A Modest Proposal and Appeal for Our Parks
Many people in Hudson want more public green space but balk when the question arises of who will maintain those public spaces. The maintenance of our existing parks is woefully inadequate. From trees dying and not being replaced to insensitive pruning of hedges and shrubs to unsightly repairs to walks to alterations and additions undertaken without proper oversight, there's much that could be done better. The Department of Public Works, whose job it is to maintain the parks, has its hands full with the City's critical infrastructure--collecting the trash, maintaining the water and sewer systems, keeping the streets in good repair and traversable. In addition to being fully engaged just keeping the city running, DPW crews, as DPW superintendent Rob Perry has acknowledged on more than one occasion, lack the expertise required to keep the parks artfully manicured and beautiful.
Enter the Mrs. Greenthumbs Hedge Fund. For the past few years, a half-dozen people--Joe Connelly, Mara Estribou, Sarah Sterling, Ellen Thurston, David Voorhees, and Gossips--have been organizing biennial garden tours in Hudson, in honor of Hudson's most famous gardener, Cassandra Danz, a.k.a. Mrs. Greenthumbs. There were tours in 2014 and 2016, and there will be another in 2018. Donations from "garden tourists" and contributions from other sources built a little nest egg, which the group has dubbed the "Mrs. Greenthumbs Hedge Fund." The purpose of the fund is "to enhance and maintain Hudson's public parks." In pursuit of that mission, the Mrs. Greenthumbs Hedge Fund provided the money to hire a landscape architect to design a ramp for universal access to Promenade Hill when it seemed that a $20,000 temporary ramp—which based on information available hardly promised to be an enhancement—was likely to be installed there.
Now the folks behind the Mrs. Greenthumbs Hedge Fund are looking to broaden their effectiveness, and, toward that end, they are seeking guidance from the community. One idea being considered is to morph the small, informal group into a full-blown Hudson Parks Conservancy, taking as its model the Central Park Conservancy, the not-for-profit that raises 75 percent of the annual budget for maintaining Central Park and is responsible for the work required to keep the park beautiful. The Hedge Fund currently has a little money--a few thousand dollars--that could serve as seed money for such a non-profit.
If you are interested in having a Parks Conservancy in Hudson and want to be a part of it, or if you have specific projects you would like to see undertaken to improve the City's public parks and open spaces, please let it be known either in a comment on this post (you'll need to identify yourself so we can follow up with you) or in an email to Gossips. If enough people show interest, the next step will be to bring everyone together to explore the possibility further.
COPYRIGHT 2017 CAROLE OSTERINK
Count me in-- and let's include the cemetery.ReplyDelete
It was the citizens of Hudson, was it not, in the late 19th c rose up and joined hands to deal with the neglect of promenade hill and the city square of 7th street parkReplyDelete
Time to do it again.
Lets just do it !
Interested in helping out.'ReplyDelete
One of the New York Central Park Conservancy pioneers was Lynden B. Miller who has written an inspiring book "Parks, Plants, and People" about her career from artist to public garden designer, which I highly recommend. She also conceived the Daffodil Project to commemorate 9/11 by planting millions of daffodils in public spaces around New York City. Her influence inspired Claverack to commemorate the 300th Anniversary of the founding of Reformed Dutch Church of Claverack, the 250th anniversary of the current church building, and Claverack’s Dutch heritage by also planting, so far, about 50,000 daffodils in our town.ReplyDelete
The Promenade is a historical treasure, though few if any are aware of its place in American history. I've tried for years to turn that around, but largely failed.ReplyDelete
Perhaps I could convince the members of an actual conservancy to conserve and strictly honor the terms of the park's grantors, terms already disregarded in the 19th century.
It's certainly worth a try.
Marvelous idea, Carole. I think the city is just too overwhelmed to do it, so the citizens will have to step up. My top priority would be to have the fountain restored to its 19th century glory.ReplyDelete
I absolutely want to help. The possibilities are limitless.ReplyDelete
This is a wonderful idea. City government would never be able to do what a Conservancy could. Count me in!ReplyDelete
Heaven knows I’m already horribly overextended, so I shouldn’t be offering to help. But perhaps there might be some small way. This is a wonderful idea.ReplyDelete
Heaven knows I’m already horribly overcommitted, so I shouldn’t be offering to help. But perhaps there might be some small way. This is a wonderful idea.ReplyDelete
David Konigsberg: Love to pitch in here.ReplyDelete
A wonderful idea! I would happily contribute to this cause.ReplyDelete
This is a wonderful idea! I would happily contribute to this project.ReplyDelete
Or split up the DPW -- create a water department (which Rob Perry spends a majority of time dealing with), and a Streets and Parks Dept with separate superintendents. Greenport, for what it's worth, has a Streets and Hwy Dept in addition to a Water Dept. I think most municipalities split it up. Regardless, if DPw can't get stuff done, reorganize so that the big and little things get taken care of. We are not a bankrupt city, but sometimes it appears that way. Rob Perry's voicemail inbox is always full (on purpose, apparently), and his assistant recently told me that " we never see Rob, he is never in the DPW office. Just when payroll rolls around." Sure sign that a superintendent is overburdened.ReplyDelete
Would love to help.ReplyDelete
What a novel concept, volunteers maintaining city parks. Who would of thought that possible in Hudson, the "friendly city."ReplyDelete
Precisely what the tin boat navigators were doing from 1995 until the city deployed the "Moore Tax" for fewer users code.Delete