Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Preview of the Public Pier

A waterfront pier project was one of the Priority Projects in Hudson's application for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative award. When it appeared in the application, very little was known about it except that it was to be located along the embayment farthest south, the one immediately adjacent to the Colarusso dock. 

When, at the second public engagement meeting, the people attending were asked to affix green stickers to indicate their priorities, the public pier came out close to the top. Only North Bay ReGeneration, a project being proposed by Kite's Nest, and "Improve pedestrian and vehicular circulation," whatever that means exactly, rated higher. Mention of the pier's popularity at the last DRI Local Planning Committee inspired LPC member Peter Jung to quip about "peer pressure."  

Recently on Gossips the public pier was the subject of a somewhat contentious exchange of comments, prompted by a mention of the pier as a possible fulfillment of Mayor Sam Wheeler's desire for a "fishing hole" back in 1967, but most people reading those comments probably had little idea of what the two commenters were disagreeing about. Though much talked about and apparently much desired, it has not been generally known exactly what the public pier would be . . . until now. 

A booklet called Railroad Point Pier was created as a presentation piece for the project, and Gossips was fortunate enough to get a copy of it. In the booklet, the pier is identified as Phase II of the multi-phase project envisioned for the area south of Rick's Point by the Hudson Sloop Club. Phase I is the Everett Nack Estuary Education Center, for which the Sloop Club was awarded a $91,780 grant from the Hudson River Estuary Program in 2015.

The design for the Nack Center, which is essentially a repurposed shipping container, has evolved a bit from the example provided in 2015, taking on a prefabricated Quonset roof to create a covered boat-building yard and outdoor classroom.

The proposed public pier, which is not so much a pier as it is a boardwalk on the spit of land between two slips, extends west from the Nack Center and ends in an observation deck.

The booklet provides the following description of the pier: 
The public pier will provide safe access points, integrated periodically along the length of the pier, allowing visitors to learn about and interact with the Hudson River.
The northern slip [that is, the slip that runs along the southern edge of Rick's Point] will provide opportunities for small boats and paddle craft to launch and learn in shallow water conditions. The southern slip, with its deeper water, will be accessible to sailboats and larger craft, providing much-needed dockage for local river organizations such as the Apollonia Project, the Clearwater and Riverkeeper.
An observation deck at the end of the pier will provide a unique vista of one of the most scenic stretches of the Hudson River. The pier will be equipped with a real-time monitoring station, feeding river info to the Nack Center, including tides, temperature, turbidity, commercial traffic and more.
Now we know, in some detail, what the public pier proposed for DRI funding is all about.


  1. This landlover's playground is a motor boater's nightmare.

  2. does someone get a key? then it is private. public money to build someone a private fantasy playland. to call this a fishing pier, ridiculous. must have consulted Everett in a séance.

    1. It's a public pier not private, so no key.

      But that begs a question about someone else down there, Hudson Cruises. If it's unlawful for a private interest to use public resources that have no public benefit, then the lock which the company's owner claps on our City dock is totally unlawful. So is the business arrangement he enjoys with the City.

      This is the year to challenge the Common Council on the unlawfulness of this losing arrangement with Hudson Cruises.

      Note: Hudson Cruises wants a piece of the DRI, too, with which it will entrench itself even even further at our public waterfront.

  3. Ah well, a boardwalk design does make more sense. How much is it going to cost though? It's one thing if it's not a lot of money, but quite another if it is.

    Dredging was mentioned earlier, and that would greatly effect cost. That made me think that people were letting their imaginations run a little too wild. The DRI money should not be wasted.

    Because the same applicant was recently awarded $91K for "Phase I" of its plan (a project which has my support), a responsible approach would evaluate the cost of the second phase, the pier proposal, by looking at the total cost of both projects to state taxpayers.

    The cost of both phases is the proper way to evaluate taxpayers' total investment in the one applicant.

    1. The DRI request for funding of the pier is listed at $1.2 million. Since the DRI can't 100% fund a project, one might guess that it will cost at least twice that amount.

    2. Whoa!!, thanks CW.

      Seems like a boondoggle then.

    3. It will be interesting to learn the total amount of all the proposals added together. How much in excess of $10 million can the sum of requests be? We'll know the answer soon enough.

