Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Sale of Parkland

In April, a decision was finally rendered in Don Christensen's years-long lawsuit against the City of Hudson for selling a piece of Willard Park to developer Eric Galloway, then operating in Hudson as the Lihtan Company. The decision by Justice George Ceresia found that Christensen "failed to satisfy his burden of establishing that the disputed parcel constitutes parkland subject to the public trust doctrine" but seemed not to take into consideration the two documents--the conveyance deed and the minutes from a 1969 Common Council meeting--that were the evidence used by the attorney for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to confirm for Christensen that Willard Park was indeed a park under New York State Law. 

When Byrne Fone wrote his book Historic Hudson, he wanted to subtitle it What Happened to America, because trends and changes in the entire country can be seen in microcosm in our city's history. The situation continues today. The City of Hudson's sale of a wedge of parkland to a developer is an example in microcosm of the regrettable and irrevocable actions affecting parkland happening all across the United States: "Pledges forgotten, local governments repurpose federally funded parks."

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