Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Other Building

Jamie Larson reported yesterday that, according to Mark Orton, vice president of the library board, two of the four buildings considered as possible new locations for the Hudson Area Library "were owned by people currently in or with potential to soon be in Hudson politics." This caused Gossips to wonder, in print, what the second building was. The answer came from a reader: 111 Fairview Avenue, originally Canape Brothers Chrysler and for the past ten years Hudson Health & Fitness--a building owned by mayor's aide, Planning Commission member, former Fifth Ward alderman, and one-time mayoral candidate Carmine Pierro.  

The mayor's aide seems to share the opinion of the mayor himself that an old car dealership would make a good library. When a totally different library board was considering alternatives to its historic building at 400 State Street seven years ago, Mayor Scalera encouraged a move to 96 Green Street, the building that was originally Village Dodge and now contains the medical offices of Dr. Ibrahim Rabadi.

Although 111 Fairview Avenue seems like a site the library board might consider as a courtesy to the mayor's longtime political cohort or to show that they'd done their due diligence and looked at every available building in the city, a poster on the notorious Voy forum, hinting possession of insider knowledge, predicts that this will be the library's new location.


  1. With all the talk of walking distances lately, why would the Library move farther from downtown?


  2. The location is a big problem, it feels like Greenport up there, not Hudson.

  3. Shouldn't the mayor's aide recuse himself? This has the appearance of impropriety: a back room deal made for the benefit of an insider. His salary is being paid with taxpayers' funds and now he will be paid rent by a public institution funded in part by you-know-what. No one should be able to use their office for personal benefit.

  4. I agree that it has appearance of impropriety, Manda, but I think the library board and Cappy would argue that, even though more than half its operating budget comes from the taxpayers of Hudson, the library is not, strictly speaking, a public library. It's an association library. That's why the board appoints its own members and makes its decisions without public input or oversight.

  5. Seems like a long walk for library users, particularily those below 5th and an awkward walk for those above 5th. Not practicable.

  6. I honestly thought this location IS Greenport. That the library would move so far from our City center seems crazy. But it is the Hudson "Area" library afterall...
    I grew up in a historic neighborhood, six walkable blocks from our public library: a Carnegie funded library, a magical place for me from the time I was little. A few years ago that building was sold and a new library was built, relatively far from the old location; still walkable for some, and "bike-able" for many, as it backs up to a bike path that runs the entire length of a river through my hometown. It is a beautiful and well-thought out facility (and has ample parking, which the Carnegie library lacked, though Hudson's library does not). Of course I'm nostalgic for my childhood library, but the new library makes sense for the 21st century of that small city.

    I can see how some people think our library in Hudson doesn't make sense for the 21st century, but I am wary of some of the reasoning and defintely wary of some of the options being considered. Why does the long arm of "insidership" have to touch EVERYTHING around here?!?!!!

  7. If the library moves to Greenport (and there's no way that building is in Hudson -- the line is at least 100 yards to the south) perhaps the folks in Greenport will ante up for a change. Or perhaps, with the library out of Hudson, Greenport will maintain its anemic funding and Hudson will emulate their ennui -- and poof!-- no more library. In other words, locating a public library in Greenport seems like casting pearls before swine.

  8. John--I agree with you that locating the library in Greenport would be like casting pearls before swine, but this building really is in Hudson not Greenport. Although the sign on the bridge over the railroad tracks gives the impression that you're leaving Hudson and entering Greenport, it's not that simple. On the far side of the bridge, everything on the left as you're heading north is still Hudson, until somewhere between Oakwood Blvd. and Charles Street.

    Also there's a question of how easy it would be for the City of Hudson to withdraw its support from the library. The $120,000 the library now receives from the City was a result of a Chapter 414 referendum. I seem to recall from my many years on the library board that the amount allocated through a Chapter 414 can be increased--through another referendum, as it was in 2009--but it cannot be decreased. I don't think anyone who supported the referendum in 2009, however, did so with the thought that the library might leave Hudson or move to the farthest reaches of Hudson to a location that might as well be Greenport.

    I'm a little sorry I included the link to the Voy forum. It gives more credibility to the opinion of an anonymous poster than he or she deserves. I don't think there is any chance the library will move to this building. The library board's constant cant is about wanting to focus on library services and not a building, and they sure wouldn't be able to do that in a fifty- or sixty-year-old former car dealership.