When the two ramp options were shown to the Common Council Economic Development Committee back in February, Option 1 seemed to be the favorite, but that was before the two options were submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office for a recommendation. In an email to Bill Roehr of TGW Consultants, Stacey Matson-Zuvic, historic site restoration coordinator for SHPO, stated: "Based on a preliminary review of the materials submitted it is our recommendation that Option 2--New Ramp & Retaining Walls[,] Reconfigured Planting Area[,] Existing Stairs to Remain is the most appropriate as it retains the existing main entry stairs into the park, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing property in the Hudson Historic District."
At the beginning of yesterday's meeting, Roehr's colleague John "Duke" Duchessi explained that the grant being sought this year "has to do with the City wanting to make Promenade Hill handicapped accessible." He acknowledged that planning for the project had not proceeded beyond the two concepts for a ramp, which had been proposed months ago, "because we wanted to have this meeting first." The purpose of the meeting was "to get ideas for the whole entrance to the park," and Duchessi started out by asking audience members to identify its shortcomings.
Too much asphalt, too much impervious surface, too many brick retaining walls that create barriers were the shortcomings immediately identified. Rick Rector, First Ward alderman and chair of the Historic Preservation Commission, suggested that the entrance to Promenade Hill needed "trees, benches, pots of flowers" to make it more inviting. Sarah Sterling, First Ward supervisor, thought there needed to be music performance space and remarked that the area was not "group friendly."
Peter Frank offered a suggestion that was well received. He said that the steps leading up to Promenade Hill needed to be wider "to reflect the Warren Street axis" and "continue the vista down Warren Street." Rector agreed. "In a city with the name Hudson, you expect to see the Hudson River," he commented. Making the entrance to Promenade Hill feel more like a continuation of Warren Street (which, of course, historically it was) would strengthen the connection with the river.
Mention of trees and flowers and plantings raised the question of who would take care of them. "There's no garden club or anything in this town," lamented Pamela Kungle. Frank advised that the design be "low maintenance," suggesting that there was a "horticultural solution" to the problem of care and maintenance.
It should be remembered that if the application is not successful and the project is not funded, the Common Council passed a resolution in November 2014 to spend $20,000 to install a "temporary ramp" at Promenade Hill. The nature and appearance of this ramp is unknown, but there's a chance it could resemble the ramp in the picture above.
COPYRIGHT 2015 CAROLE OSTERINK