Thursday, December 11, 2014

What Was Funded

In the Regional Economic Development Councils scheme of things, Hudson and Columbia County are part of the Capital Region. Earlier today, it was announced that $60 million would be awarded to ninety-three projects in the Capital Region. Among those projects, the following are of particular interest to us in Hudson.
  • The City of Hudson will get $600,000 for its storm water separation project at North Front and State streets.
  • Hudson will also benefit from the $131,500 that will go to the North Bay Recreation and Natural Center.
  • The Hudson Opera House will get $60,000 for Market Hudson NY, "a Visitor Demand Study based on primary market research, to survey frequent travelers and conduct in-depth interviews to assess the needs of the growing tourism market within a 20 mile radius of Hudson and create a plan for developing and promoting the area and region to meet its growing needs." HOH did not, however, get the $500,000 it sought to complete the exterior restoration and develop the second-floor performance space.
It will be noted that the plan for refurbishing Seventh Street Park was not among the projects funded.

Also of interest to us in Hudson, The Olana Partnership was awarded $200,000 and the Thomas Cole National Historic Site $60,000 for "River Crossing," a joint exhibition of contemporary artists and artworks "that illuminate the connections between 19th-century American art and contemporary times and that specifically speak to the historic environments of both sites." The project’s primary goal is to attract new visitors to the region through a comprehensive multimedia marketing plan and the creation of a
documentary film.

The entire list of projects throughout the state receiving awards may be found here.

Erratum: The source for the information reported above about the grants received by The Olana Partnership and the Thomas Cole National Historic Site was the 2014 Regional Economic Development Council Awards booklet made public yesterday. Gossips has since been informed by Melissa Gavilanes, education and programs coordinator for the Thomas Cole House, that Olana and the Thomas Cole House were together awarded $260,000 in grants for the joint exhibition, "River Crossing."


  1. This particular storm water separation project, for which the city was just awarded $600,000, is one of the most anti-ecological developments in the city's history.

    Sadly, the story and its outcome perfectly reflect the low level of consciousness of Hudson residents, certainly where their immediate surroundings are concerned for which they alone are responsible.

    No doubt the same people who believe they have informed opinions on every issue from the Keystone XL Pipeline to renewable energy schemes from China to Chad have no clue about a bad sewer plan being perpetuated in their own city, for their own benefit, and in their names.

    It goes without saying that the plan which is a direct threat to the North Bay wetlands - even by state and federal standards - was achieved by city officials through serial deceit.

    But today's residents couldn't care less, and this includes our self-styled "Progressives" who are nowhere to be found on the issue. (Did anyone even try to understand it? I really don't think so.)

    As long as those who might be counted in opposition to this disgusting plan continue to rattle on and on about perceived global threats, then they've effectively removed themselves from the realm of responsibility in the local sphere. And maybe that's the whole idea.

    Shame on us, shame on the State of New York, and shame on the Environmental Protection Agency. It's the EPA's sewer separation guidelines that are directly affronted by the City of Hudson's latest stupid idea, but why would the EPA care if locals don't care?

    1. Irony: the program descriptions for the "Hudson North Bay Recreation" plan and the $600K sewer separation plan which will pollute the North Bay are listed side-by-side at the Economic Development Council website.

      Does anyone think it odd that, when given the opportunity, the Columbia Land Conservancy wouldn't take any interest in this same contradiction? To the CLC, water pollution in Hudson is the business of city residents. (To some extent they have a point.)

      Yesterday the CLC accomplished what it really wanted all along, which is more money to complete its North Bay recreational plan.

      Next, the organization will leverage this success to raise more funds to allegedly protect more environments. It operates more like a corporation than one would wish; its employees engaging the public as "company men."

      Riverkeeper, on the other hand, actually wrote one of the two Public Comments submitted on the sewer project, and both comments were scathing of a plan that belongs in the 1940s.

      Hats off to Riverkeeper! The Columbia Land Conservancy ... not so much.

  2. Hudson will also benefit from the $131,500 that will go to the North Bay Recreation and Natural Center"

    Moore tax, less use...

  3. It was only last week that the Thomas Cole National Historic Site announced a $300,000 Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

    But in August 2013, an irregularity concerning federal grants to the Cole house exposed a troubling lack of transparency.

    With the help of our mayor, money which the Cole House reported came from an earlier NEH grant was used to install what is basically an advertisement in Hudson's Promenade Park. (It's also worth mentioning that the city's proprietors left the mayor no authority to make any such changes to the Promenade Park.)

    Because the Promenade Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, any federal funding used in park projects must satisfy the National Environmental Policy Act, and "the degree to which the action may adversely affect districts, sites, highways, structures, or objects listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places" (§1508.27(b)(8)).

    The actions at the Promenade by the director of the Cole house and by our mayor were accomplished without regard for NEPA.

    Because the Cole house had already acknowledged that the previous NEH grant was used to create an "Art Trail" website, a request was submitted to the National Park Service to explain the origins and uses of federal funds employed for the digitization of the "Art Trail" project, and specifically the funding used to develop the QR Code shown on the "medallion" now installed at the Promenade Park.

    The National Park Service simply denied that the Cole house had received any federal funding!

    The federal government's answer to the FOIA request can only mean one thing: that someone has lied. But when I approached the Board of Trustees of the Thomas Cole house, I was only met with hostility and stonewalling.

    I hope that this sorry controversy which dishonors the name of Thomas Cole has at least taught us that any changes or alterations to the Promenade Park are the privilege of our representatives on the Common Council. Unlike any other park in the city, the grantors of the Promenade intended residents to own and run the park through their legislature. The Promenade is the original "People's Park."

  4. From the National Organization of Rivers:

    It is a violation of federal law for landowners to erect fences, cables, “No Trespassing” signs, or other obstacles to public use of the water surface, beds, or banks of rivers that are navigable in canoes, kayaks, or rafts...

    It's easy to understand how a city like Hudson, run by Progressives, can push for the redistribution of the wharf at N Dock. What is hard to fathom, is how Republican county leaders back back a plan that (with the use of their tax dollars) restricts county hunters, trappers and fisherflok from Navigating to and from the shores of the Hudson.

    1 Riparian

    1. Alas! if hypocrisy was the monopoly of only one political leaning instead of what it is, a universal human failing.