building sites. DePietro encouraged the board to explore the entire list and added, "If HDC decides to plat the Kaz site, one of those [lots] could be available."

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Snow Removal Tonight

The temperature has risen to 40 degrees, and rain is predicted for this afternoon, so it's not clear how much snow will be left come nightfall, but the City has announced that snow removal will happen tonight. 

To avoid the risk of your car being towed, look for signs that indicate where not to park overnight. If there are no signs, follow the regular alternate side of the street rules and park on the even side of the street--tomorrow being an even day, February 14.

Columbia County's Sleeping Dragon: Part X

We've gotten to the penultimate article in Margaret Schram's series about Lake Albany clay. It seems particularly relevant in light of the report today that the developers of the proposed Hudson Housing Authority project are undertaking soil studies that "could alter the design or scope of the project." The following article appeared in The Independent on September 8, 1988.

Where the Dragon Sleeps Today 
Because there have been no major landslides since 1924, readers may think that our county's dragon no longer exists, but the highway departments of the state, county, and affected towns would be the first to disagree. Slippage along ridge roads built on Lake Albany clay are an ongoing problem according to these agencies. The major difficulties at present occur in the towns of Stockport and Stuyvesant and will be described in the next article. Mt. Merino Road in the Town of Greenport and Oak Hill Road in Livingston have continuing problems. As indicated on the accompanying map [shown below], Wire Road in the Town of Livingston, located between the Roeliff Jansen and Klein kills, should be endangered, but Supervisor Donald Kline reports no difficulties.

Activating Landslides
Roads left in their original, narrow, lightly surfaced condition would not be apt to slide. When more homes are built in an area, residents usually demand a wider, heavily paved road, which brings into play the factors that lead to landslides--weight and a change in drainage. Widening a road by adding fill to the edge of the hillside is one sure way of activating a slide. Since I started this series, I have been told of many sinking and shifting foundations in the City of Hudson, particularly in the northern and southern streets.
Prime Landslide Area 
A prime example of landslide potential is at the edge of the parking lot of the county building--constructed in 1924--now housing the sheriff's office and the health department on North Third Street. The area below the parking lot was the site of brickyards for over 100 years. Because of slippage, the guide rails have had to be moved more than a car length closer to the building.
A large crack in the pavement and the sinking of the surface near the hillside is typical of a lake clay bank just waiting to move. (The county health department was moved to this location after the building they were in on Allen Street had shifted to such a degree that it was eventually torn down.)
On a side street off Harry Howard Avenue, a group of fairly new homes have been built on a bank overlooking the same brickyard site. At least one house has some foundation problems.
Construction Problems 
The shaded, or dotted, areas on the map [above] indicate the large sections that contain beds of Lake Albany clay. A lack of slopes (sheer factor) precludes the danger of landslides, but if the deposits are deep, and they usually are, a myriad of problems exist related to construction. 
One concern is the inability of the clay soil to "perc" or absorb water. The traditional septic system, with tile drain field, cannot be placed in lake clay soils. In an area with sewer connections, builders do not have the problem, and alternative septic systems are available, but there are other difficulties with the Lake Albany clay.
Tremendous Pressure
Within the deposits are several layers, or strata, of different clays and silts. While the clays remain sticky, plastic and impermeable, water is flowing constantly through the non-clay strata. Obstruct these natural underground drainage flows by a large, deep "dam"--such as a below-ground foundation--and the water will create a tremendous pressure against the substructure.
Lake Albany clays hold water and have a tendency to shrink and swell. The high moisture content makes the soil very susceptible to severe frost action. None of these factors are conducive to maintaining a stable, in-ground foundation. In-ground pools within the deep clay soils are notorious for shifting and cracking. Some developments built in the lake clay are beginning to experience cracked foundations.
Of the buildings mentioned in "Prime Landslide Area," the section of this article that has to do specifically with Hudson, the first, of course, is the former Charles Williams School, now the location of the Second Ward Foundation. 

The house on Allen Street that Schram reported had to be demolished because its foundation had shifted is the house shown below, in photographs taken by Walker Evans in the early 1930s. It stood just west of the courthouse, at the end of West Court Street, where today there is a parking lot.

The house on the side street off Harry Howard Avenue with foundation problems is 6 Lucille Drive, about which Gossips has reported recently.


Change of Plan

Gossips reported a week ago that the Hudson Housing Authority had withdrawn its proposed project from review by the Planning Board and the project was likely to be a topic of discussion at this evening's meeting of the HHA Board of Commissioners.

