Rumor has it that there's an American Cruise Lines ship docked in Catskill again. It turns out that Catskill alternates with Kingston as one of the ports of call on an eight-day/seven-night cruise on the Hudson River that begins and ends in New York City. One of the planned shore excursions when in Catskill is coming across the river to visit Olana, which raises the question: Why not dock in Hudson? The obvious answer, of course, is that there's no place for a cruise ship like this to dock in Hudson.
Last Tuesday, the Common Council may have taken action to change that when they approved a resolution to appropriate money for a docks project on our waterfront. The project will expand the City dock, where the Spirit of Hudson is moored, to twice its current size, presumably making room for small cruise ships like the ones used by American Cruise Lines, and will create docks for 20 to 25 small boats—kayaks and other small craft known as "car-toppers"—to tie up in the old ferry slips in Henry Hudson Riverfront Park. The City has $250,000 in grant money for the project. The resolution authorized $250,000 in loans (the money must spent and then reimbursed) and appropriated $76,000 from the fund balance to finance the project, which will cost a total of $326,000.
The resolution was introduced at the regular meeting of the Common Council by Council President Don Moore, and the Council was asked to vote on it that night. (Typically, a resolution is introduced at the informal meeting of the Council and voted on at the regular meeting, giving the aldermen a week to consider what's proposed in the resolution before having to vote on it.) Before the vote, there was a question and some misgiving. Alderman Geeta Cheddie (First Ward) wanted to know if the project was part of the LWRP. She was told that although the project is not specifically outlined in the LWRP, it is in conformity with the expressed goals of the document. Alderman Ohrine Stewart (Fourth Ward) said she didn't want to vote on the resolution without hearing from the treasurer. She was assured that, although not present at the meeting, Eileen Halloran was fully aware of the project and supported the expenditure. In the end, the Council voted unanimously to pass the resolution.
The urgency about passing the resolution, it seems, was because City government wants to begin construction on the docks in the slips this year. Mayor Rick Scalera explained that the structural supports—the piers that go into the riprap and the arms that extend out into the slip—will be installed this year. The actual docks will be purchased next year and "snapped into place" in the spring. There was no information about the schedule for expanding the city dock.
The question is: How will luxury cruise ships and recreational craft like docking in close proximity to the barges being loaded up with tons of gravel at the Holcim dock, right at the park's southern edge?