Sunday, September 30, 2018

Is This Where Our School Tax Dollars End Up?

A reader sent me this photograph of a dumpster at the now abandoned John L. Edwards School. Yes, that's a piano in there, along with several desks.

If memory serves, when HCSD closed the Greenport School some years ago, there was a sale of the school's furnishings and equipment. It probably didn't bring in lots of money, but an effort was made. To my knowledge, there was no attempt to sell or re-home any of this stuff, but I could have missed the notice. Checking the HCSD website just now, it seems the only thing deemed worthy of repurposing are the old wooden bleachers from the high school gym, pieces of which are being sold as souvenirs in a fundraiser.


The Great War: September 17, 1918

On September 17, 1918, the front page of the Columbia Republican reported that the French and Siberian offensive had begun, Allied planes had scored many successes, and the Allied forces were advancing. The armistice that ended the war was only two months away, but just the week before twenty-four more men from Columbia County left for recruitment camp in Syracuse.

Page three of the Columbia Republican for that week announced that Hudson was to have "a huge roll of honor containing the name of every boy who had gone out of this city to battle in the great war for right." Philmont already had one, which had been dedicated the previous Saturday. The Republican was doing the early 20th-century equivalent of crowd sourcing to raise the needed funds to pay for the honor roll.

This picture, from Historic Hudson's Rowles Studio Collection, shows the honor roll that was created.

Photo courtesy Historic Hudson
So far, I have found not any progress reports in the newspaper on the success of the fundraising effort or the creation of the honor roll, but on January 14, 1919, two months after the war in Europe ended, the Columbia Republican covered the dedication ceremony for the honor roll, which had been erected in the Public Square.

The account of the dedication reads in part:
The Hudson Honor Roll containing the names of 562 boys who went out from this city to do their bit in the war was unveiled Sunday afternoon in Public square before an amazingly large crowd, considering the extreme cold. The board is the result of the Republican's efforts as this paper started the agitation for such a memorial and went ahead to raise the fund. After a good beginning had been made the Republican appointed a committee composed of Tristram Coffin, chairman, and Mark Rosenthal, treasurer, who, with the assistance of a number of others completed the details, raised some more money and assigned all of the work incidental to completing the undertaking, and they did a host of work, too. A. A. Elliott was the designer and the Superintendent of Public Works O'Hara was a host in himself in setting up the big affair. A Victory wreath from Will Christians of the Allen Green Houses was sent to the park and adorned the board.
The workmanship of the Honor Roll is very beautiful. On a 28-foot base stands each letter, so plain that the aged eye may read at a glance the name of his grandson or his neighbor's boy who served his country. In solid black letters on a white field each name is painted. The marbelized [sic] slab presents a very neat and attractive appearance.
Standing at attention is a gilded figure of a soldier and sailor at each side of the Roll. The seal of the city of Hudson, Neptune and the whale, bringing citizens back to when Hudson was a whaling station, stands in colors above the tablet and effective burnished scroll work adds the finishing touches to the whole Roll.
R. D. Wentworth did the decorating and the painting of the names, assisted by Augustine Costa, who did the marble work, the entire piece being by all odds the handsomest in this section of the State.
The dedication program was simple but effective. Surrounding the Board was Company F and the Hudson band, hundreds of others being in the throng, many of the families of the boys who went over there; some whose sons or brothers or grandsons will never come back, others who are anxiously awaiting the return of the beloved ones. Old and young braved the cold to attend the exercises.
First, America was played by the band, the audience joining in the singing; then a prayer by Rev. R. Irving Watkins, D.D., after which the cloth covering the roll was dropped and Hon. Frederick J. Collier delivered [an] . . . eloquent oration. . . .
This image of the honor roll accompanied the coverage of the dedication in the Columbia Republican.

I've had no success in finding out what happened to the World War I honor roll. It's been suggested that the honor roll, fabricated of wood as it was, did not withstand constant exposure to the elements and simply rotted to a point beyond repair. The conclusion to the oration by Frederick J. Collier at the dedication of the monument, however, may provide some hint of what happened.
This Roll of Honor is indeed an inspiration and I trust the time is not far distant when there shall be erected in our city a more enduring structure commemorative of the services of all our soldiers and sailors in all the wars in which our country has fought: fought from Bunker Hill to Appomattox; fought from Appattomox [sic] to San Juan Hill; fought from San Juan Hill to Chateau Thierry; but always fighting for lofty purposes and ever inspired by the message of that Liberty Bell which over a century and a quarter ago proclaimed "Liberty throughout the world to all the inhabitants thereof."
It is likely this monument, in the southeast corner of the Public Square, "Erected by the citizens of Hudson in grateful recognition of her sons' and daughters' services in the Armed Forces of the United States," is the "more enduring structure" of which Collier spoke, replacing the honor roll.


Population Then and Now

On Thursday, October 4, the Hudson Area Library is hosting a public information forum on the 2020 census. The forum, which is sponsored by the New York Council on Families and Children, New York Civic Engagement Table, Assemblymember Didi Barrett, and Michael Chameides, Third Ward supervisor, will deal with the importance of an accurate count in the 2020 census to vital funding for local infrastructure and social services and explore what can be done to ensure an accurate count. The forum takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Community Room at the library, 51 North Fifth Street. Childcare, food, and refreshments will be provided. To reserve your seat, click here.