  4. Truly, my only other concern is that we'll potentially lose the summertime screening afforded by the existing foliage. (Even in winter, most people are totally unaware of the first embayment because it's obscured by vegetation.)

    In itself, this is not a reason to oppose development of the existing peninsula, but unless the proposal has an actual plan for the loss of the vegetation that currently blocks the commercial operations next door, then it's a bit disingenuous to show trees in an artist's rendition if those existing trees will be removed.

    I don't mind tree-removal, but I do mind what we'll see instead. (And it's very easy to promise that the wild trees will be retained only to find out later that they can't be.)

    Furthermore, I'd warn against any plan that relies on the Colarusso company's pledge to plant natural screening. It's not that I doubt they'd do it, but I'm afraid of what it will look like if they do.

    The little woodland which has grown naturally alongside the salt shed is actually quite nice. You cannot improve on that, unless you like mall plantings or whatever other aesthetic would be imposed on us by the company's engineer.

    Please leave that Colarusso shore alone. (And it would be a giant social error to negotiate with the company about "landscaping" there. By now everyone should know the price paid by Ms. Mussman as Chairman of the Waterfront Advisory Steering Committee when she negotiated with the previous owner on behalf of residents. It didn't go over so well then, and now it appears the plan she negotiated more than a decade ago is back to haunt us.)

    To the Pier People I say, please try to think of some other way in which the whole park doesn't have to stare at all-things-Colarusso year round.

    You're showing us what we can gain without owning up to what we'll lose.

  5. Please tell us of the Mussman F up a lot of us readers were not a resident of Hudson in 2007

    1. As Chairman of the Waterfront Advisory Steering Committee (appointed by the Common Council), now-County Supervisor Mussman approached St. Lawrence Cement, allegedly on her own, and agreed to a specific plan to transport the company's mining products across the South Bay. In January 2007, this plan was revealed to city residents who were aghast.

      It was rumored far and wide that her real motivation was to remove trucks (at the time primarily salt trucks) from in front of her place of business on Columbia Street. This was doubtful, though, because her business is on a New York State truck route, a circumstance she must have known the negotiation with St. Lawrence wouldn't negate.

      If her motivation was well-intentioned (big if) then it was also highly unpopular; the autocratic means she used to advance the company's aims inspired profound distrust.

      Ever since, and in regard to the same issue, Ms. Mussman has repeatedly advanced a shallow either/or argument which - as has been explained to her ad infinitum - merely exploits popular misconceptions of otherwise appropriate Environmental Justice concerns.

      In fact, the either/or scenario has no reality. It does have a useful application, though, in the gratuitous creation of class resentment in the city and the knock-on effect of forging a (gullible) political constituency.

      The incredibly profound cynicism of this approach is that the constituency thereby consolidated is predominantly the same demographic most in need of actual, attainable Environmental Justice!

      Environmental Justice can't be achieved by pandering, and by misrepresenting the facts of the case to those who most need to understand them. To misrepresent the circumstances in their name is grotesque!

      Going even further, though, to insinuate nefarious class motives in opposition to those who ARE doing the hard policy work of Environmental Justice is almost evil.

      Specific city neighborhoods (mine is one) are especially burdened by truck traffic which has every right to transport mining products by barge. I don't know anyone who questions that right.

      For thinking people, the city's much-desired Environmental Justice will require 1) an evaluation of the actual facts, followed by 2) careful policy planning, then 3) responsible legislation, and 4) enforcement of our local laws.

      Non-thinking politicians find it easier to demagogue the situation, as they have in Hudson for the last decade and more. It's done first by misinforming those who are most in need of help, and then by exploiting the resulting misunderstandings in order to perpetuate a useful crisis.

      Over the last decade the initial and widespread distrust mentioned above, and occasioned by our feelings of betrayal, has been kept alive by repeated demonstrations of manipulation, hypocrisy, and raw self-interest. Supervisor Mussman's years of demagoguing the Environmental Justice issue are over.

      Madame: your hypocrisy is on notice.

  6. So for reading the above we can see that LINDA MUSSMAN looks out for one person.. LINDA MUSSMAN. Thanks