Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Will It Be Ready?

The pictures shared yesterday of John L. Edwards School, then known simply as Hudson Elementary School, under construction in 1964, raised a question about whether the new primary wing of the school recently renamed Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School will be ready to receive students when school opens next Wednesday. A drive by the school earlier today suggested that getting everything set for students and teachers by September 5--a week and a day from now--will be a challenge.



  1. Unfortunately, the runoff system devised for the City-owned property below the construction site is already failing. All the surrounding areas drain into Underhill Pond.

    Meanwhile, the erosion of the old ravine (also on City-owned property) continues from above, and despite the School District's attempt to divert its runoff into an alternative drainage system constructed for the purpose. As for the alternative (again, on City-owned property), new erosion has begun in a new area which was previously a woodland.

    Unless there are still plans to address these ongoing and new problems, the School District, the School Board, and the City itself have failed a natural pond inside the City's proposed extension of the State Coastal Boundary.

    Where is the Conservation Advisory Council in all of this to protect the City's interests? Unsurprisingly, our CAC never investigated the significant erosion behind Crosswinds even though its members have been repeatedly alerted. (Even the chain of responsibility has been explained to them, but personal resentments prevent the lot of them from acting on behalf of the environment.)

    Is there anyone at all who cares about the environment in Hudson? How about Underhill Pond specifically? People may say they do, but if they're in City government or on the School Board then they're hypocrites.

  2. Are you implying that the superintendent and the BOE don't care?

    1. I really appreciate your asking for the clarification, Tom.

      Superintendent Suttmeier has so much to pay attention to right now that she needn't be climbing through the woods checking up on the stormwater infrastructure. That's for others to do. In fact, she showed a great deal of sensitivity to the issue when it was first announced as a concern here at Gossips, and a great deal more than the City of Hudson ever did concerning the City's own property.

      On further reflection, I don't fault the superintendent at all, though her project engineer redesigned the runoff strategy from what was initially discussed.

      To the next question, where's the BOE in any of this? (Immediately proceed to the next question - the one you didn't ask.)

      Where's the City of Hudson in this? Where's the City's curiosity about its own property, and where was its concern to begin with?

      True, there was some initial interest inside the Council Chamber, and even from the advisory Conservation Advisory Council (CAC). But the problem was there was little interaction between the City and the School District.

      Not a single Alderman or CAC member ever showed up to the School District's "runoff meetings," where the engineering alternatives were generously discussed at great length. (Also, it's possible that one BOE member attended one of those meetings, though it might have been none.)

      A meeting would be me, the superintendent, the engineer, the architect, and Mr. Keeler.

      Which begs the question, who the hell am I? Nobody! A random citizen who is offended by mindless erosion.

      Near to what I believed was the end of the planning phase (it wasn't: see the 3rd paragraph above), I addressed the previous Common Council explaining what I had "agreed to" with the School District concerning the affected City property.

      The Aldermen's reaction was as expected. More than one Alderman exploded, charging that I had no authority to agree or disagree about any of this with the School District.

      Exactly! Where were the Aldermen or anyone else who did have that authority? Absent as always, incurious, dull. (Please note: I'm not speaking about our current Aldermen.)

      Forgive the long response, but since you asked, I'd split the blame for any continuing runoff problems between the City of Hudson and the BOE, perhaps 75 / 25.

      The BOE, the individual members of which espouse environmental interests generally, should have kept this on the radar. It's members didn't.

      As for the City, we have a new mayor, a new Common Council, and the same old Conservation Advisory Council. I'll let you guess which of these parties warrants the label of "hypocrite."

      Perhaps the superintendent will still tell us that the erosion mitigation isn't complete. But who will she tell, me? Someone else, some authority, must at least feign an interest in this. But probably not.