Saturday, June 15, 2013

News About 900 Columbia Street

On June 6, we mused about the fate of 900 Columbia Street. In its present location, it faces certain demolition at the hands of its owner, the Mental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties, which has operated a group home there for two decades. In May 2012, the Galvan Initiatives Foundation applied for and received a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission to save the historic house, in the only way possible given the circumstances, by moving it to the 200 block of Union Street. But that was a year ago, and a certificate of appropriateness is only good for a year. So, given that construction on the new facility behind  the historic house has begun (more or less), Gossips wondered if Galvan was still committed to rescuing the historic house.

The answer came on Friday morning, at the meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission. Commission chair Rick Rector reported on a communication he had received from Walter Ritchie on behalf of the Galvan Foundation, requesting an extension of the certificate of appropriateness. The building cannot be moved, Ritchie explained, until the ten residents of the group home have been relocated. According to Ritchie, this is to happen at the end of July 2013, and the house would then be moved sometime between August 15 and October 15 2013. The HPC voted unanimously to grant the extension. 

This raises several new questions. If the residents are moving out in six weeks, where are they going? The original plan was to keep the residents in the historic house until the new facility was completed and then demolish the historic house to provide a parking lot. But a visit to the site suggests that the new facility isn't going to be ready for occupancy anytime soon.

There is an unconfirmed rumor that the MHA group home may be moving to 67-71 North Fifth Street, the larger of the two "Armory houses" owned by the Galvan Foundation, but a visit to this building suggests that it may not be ready for occupancy in six weeks either.

One of MHA's great arguments in support of their plan to build a new facility on the same location as their current facility was that the constraints of Hudson's zoning, which limit where such group homes may be located, gave them few if any options. But if MHA has now found an alternative location, even on a temporary basis, why not make it permanent and leave the poor historic house where it belongs, at the crossroads of the historic turnpikes leading into Hudson?

1 comment:

  1. Couldn't agree more, Carole. Leave the house where it is. It's a tragedy to knock it down and remove it from its location and to have a gaping hole/blacktop parking lot in it's place is against all good city planning
    ideas. It's a handsome house, gives distinction to it's neighborhood, a gateway to Hudson, it should be restored, not moved.