Dan Udell was there with his video camera to record the entire two hours, so Gossips will make no attempt to report all that transpired. Instead, I'll share some observations and noteworthy takeaways.
Last summer, when the DRI application was being developed, the public was told that the short period of time between the announcement of Round Two of DRI funding and the due date for applications limited the opportunities for public input but was assured that, should Hudson be awarded the $10 million in DRI funding, there would be an extensive public planning process that could take as long as a year. Last night, it was made clear that the planning must be done by March 2018--in just five months--and "by December we will be getting very close to the final concept."
In outlining what is expected to happen in the time between now and March, Kearney explained that they, the Consulting Team made up of urban planners and urban designers, including a retail specialist and a residential market analyst, will be doing the planning. The role of the LPC is to bring the proposals to the community and decide aye or nay on pursuing them. He spoke of taking a "market-based approach" and said of the retail specialist, "On this one, she's going to take a vital role." (In Round One of the DRI, Kearney worked with Oswego, Elmira, and Oneonta.) He stressed that the $10 million in DRI funding was meant to leverage additional state, federal, and private investment.
Hudson's DRI application is the starting point for the planning process, but interestingly, what were identified as the seven priority projects last night were a bit different from the five priority projects identified two months ago. On August 22, Gossips reported that of the seventeen projects listed in the application, five had been identified as priorities. Those five were:
- Workforce Development Programs in Trades, Arts and Technology
- Dunn Warehouse & Environs
- Shovel Ready KAZ
- Public Pier Project
- Pedestrian Connectivity, Routes & Lights
- Basilica Hudson, Phase II--which "continues renovation of the structure to improve the interior and exterior infrastructure for year-round use, as well as incorporating accessibility." (DRI application, pages 28-29)
- The Warehouse (a.k.a. L&B)--facade improvement and Digifab expansion (DRI application, page 32)
- Wick Hotel--"direct business assistance . . . [to] offset some of the significant costs associated with the rehabilitation of a deteriorated historic resource . . . as well as exterior site improvements to increase pedestrian access to the Warren Street business district via a pocket park stairway, the Amtrak train station and BRIDGE District amenities. (DRI application, page 33)
- River House, Phase II--job creation and workforce development . . . "the building will accommodate 114 creative professionals." (DRI application, page 30)
- KAZ Mixed-Use & Transit-Oriented Development--"The former KAZ warehouse site offers the single greatest job creation and workforce development opportunity in the BRIDGE District." (DRI application, page 34) The job creation potential is estimated to be 120 full-time jobs and 70 part-time jobs.
- Public Pier
- Waterfront Improvements
The Dunn Warehouse & Environs, which came in second on the list two months ago, is now, if part of this new list of priorities at all, subsumed into the general category of Waterfront Improvements.
I left the meeting wondering who had said, "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" (it turns out it's attributed to Albert Einstein), but in the DRI process there probably can't be any do-overs.
Dan Udell's video of the meeting can be viewed here.
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