Last night, Amanda Purcell reported on the status of the project on HudsonValley 360: "Hudson Housing Authority goes back to square one." In the article, HHA executive director, Tim Mattice is quoted as saying, "The developers are still undertaking a number of soil and engineering work [sic] that's not completed yet, which could alter the design or scope of the project. Once these studies are finalized, we will submit our final project plans and any other information earlier requested by the [Planning Board]." The article also reports that Mattice said HHA is "looking at ways to address concerns raised at public meetings by 'the mayor, city leaders and the public about the Housing Authority not including in their plans building scattered site developments of low-income housing throughout the city.'"

The meeting of the HHA Board of Commissioners takes place at 6:00 p.m. this evening in the Community Room at Bliss Towers, 41 North Second Street.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Columbia County's Sleeping Dragon: Part IX

The following article from Margaret Schram's series was published in The Independent on September 1, 1988.

The Claverack Landslides May 22, 1924
Like the other stories concerning landslides in Lake Albany clay, this account of the Claverack landslides begins with the same problem--a spell of prolonged rainfall. One of the peculiarities of this clay is its tendency to become unstable when saturated with water.
The local newspaper, on its front page, reported that the heavy rains had "interrupted the farmers' spring work, which had been seriously delayed by the continued wet conditions which had prevailed." The landslide occurred on the hill that rises just east of the bridge on Route 23B between the boundaries of Greenport and Claverack (the collapse of this bridge in 1918 was described in [a previous article]).
Hudson's Water
In 1924, the road, following the route of the earlier Columbia Turnpike, ran along the steep southern and western edge of the hill, overlooking the valley of the Claverack Creek. The 16-inch pipeline carrying water from Churchtown to the reservoirs in Hudson lay underground between the road and the rim of the hill. On Thursday morning, May 22, the southern slope of the hillside suddenly moved, sending an area of orchard land over 500 feet long and 300 feet wide crashing down into and beyond the Claverack Creek. The whole mass dropped 30 feet and left a sheer cliff. Forty to fifty apple trees in full bloom were carried away in the slide. (It was this same farm, but in a different location, where blossoming apple trees dropped ten feet in 1914.) 
The slide occurred on the right side of the road going toward Claverack; it left a perpendicular drop near the guard rails of the highway, and in some places, within two feet of the water line to Hudson.
The slide completely blocked the Claverack Creek, and the dammed water immediately began flooding the adjacent lands. The Knickerbocker Plant needed the water to operate, and further north, the Atlantic Mills in Stottville were in danger of having to shut down because of lack of water. Plant officials rushed the quarry blasting experts to the blocked area and some well-placed dynamite opened a channel and the creek flowed again.
The new creek bed changed a portion of the boundary line between the Towns of Claverack and Greenport. The creek had always been the boundary, but the slide had pushed the creek bed out, and the dynamiting had created a new course.
 Mass of Earth
That midnight a watchman reported that he feared the hill on the west side of the slide would go before morning. He said there were signs that a mass of earth containing 50 apple trees was moving. The highway department immediately made plans to move the road away from the hillside. The proposed road would cut through the land opposite the site, about 100 feet from the endangered road, cutting off a curve.
Hundreds of people from all over the county motored to see the sight; barricades were erected to prevent the curious from getting too close. On Saturday night another large piece of earth along the highway slid away. On Sunday, 2,000 to 3,000 sightseers visited the scene.

Three Days of Water
The city fathers of Hudson were in a panic. Another slide would carry away the water line. The Mt. Ray reservoirs held only a three-day supply; the the city would have to pump from the river. At an emergency meeting on May 23 the commissioner of public works was told to wire for additional pipe and to rush the city's 50 feet of extra pipe to the scene.
Ironically, they then set about doing the one thing that would assure another landslide. In order to stabilize the pipe, they brought in tons of fill and spread it around the pipeline on top of the perpendicular cliff "to make it as secure as possible." Today, geologists and engineers recognize that adding weight to the top of a clay cliff will exacerbate a landslide.
800 Tons of Earth   
On Tuesday night, it rained again. Predictably, on the following day, at 5:00 in the afternoon, 80 tons of earth broke away from the side of the roadway and tumbled down the bank, bringing the water main even closer to the edge. More ominously, a crack in the earth appeared almost through the middle of the roadway, well beyond the pipeline. The temporary barrier along the side of the road had to be moved to the middle of the road, making it one-way.  
With approval from the State Commission of Highways, the relocation of the road began immediately, with the route placed 80 feet to the west.
The new pipe for the Hudson waterline arrived on the 28th and work was begun to install the new line adjacent to the new highway. A total of 1,000 feet of new pipe was laid, extending from near the brow of the hill on the eastern side of the Claverack Creek.

