Thursday, September 29, 2016

Something to Do First Thing Tomorrow

The City of Hudson is applying for a $500,000 grant from the Restore NY Communities Initiative program to stabilize the Dunn building on the waterfront.

On  September 13, the Waterfront Advisory Steering Committee held a public forum about the Dunn building. There were many ideas expressed about how the building should be used--everything from a bowling alley to an aquarium and educational center--but there was consensus on the building's significance as the last surviving 19th-century industrial building west of the railroad tracks on Hudson's waterfront and the need to preserve it. A half million dollars would stabilize the building and ensure its survival for whatever use the community agrees upon in the future. A half million dollars would also stabilize the building for some immediate use--like a year-round farmers' market or bicycle and kayak rentals.

If you think the grant application is a worthy effort, you can write a letter of support stating that the building is important to the future development of our waterfront and stabilizing it is critical. Your letter should be addressed to Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton and emailed to Sheena Salvino, executive director of the Hudson Development Corporation (HDC), before the end of the day tomorrow, Friday, September 30. The grant application is due on Monday, October 3.


  1. Arresting this building's demise should inspire no controversy. Who'd wish this City property to decay and crumble?

    It's possible that all we need to do is ask for this non-federal money, but we still must ask.

    To that end, the grant-writers have prepared a sample letter:

    "This letter constitutes my enthusiastic endorsement of the City’s efforts to initiate the rehabilitation of the Dunn Building on Hudson’s waterfront. Frankly, this building is a resource that is singular in nature, sited in one of those settings that inspired the Hudson River School of Painters. Moreover, the Dunn Building constitutes an important civic asset and will serve as the keystone for future reinvigoration of the waterfront and reinvestment in the streetscape that frames the eastern side of the waterfront.

    "That said, I also recognize the urgent need to immediately protect the building from further deterioration and stabilize the structure for future investments. This is the time to act. Further delay simply threatens the building and I certainly believe that New York State will recognize the wisdom of making this investment through the Restore NY Program. The City has made a lot of progress and coalesced enormous community support behind this effort. The Saratoga Associates Dunn Building Adaptive Reuse Analysis detailed and prioritized necessary investment. The well attended public meetings on the Dunn Building, held over the past several weeks, demonstrated potent community intent to save this resource and successfully integrate the building into an overall waterfront redevelopment program.

    "This is the best possible use for Restore New York Communities Initiatives grant monies in the City of Hudson. I wish you success."

    If you want to personalize your comment, which is always recommended, here are some key points.

    • Write about the building itself rather than your favorite plan for it. This is a preservation grant, and the grantors don't know what's interesting about the structure. We must tell them.

    • If you don't know the building's 19th century history, it doesn't matter. For this grant appearances count, and the building LOOKS historical. If you like this building at our waterfront, then tell the grantors why you prefer it to an empty lot (remember: decay).

    • Consider the building's place of command at the City's small portion of the waterfront.

    • Considered in its surroundings, our recent history saw a petroleum tank farm transformed into the City's riverfront park. The 1996 Vision Plan recognized the potential of this modest area of our waterfront, and the same points and recommendations were reiterated in the City's 2002 Comprehensive Plan.

    • The grantors are familiar with the acronym "LWRP." Anyone submitting a comment would be wise to mention the City's developing waterfront program (LWRP). If we all frame our comments on the importance of the Dunn building to the LWRP effort (no need to explain why), this will keep our application at the top of the pile.

    • The Dunn building is one of three buildings with sewer service at the waterfront (the others being the public restrooms in the park and the powerboat association).

  2. Best from the horse's mouth, the Restore NY website:

    "The Restore New York Communities Initiative provides municipalities with financial assistance for revitalization of commercial and residential properties.  The program encourages community development and neighborhood growth through the elimination and redevelopment of blighted structures." 

    "[F]unding is available for projects involving the demolition, deconstruction, rehabilitation and or reconstruction of vacant, abandoned, condemned and surplus properties."

    "[The] program was established to ... attract residents and business ... increase tax base, [and] make communities economically viable."

    "Applications are scored against specific guidelines and how strongly they meet goals of program, which are to revitalize urban centers [and] induce commercial investment ..."