Receipt of the grant did not meet with unbridled celebration. Although it was not revealed at the time the grant application was made, it soon became clear that accepting the grant would commit the City to entering into a partnership with a developer, and as a community vision for the building began to gel--community space, year-round farmers' market, kayak rental, bicycle rental, coffee shop, ice cream parlor, wine bar--the likelihood of attracting a developer willing to partner with the City to achieve these goals seemed more and more unlikely.
Last month, a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract with Hudson Community Development & Planning Agency for Sheena Salvino, executive director of HCDPA, to administer the grant--a contract it took more than a year to draft--was tabled. At the last HCDPA board meeting, Salvino said the grant and the service agreement were "on hold" and predicted, "The City will likely seek an extension of the project." At the same meeting, Mayor Rick Rector expressed skepticism that the City could ever find a developer willing to partner with the City to restore the building for the community-oriented uses desired. He reminded the board that $1 million of DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) funding had been requested for the Dunn warehouse--$1 million for what's anticipated to be a $4.5 million project.
The bullet points in the DRI project description indicate that "Potential reuse could include restaurant, recreation outfitter, year-round farmer's market, or community food hub," but it also acknowledges that the City will need to partner with a private developer to make it happen: "City will issue Request for Proposals for private developers to enter a public/private partnership."
Even though $1 million for the Dunn building is part of the DRI Investment Plan, it is not certain it will be one of the projects that gets funded. Final decisions about funding are coming from the governor's office, and no one knows when they will be announced. Salvino speculated late spring or summer. Meanwhile, conditions at the Dunn warehouse continue to worsen. These pictures, focused on just one problem area, were taken this morning.