Friday, August 18, 2017

About the DRI

Last night, the Common Council Economic Development Committee meeting did not happen for lack of a quorum, but Sheena Salvino, executive director of HDC (Hudson Development Corporation) was there, prepared to report to the committee about the process of implementing the DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) funding. While waiting for a third member of the committee to show up (which never happened), Salvino shared with Gossips the information she intended to present to the committee.

For the DRI implementation process, the State selects the planning firm that will work with the City to determine how the $10 million will be invested. At this point, the identity of this planning firm has not been revealed. The City creates a Local Planning Commission to work with that planning firm. The members of the LPC are appointed by the mayor, and so far there has been no information about those appointments--if they have been made or who has been appointed.

Salvino enumerated the responsibilities of the LPC:
  • Approve the downtown vision and strategies and the final DRI Strategic Investment Plan.
  • Agree to a Code of Conduct as a reminder that they must always act in the public interest in their role as Local Planning Committee members.
  • Attend a variety of meeting at which they will participate in brainstorming ideas; provide direction to consultants; review planning products; evaluate projects proposed in the application; gather input from members of the community including private citizens, businesses and associations; prioritize actions and projects to advance downtown revitalization.
  • Participate in community outreach by making presentations to other groups, distributing information, reaching out to their networks, or other public engagement activities.
Salvino went on explain: "The LPC will represent the interests and priorities of the community, while the state agency staff [the two state agencies involved are the Department of State and the Department of Housing & Community Renewal] will ensure that the process and deliverables are consistent with the goals, priorities and requirements of the initiative. LPC meetings shall be public and conducted according to Open Meetings Law."

The services of the as yet unknown planning firm involve the following ten basic tasks:
  • Local Planning Committee Coordination
  • Create and Implement a Community Engagement Strategy
  • Prepare Downtown Profile and Assessment
  • Develop Downtown Vision, Goals and Objectives
  • Develop Revitalization Strategy Outline
  • Develop Revitalization Strategies and Action Plan
  • Develop Priority Project Profiles
  • Develop an Implementation Strategy
  • Propose Performance Indicators/Metrics
  • Complete the Final DRI Plan
The entire DRI application can be viewed here, but it's useful to review which of the fifteen projects earmarked for DRI funds have been identified as priorities. There are five of them.
  1. Workforce Development Programs in Trades, Arts and Technology--Connect upwardly mobile candidates living in BRIDGE Zone [that is, below Second Street] with readiness training, apprenticeships and trades through partnerships with: Columbia-Greene Community College & Workforce NY Satellite Office; private contractors and trades people; Basilica Hudson Artists Gallery Program
  2. Dunn Warehouse & Environs--Adaptive reuse of last remaining waterfront building for year round public/private usage that: leverages public funds for private investments to bring year round jobs; combines site development, curbing sidewalks, lighting and waterfront improvements; incorporates resiliency for sea level change to protect public and private investment
  3. Shovel Ready KAZ--Remove KAZ warehouse for redevelopment of mixed uses including: workforce readiness/maker center; housing for multiple income levels; retail/commercial space; professional office space
  4. Public Pier Project--Clear and establish public pier for: increased public recreation between slips 1 and 2 for passive and active use by both small and large crafts; connecting people to the waterfront; encourage increased maritime activity
  5. Pedestrian Connectivity, Routes & Lights--Comprehensive road, curbing, sidewalks, bikeways & lights connecting downtown recreation, employment, business, and cultural hubs for year round safe and efficient access by every mode of transportation including pedestrian, car/truck, bike, wheelchair and trains. Sites to connect include: small businesses and light industry at The Warehouse [former L&B]; Basilica Hudson; KAZ redevelopment site; Wick Hotel; River House [former Allen Street School]; community gardens; food hubs; A. Colarusso & Sons; Amtrak station; Warren Street business district; parks & community food hub.
The visual below, as well as the one included earlier, comes from Hudson's DRI application. It shows the location of the proposed public pier and envisions future buildings--three of them--on the City-owned property north of the Dunn warehouse.

A point that sometimes seems to be overlooked when discussing the DRI and the proposed projects is that BRIDGE is an acronym. It stands for Built Renew Invent Develop Grow Empower. 


  1. The bullshit has started already. I hope that the present mayor will at least talk to the next mayor about who will be dishing out advice. This is the perfect opportunity no to have any old boys on board. Account for every dollar spent and what it went for/to. A school of Piranhas are gathering down at Ricks Point ,and they want to eat that 10 million . Do not cross the B R I D G E with any of them

  2. Curious to know which EDC members did not show up and why. Should be a higher sense of urgency to keep things moving forward. No wonder nothing gets done in a timely fashion.

  3. Curious to know which EDC members were not present and why. Need to keep things moving forward. A better sense of interest and urgency is required.

    1. I can provide that information. Four people make up the Economic Development Committee: John Friedman (chair), Rick Rector, Alexis Keith, and Henry Haddad. Friedman and Rector were there; Haddad was sick and informed the chair that he would not be attending; Keith was at a community event down at the waterfront. She told no one that she would not be attending the committee meeting.

      There was nothing before the committee that needed to be acted on, so the fact that it didn't meet was only an inconvenience to the people who showed up. Since the information that was to be shared got reported to the public anyway, it wasn't a big deal. The problem with committee meetings IMO is that the current Council president has appointed only four members to each committee, which means that if more than one person is absent there is no quorum. The previous Council president served ex officio on every committee, assuring that there was rarely a meeting that didn't happen for lack of a quorum.

  4. We don't need a sidewalk to the Basilica. We need sidewalks in town where people don't fall and loose teeth or split open their shins.

    Public housing next to the Wick Hotel? Yeah, that's a great idea....NOT.

    Total b.s., total boondoggle. Ideas that will hurt Hudson, not help it.