Although there were several items on the agenda distributed at the Common Council Economic Development Committee on Thursday night, most of the discussion was focused on two topics: trucks and waterfront development, specifically the Dunn warehouse.
On the topic of trucks and the truck route, Common Council president Don Moore, who chairs the committee, began by saying that he wanted to reach some consensus about the goal: Was it partial rerouting or total rerouting? Moore also said that he wanted to keep the discussion of the state truck route through the city separate from the route of gravel trucks traveling between the quarry and the port. The sought-for consensus and segmentation both seemed elusive.
The discussion repeated many things that have been said before in the ongoing conversation about how the truck traffic devalues property, devalues people's lives, and damages the infrastructure. It wound up with Moore lamenting, "We keep getting incomplete information about what our options are." In the discussion, the best idea yet may have come from Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward) who suggested that we lower the speed limit and add lots of bike paths to make the city "so unpleasant that truckers want to avoid it."
Although only the night before, the mayor had talked about "retail development on Water Street," Moore and the members of the committee seem to be moving away from the notion of "full-blown commercial development" along Water Street in favor of developing the former Dunn warehouse for some public purpose and using the remainder of the land along Water Street as park land. Several ideas were mentioned for the historic industrial building--an aquarium; a maritime museum, in conjunction with a winter home for the Half Moon; "something like Catskill has at Catskill Point." Moore spoke of the "culture of Hudson" and made the point that "whatever goes down there should reflect what we want Hudson to be."
When Alderman Ohrine Stewart (Fourth Ward) brought up the fact that the Council had written into the 2013 budget $300,000 in anticipated revenue from the sale of the Dunn warehouse, Moore reminded her that there were two properties that were to bring in that sum: the Dunn warehouse and the vacant lot at State and Fourth streets, currently being used as a parking lot. Friedman observed that "nobody's sniffing around the parking lot," to which Moore replied that the City has not gotten an appraisal on it yet.
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