Monday, May 5, 2014

"I've Got to Admit It's Getting Better": Part 5

The 1965 Comprehensive Development Plan divided Hudson's riverfront into four sections: North Bay, Promenade Hill, South Bay Inland, and South Bay Waterfront. Today, we review the analysis and proposals for the final section: South Bay Waterfront.

South Bay Waterfront
The railroad was not laid at the water's edge as it came north towards Ferry Street, and a dry strip remains between the railroad and river. Today, it is the only remaining land in Hudson with river access, and it should therefore be carefully husbanded.
Along the South Bay riverfront there are basically only three valuable uses of the waterfront today: Universal Atlas Cement Company (which owns over one hundred acres of South Bay swamp and riverfront) ships by truck, rail and barge from this location; Tidewater Oil barges use the northernmost of four existing slips; and the Hudson Power Boat Club uses the old steamship pier, just south of Ferry Street.
In between these uses are vacant acreage, abandoned sidings, dilapidated garages and other structures.
Proposals.  To the west of the railroad in South Bay, the following improvements are suggested: The Ferry Street bridge over the railroad tracks should be supplemented by an additional vehicular crossing if the potential of the waterfront is to be realized. It is possible to drive across the railroad tracks at what used to be known as Broad Street, but a gate and signal should be installed for safety. Broad Street is conveniently located for access to the proposed marina and other uses west of the railroad tracks. It will be a valuable adjunct to the proposed road crossing South Bay and ownership of the strip of road should be clarified.
South of Broad Street and directly north of the Universal Atlas Cement Company buildings are several acres of dry land. Except for four small slips, a few railroad buildings and abandoned sidings, this land is overgrown with brush and trees, but it is a potentially attractive site. The proposal for this site contemplates a marina which would serve two functions: it would provide a location for boating (one of the fastest growing sports today); and, at the same time, provide the only site in Hudson for riverfront recreation.

The three slips to the south can be used for boat docking. Some parts could be widened, so that for example, the third slip, the longest one, would be able to dock approximately 18 larger boats. The end of this slip and the two others would easily dock motor boats or sailboats. Because the land is cut into small parcels by the configuration of the slips, two parking lots are suggested, joined by a foot bridge. In the center of the complex, on the widest spit of land, a club house-restaurant is suggested, with terraces and a green recreation area facing the river. This spot represents Hudson's best opportunity to make the river available for pleasure, for family outings and recreation, for boating and non-boating families, and at the same time offer an attraction which would draw visitors to the City from inland communities, and perhaps help the City's economy.

Directly north of the proposed marina are the storage facilities of the Tidewater Oil Company, the Hudson Power Boat Club, and a site upon which New York State has proposed to build a boat launch and parking areas. The Plan for the Riverfront suggests that the launching facility itself be constructed on the end of Ferry Street so that the triangle to the north, bounded by the river, the New York Central tracks, and Ferry Street could be utilized for both a green space and parking. The southeast corner of Ferry and Water Streets is suggested as a site for parking, to serve the boat launch, boat club, and, when necessary, overflow parking from the station area.
In 1965, the Comprehensive Development Plan made this recommendation: "The Ferry Street bridge over the railroad tracks should be supplemented by an additional vehicular crossing if the potential of the waterfront is to be realized." Interestingly, the Fleet Street bridge, which provided a crossing for vehicle and pedestrians, had been demolished only a few years before. 

In 1965, when the Comprehensive Development Plan was recommending developing the area around the slips to offer "an attraction which would draw visitors to the City from inland communities, and perhaps help the City's economy," Arthur Koweek was the chairman of the Planning Commission. In 1984, nearly twenty years later, Koweek, as chairman of the Hudson Community Development Office, supported the proposal to build an oil refinery on the site of what was in 1965 the location of Tidewater Oil Company's storage facilities. Koweek was quoted at the time, in Hudson Valley Magazine, as saying of the refinery, "It has to be done to save this city." He went on to say of the Hudson waterfront, "It's an industrial area. Let them go out of town to get access to the river." In the same article, he had this to say about the Hudson River, "It's not a recreational river. It's to move raw materials." Nearly thirty years later, in 2014, it's very likely that Koweek has been reappointed to represent Hudson on the Columbia County Planning Board. The following is an excerpt from that board's minutes for February 2014
1. Membership: Patrice Perry stated that the Nomination for Region 5, City of Hudson, has not yet been received and a reminder will be sent. This seat is held by Arthur Koweek who is interested in reappointment.   

The first image is a screen capture from Odds Against Tomorrow, filmed in Hudson in 1958. The second is borrowed from Thanks to Sam Pratt for making the article from the December 1984 issue of Hudson Valley accessible to all by putting it online.


  1. As I understand it, it was the lack of a "gate and signal ... for safety" which precluded the Broad Street railroad crossing from being a viable alternative to the Ferry Street Bridge in 1965. At least that is no longer the case.

    But in 1984 was Koweek's "Hudson Community Development Office" aligned with - or even identical with - the Hudson Development Corporation?

    It was the HCD which sold the land north of the state parking lot to the Hudson Power Boat Association. That was on October 18, 1984, for the price of "one dollar and 00/100 ($1.00) lawful money" (quoting from the deed; Liber 577 page 1007).

    Whatever agency made the decision, it's interesting to see that it was in disregard of the 1965 Comprehensive Development Plan.

    Also interesting is the name of the lawyer who oversaw the sale, Carl G. Whitbeck, Jr.

    The more Hudson changes, the more it stays the same.

    1. Bingo, HDC, Crawford and Hudson Michael Realty...

      Social engineering from on high, throw in a Sharp politican and you buy a waterfront.

    2. Levi died in 1985, just after introducing me to the North Dock krew. I had unlimited use of the net and began studying Navigational law after physics. It led to tracking local politicans, "developers" and real estate agents...

      Together they violated the public trust by profiting from the sale of the peoples shore...

  2. correct Joe, and now the puppeteers want to "transfer" 117 acres of city property to the "conservancy" which is nothing more than a real estate management company bearing a "green" label and i wonder who the attorneys are that will profit from this deal.

    1. Don't be surprised when the Columbia Land Conservancy doesn't acquire the land.

      People should focus less on the question of possession than what's actually in the plan.

    2. Neither the Columbia landgators nor City have funds budgeted to maintain the land, which means taxpayers will have to pay Moore for less use of "our" shoreline.

    3. First it has to be built for a price, and only then maintained.

      It never ceases to amaze how few understand that the state grants we depend on come out of our taxes.

      Of course the money that paid for the North Bay plan came from a settlement with the Athens generator plant.

    4. The more things change...
      There are just as many pick ups as ever down at the waterfront but half as many slips, just like last November.

      Mr Moore has restricted the historical use of shore when his obligation is to Promote it.