Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What Can It Be? The Study Begins

In December, Gossips reported that the Common Council had passed a resolution "authorizing the mayor to 'execute all necessary documents to engage Saratoga Associates to implement the Redevelopment Analysis and Master Plan for a Multi-Use Waterfront Building.'" The building in question is one of the last surviving historic industrial structures on the waterfront: the Dunn building, originally part of the Hudson Coal Gasification Works.

Gossips learned yesterday that the signed contract for the project had been returned to Saratoga Associates and work will begin any day now. The study is expected to take six months. Saratoga Associates has subcontracted with Jennifer Schwartz Berky to handle the planning aspect of the project.


  1. If the aim is to consider a single property, then engaging the services of a professional planner who specializes in waterfront issues represents real progress for this city.

    If we'd done the same for the Thermo Knitting Mill at North Front Street, we'd be in a better position today to solve the city's wastewater challenges.

    After the factory and its surrounding lands were gifted to the city, the non-public Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) announced the city would retain the property for adaptive reuse. Months later, however, it was suddenly sold off by an HDC which owed residents no explanation for the reversal.

    That was before the public had ever seen the city's Long Term Control Plan, the development of which the federal government requires "active public participation ... throughout." (I invite you to re-read that!)

    A professional planner in 2009 who was studying the Knitting Mill would have had access to the city's finalized LTCP, which the hapless public still didn't know existed.

    She would have discovered that the LTCP identified the donated empty lot on the east side of Front Street as the last remaining north-side property on which to locate storage alternatives for the city's wastewater problems.

    If she decided that the sale of the Knitting Mill was the right conclusion after all, there's no way anyone in their right mind would have sold the lot directly across from the sewage treatment plant. Not after understanding the city's previous sewer investigations. (The fact that the HDC did exactly that is so incredibly irresponsible that the corporation deserves to be dissolved on those grounds alone, but the concerns of the HDC stay inside the HDC.)

    Consider that some of the same individuals who cheated the public out of a federal right to participate in the LTCP, also cheated us out of deliberations which led to the sale of that crucial lot. Last spring the same individuals cheated us again, this time by preventing the public from seeing a sewer grant application which, in retrospect, ignored the advice from their own LTCP concerning the same lot!

    In comparison, the way the city is going about planning for the Dunn building appears to be real progress. It's progress for a city trying to shed some of its darker past practices, and also for the (same) individuals involved who've occasionally confused covetousness and secrecy with public service.

    1. "suddenly sold off by an HDC which owed residents no explanation for the reversal"

      At what point Mapmaker, does the mayor, who sits on both boards, negate his duty to preserve public trust?

      1 Riparian

    2. A: evidently at both points.

      (A previous mayor in the above case.)