When the Lantern Organization, Eric Galloway's not-for-profit in New York City, brought its plans for the project they call "Civic Hudson" before the ZBA and the Planning Commission last Wednesday, there was no mention of the Hudson Police Department and city court occupying the first two floors of the building. No uses at all were specified for the first two floors of the proposed building. When Planning Commission member Claudia DeStefano noticed reference to the police department on one of the drawings, Galloway attorney Mark Greenberg was quick to say, "That shouldn't be there."
This building was touted as the answer to prayer for the poor, fiscally challenged City of Hudson. Through Galloway's munificence, the City would be able to solve a problem it has been agonizing about, on and off, for more than a decade: how to improve its police and court facilities--something the State has been pressuring the City to do--without having to spend a few million dollars up front. Rick Scalera, perennial mayor of Hudson turned "special adviser" to the Galvan Foundation, hailed the plan as "innovative" and a model that other municipalities faced with the same challenges could follow. So what happened?
According to Gossips sources, the New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP) has indicated that it will not approve financing for the project in the face of opposition from the Hudson Police Department. Both Chief Ellis Richardson and the HPD rank and file have expressed objections to the plan that would locate the police station and city court in the same building with 35 low-income studio apartments occupied by formerly homeless adults. It is rumored that the Lantern Organization, apparently determined to built 33 to 35 such units somewhere in Hudson (the similarity of the Civic Hudson Project to the ill-conceived Starboard Project proposed a few years has already been noted), is now pursuing the idea of having all or part of the first two floors of the proposed building used for a walk-in clinic run by Columbia Memorial Hospital.