Watch for Yourself

Last night's informal Common Council meeting was fairly uneventful and over in less than half an hour, but Dan Udell was there, and you can watch his video of the meeting by clicking here.


Selling Foreclosed Properties

At last night's Common Council meeting, two resolutions having to do with property owned by the City of Hudson, as a consequence of foreclosure for nonpayment of property taxes, were introduced. The first resolution pertains to 6 Lucille Drive. 

In October 2017, the house was one of the properties offered for sale at auction by the City. The minimum bid--the amount owed in back taxes--was $16,512.40. There were no bids on the property.

In December 2018, the Common Council passed a resolution to take $15,000 from the fund balance to reimburse the Department of Public Works for demolishing the building. The demolition has not yet taken place, and the City recently received an offer to buy the house for $8,000. At last night's informal Council meeting, a resolution was introduced to sell the house in "as is" condition to the people who offered to buy it to for $8,000.

Photo: Rich Volo

Photo: Rich Volo
Interestingly, although the house is considered by the neighbors to be an an eyesore and a potential hazard, no mention is made in the resolution of any requirement or expectation that the new owners will demolish it.

That other property owned by the City that is the subject of a resolution before the Common Council is a vacant lot on Spring Street. This property was also included in the October 2017 auction, with a minimum bid of $7,384.15, and it was sold for that amount at the auction. Somehow, though, the City ended up still owning it. The resolution now before the Council authorizes placing a "For Sale" sign on the property. It's unclear how much good that will do. Spring Street is a dead end without a lot of drive-by traffic.

The Council will be voting on both resolutions at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 19. The resolution to sell 6 Lucille Drive requires a three-quarters majority; the resolution to put a "For Sale" sign on the vacant lot on Spring Street requires a simple majority.

This Just In

For anyone who was planning to attend, Gossips has learned that the Hudson IDA meeting scheduled for this afternoon has been canceled because of the impending snowstorm.

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Great War: February 11, 1919

A hundred years ago, the soldiers who had fought in World War I were making their way back home. A column in the Columbia Republican called "Soldiers News" regularly reported that one soldier or another with roots in Columbia County had sailed from France and was on his way home. Hudson was planning a great "Welcome Home" celebration for "all the Hudson boys who went out from here." On February 11, 1919, the Columbia Republican reported on the first meeting held to plan the big event.

The first gun in the campaign to prepare a real "Welcome Home" for all the Hudson boys who went out from here into the service and for all members of Company F, whether from Hudson or not, was fired Friday night when the general celebration committee held a meeting in the Common Council chamber.
Former Mayor Wortman was elected chairman and Charles W. Clapper, secretary and treasurer. The chairman then outlined the plans for the celebration, the date of which will depend upon the arrival home of the soldier boys, the opinion being pretty general that it will be several months before a date can be set.
On the first evening, the plan proposed is to have a banquet in the City Hall with speakers and music; on the next afternoon will be the big parade, which it is expected will surpass anything ever seen in Hudson. There will be at the center of attraction the soldier boys, then visiting companies of all kinds, bands galore and organizations from Hudson and points far and near. That evening there will be a vaudeville show in the playhouse, the bill to be made up of the best artists obtainable in the country. This will be followed by a ball at the armory which will bring the festivities to a close. The soldier boys are to be the guests of the people thruout the two days and they will have a monopoly of the big things that are being arranged.
The chairman stated that a big sum of money would be needed to swing the affair of which $850 was already in the treasury. He said it was hoped that it would not be necessary to pass any subscription papers as the plan was to raise the money by a series of entertainments to be held from time to time before the date of the celebration.
All home coming soldiers are to be requested to register at the City Clerk's office and all who have moved or may move away from Hudson are requested to leave their mail address with the City Clerk.
The entire program is to be prepared solely for the pleasure of the soldier boys who will be the guests of honor thru it all, the citizens' part being confined to seeing that they miss nothing and have a good time.
There was a most representative turnout at the meeting and several matters of detail were discussed, most of them left to the different committees to settle.
Eight committees were formed to plan the event: Finance, Publicity, Decorating, Banquet, Parade and Public Concert, Floats, Theatre and Dance, Executive. Curiously, each of the committees was made up entirely of men except for the Floats committee, which was made up entirely of women.