At the DRI Local Planning Committee meeting on January 26, it became known that the Galvan Initiatives Foundation had submitted five proposals for DRI funding. Two were new projects: restoring the Robert Taylor House as a restaurant and tavern; restoring the Charles Alger House, 59 Allen Street, as a B&B.
The other three were projects Galvan had already announced it was undertaking: restoring 260 Warren Street, part of it for affordable housing; restoring 22-24 Warren Street for affordable housing; creating a kitchen for the Salvation Army at 11 Warren Street.
By February 8, the date of the last public meeting in the DRI planning process, 260 Warren Street had been dropped from the list for an obvious reason: it was out of the BRIDGE District; but the other four remained. After the LPC Project Development Subcommittee met on February 16 to determine the projects to be included in the draft DRI Investment Plan, those four projects continued to be part of the plan: three--the Robert Taylor House, 22-24 Warren Street, the Salvation Army kitchen--recommended to receive DRI funding; the fourth--59 Allen Street--recommended to be part of the DRI Investment Plan but not to receive DRI funding.
The public outcry over awarding DRI funds to the Galvan Foundation began last Tuesday, when, at the Hudson Development Corporation board meeting, Julie Metz demanded to know "why Galvan is being encouraged to apply for DRI money." She told the board that Galvan had been "founded by two extraordinarily wealthy people" and declared that it was "beyond the pale that they would get money from the DRI." Duncan Calhoun, HDC board president, denied that HDC had anything to do with the DRI process. Board member Don Moore told Metz that no one had encouraged them, but there was "no prohibition to them applying." When Metz asked Sheena Salvino, HDC executive director, if HDC had written a letter of support for the Galvan projects, Salvino said there had been no such letter.
At the final DRI Local Planning Committee meeting on Thursday, LPC member Colin Stair voiced the opinion that "taking public money to award Galvan is wrong." When the public was allowed to speak, Victor Mendolia told the LPC that he was appalled at the possible funding of the Galvan projects. He pointed out that the board of the Galvan Foundation consisted of just two people--one of whom was one of the richest people in America--and called them "bad actors in the community," attributing a significant portion of Hudson's population loss between 2000 and 2010 to Eric Galloway's "obsessive acquisition" of buildings. Mendolia's entire statement can be viewed in the video of the meeting, beginning at 2:12:21.
Gossips reported on Friday that the LPC did not vote on adopting the DRI Investment Plan at its final meeting because not all of the members were present. The members of the LPC are to submit their votes--indicating yes or no to the full list and disclosing any conflicts of interest with particular projects--by Monday, March 5. Gossips has learned that there may be a possibility that the Galvan projects--recommended to receive $842,570 in DRI funds--could be pulled from the draft DRI Investment Plan being submitted to the Department of State and comments on the issue can be submitted to the LPC before Monday. A reader shared his letter to the LPC in a comment on a Gossips post. To submit a comment to the LPC, click here.
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