For someone who has been watching the DRI process up to this point, tonight's open house provided very little new information. I was expecting the proposed projects to be winnowed down, but just about everything proposed still seemed to be on the table. Perhaps the "tour" of the BRIDGE District, presented by the head planner for Stantec, intended to show "how the projects begin to fit together," may provide some hints about which projects are rising to the top--or maybe not.
The tour started out on Front Street, where it is being proposed that, on a "wide street with no markings," parking lanes and a bike lane be created, with the effect of slowing down traffic on the street. It was also proposed that Allen Street and Union Street each be one-way, with parking lanes on both sides and a bike lane.
From there, the tour moved to the north side of town, to the Community Food Hub, the first phase of which includes "aggregation and distribution services, commissary kitchen, on-site retail component, and bakery." Where this is to be located is unclear, but perhaps it will be in the former COARC building on North Second Street, where Hawthorne Valley Association is planning to produce sauerkraut, kimchi, and other lacto-fermented vegetables.
From the Food Hub, the tour moved to Dock Street, where the addition of sidewalks is proposed, and on to the river, where three projects have been proposed: North Bay ReGeneration, a Kite's Nest project; Fishing Village, the Furgary Boat Club re-imagined as a public park and historic maritime cultural landscape ; and Bioenergy Park, a waste to energy facility.
The tour then moved on to Promenade Hill, where the proposed project involves "fixing up the front door," in other words redesigning the "plaza" that leads up to the park.
From Promenade Hill, the tour moved to the train station, where a bike lane (the same bike lane that runs the length of Front Street) and streetscape improvements are proposed; the Broad Street crossing, where creating clear spaces for pedestrians and vehicles is proposed; and to the waterfront, where the proposed projects are the Nack Center, the public pier, and the redeveloped Dunn warehouse.
Heading farther south, the tour moved to Basilica Hudson, where Phase II involves landscaping and creating a public green space around the building, and The Warehouse, where the proposal is to provide small business assistance.
The Kaz site was next, and Sheena Salvino, executive director of HDC (Hudson Development Corporation) provided an update. HDC is now considering proposals from three developers: Redburn Development, Kearney Realty & Development Group, and Bonacio Construction. Each group is proposing a combination of residential and commercial spaces. The proposed residential uses include both rental units and condominiums; the possible retail/commercial uses include a food market, entertainment, and shared work space. Salvino indicated that each developer intended to own and manage the buildings going forward.
From the Kaz site, the tour moved to Cross Street, where sidewalk and street improvements are proposed, and to Second Street, where a re-imagined Second Street staircase would connect the Robert Taylor House, redeveloped as a tavern, and the Charles Alger House, redeveloped as a B&B.
Two other proposals were also mentioned: homeowner improvement grants for houses in the BRIDGE District, for "facade repairs to improve curb appeal," and an assistance program for minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses.
Although last night's open house was advertised as the last public meeting, Steve Kearney, the planner from Stantec who's been heading up the process, indicated there would be one more final public meeting at the beginning of March. According to Kearney, the plan is "still a moving plan, but we are getting close." The next step is to submit the final draft plan (yes, that's an oxymoron) to the Department of State, where it will be determined which projects are eligible for DRI funding. The total cost of all of the projects being proposed is $80 million, with $16.5 million coming from DRI funding. The available DRI funding is $9.7.
Meeting #5 of the Local Planning Committee--the last meeting of that body posted on the Hudson DRI website--will take place on Tuesday, February 20 (the same night as the regular February Common Council meeting), at 6 p.m. at John L. Edwards Primary School.
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