Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ramping Up Hudson

There are now ramps at the Columbia County courthouse--ramps that got an AIA Westchester Hudson Valley 2014 Design Award Citation for their sensitivity to and compatibility with the historic building to which they were added.

Then there is the not yet completed ramp that is part of the PARC Foundation linear park, which by day looks like a tangle of steel and by night like a UFO has landed on Columbia Street.

There is another ramp on the horizon for Hudson--one that will give handicapped access to historic Promenade Hill and the scenic vistas that can be enjoyed from that prospect.

Last Tuesday, a resolution was introduced in the Common Council, "authorizing the seeking of grant funding for the development of a handicapped accessible ramp for Promenade Hill Park." The resolution states that "the Common Council will develop a grant proposal for a handicapped accessible ramp for Promenade Hill Park to be submitted in the Spring of 2015" and "the Common Council will set aside up to $20,000.00 for such purpose in the event that the grant proposal is not awarded." 

The resolution raises the question of what happened to the plan in which the ramp was part of a larger vision to improve the entrance to Promenade Hill and to restore the historic park. In June, Bill Roehr, of TGW Consultants, told the Common Council that the grant application for Promenade Hill was being postponed to allow more time to resolve "the conflict between the goal of access and historic landscape treatment" by developing a master plan and time for public participation in the project. So Gossips contacted Roehr to find out about the master plan he spoke of and to ask how the Common Council's resolution to "develop a grant proposal for a handicapped accessible ramp" meshed with the master plan.

According to Roehr, the master plan is still moving forward. Dragana Zoric, the landscape architect who is working pro bono on the project, has "several different ideas for the entrance," which, Roehr attests, will minimize the "visual obtrusiveness" of a ramp and be "more simple and elegant" than the design Morris Associates came up with back in 2011--and less expensive. (That plan had price tag of $279,111.90.)

Roehr told Gossips that he would soon be sending the sketches for the possible ramp designs to Council president Don Moore and also to Sloane Bullough at the State Historic Preservation Office. Because Promenade Hill is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the grant will involve state and federal funds, any plans for restoration or alteration must be reviewed by SHPO. 

Roehr reported that there are also rudimentary sketches for the restoration of Promenade Hill, which involve new plantings, storm water management to curb erosion, a restored pattern of walking paths, and plans for maintenance. It is not at this point known when the sketches for the park restoration will be ready for presentation or when the public will get a chance to see the conceptual designs for the restoration or the proposals for the ramp.


  1. Back in the early 90's I tried to get people back to enjoying this most wonderful gem of parks by hosting Friday night sunset gatherings. So I am thrilled that care is being considered in her restoration that urban renewal altered. Please keep in mind that this park is actually the vista ending surprise that Warren Street leads to. Urban Renewal minimized the visual breadth of the entrance with plantings. I see trees in the above drawing which is a red flag for me concerning the overall impact of viewing this park from Warren Street. It needent be disguised with a veil of arboretum. It needs to be a broad welcoming vista of steps and blue sky leading to that dramatic view that only Hudson has! Just think of the scale of Hudson and center breadth of Warren Street and make the park culminate in like grander. imho

    1. Vincent--The drawing is the plan done by Morris Associates for the 2011 CDBG application. We haven't seen any plans from Dragana Zoric yet.