In the decade from 2000 to 2010, Hudson's population decreased by 10.8 percent, causing some elected officials to wring their hands and talk about "reviewing the 2010 census information to determine what the next move for Hudson should be." It's not clear if they ever determined what the next move should be, but, to this observer, the move seems never to have been made. There is a definite fear that, with so many vacant buildings and houses being maintained as short-term rentals, the 2020 census will reveal another decrease in Hudson's population.

I was reminded of the current situation yesterday when I came upon this item, which appeared in the Columbia Republican for September 17, 1918.

The report of fifteen "baby cabs" on two blocks of Warren Street reminded me of these pictures from a photo album discovered in an antique shop in South Burlington, Vermont, a few years ago. They were taken here in Hudson circa 1914, and Gossips helped identify the family to whom the album belonged.

Interestingly, the first picture shows the baby carriage on the 300 block of Warren Street, the block on which the Republican offices were located, at 346 Warren Street. 
The building now belongs to Galvan Initiatives Foundation.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Inspection Day Parade

The Hudson Fire Department held its 162nd Inspection Day Parade this afternoon. The parade was led off by Hudson elected officials and began and ended with music--the Ghent Band at the start, bagpipers at the end. In between were firefighters--from Hudson and neighboring towns and villages--marching smartly in dress uniform, firetrucks immaculate and gleaming, and antique firetrucks and apparatus. Here are some highlights from the parade.


Another Opportunity Today

This afternoon, Saturday, September 29, there is an open house at the DAR Chapter House, 113 Warren Street, from 1 to 4 p.m.

The picture above, provided by the DAR, was taken prior to the house becoming the Hendrick Hudson Chapter House in May 1900.

Congressional Candidates Debate Scheduled

It was announced on Thursday that Spectrum News will be hosting a debate between John Faso and Antonio Delgado on Tuesday, October 23, exactly two weeks before Election Day.

The debate will take place at the Woodstock Playhouse and will be moderated by Liz Benjamin, host of Capital Tonight, and Jeevan Vittal, Spectrum News Washington reporter.

Tickets will be available through the Woodstock Playhouse, beginning, it is expected, on Monday, October 1. For more information, click here.

Friday, September 28, 2018

A Grand Hudson Tradition

Tomorrow, Saturday, September 29, the Hudson Fire Department holds its 162nd annual Inspection Day Parade.

The parade begins at 2 p.m. and follows the traditional route of Hudson parades--from the Public Square, a.k.a. Seventh Street Park, down Warren Street to Front Street. It's a venerable Hudson tradition that everyone should turn out to experience.

The picture that accompanies this post shows the J. W. Hoysradt Hose & Chemical Company drum line marching in the Inspection Day Parade in 2009.

Russian Hackers and Fulton History

On the morning of September 7, a ransomware cryptovirus that originated in Russia struck the invaluable newspaper database, a site Gossips relies on extensively for historical research. It was a sad day. Miraculously, though, only a few days later, the site was up and running again. Earlier this week, the story of the attack and the recovery was told in the Times Union: "Grondahl: Russian hackers no match for digital archivist." Bravo, Tom Tryniski!

Thanks to Virginia Martin and Jim Hoon for bringing the article to my attention

Dogs in Cars

The incident in August of a dog being left in a pickup truck parked in the sun on the upper level of the CMH parking garage in 90 degree heat inspired Alderman Rich Volo (Fourth Ward) to suggest, at the Common Council Legal Committee meeting on Wednesday, that the City of Hudson adopt its own law regarding leaving dogs in cars in extreme heat or extreme cold. Currently state law dictates the punishment for leaving dogs unattended in cars in dangerous conditions: a fine of from $50 to $100 for the first offense. Volo wants the City of Hudson to adopt its own law with a higher fine: from $250 to $500 for a first offense. He also suggested that the City might donate the money from the increased fines to the Columbia-Greene Humane Society.

The New York State law regarding pets in cars can be found here. The first item in the law reads:
A person shall not confine a companion animal in a motor vehicle in extreme heat or cold without proper ventilation or other protection from such extreme temperatures where such confinement places the companion animal in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury due to exposure to such extreme heat or cold.
The second reads:
Where the operator of such a vehicle cannot be promptly located, a police office, peace officer, or peace officer acting as an agent of a duly incorporated humane society may take necessary steps to remove the animal or animals from the vehicle.
The following chart provides important information for those with dogs who enjoy outings in the car about how hot it can get inside a car--and how quickly it happens--when it is 70 degrees or warmer outside. 


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Of Interest

An opinion piece by Gareth Rhodes appeared today in the Gotham Gazette calling on Congressman John Faso to denounce the racially charged ads being run on his behalf by the Congressional Leader Fund: "Race-Baiting Politics Has No Place in Our District, or Any." The op-ed begins with this paragraph, followed by the photograph reproduced below:
Drive through Greene County New York, just 90 minutes north of New York City, and you'll see a large sign on the highway that pretty concisely states the main takeaway of the campaign Republicans are running here in New York's 19th Congressional District: "DELGADO FOR CONGRESS. NEVER. EX-RAPPER HATES WHITES & AMERICA."

You can read the entire piece here

Not Until October

I went to the Greenport Planning Board meeting on Tuesday, and encouraged others to go as well, because the agenda for the meeting indicated that TRG was returning for the continuation of the site plan review of the multi-use retail development proposed for the location on Fairview Avenue now occupied by McDonald's. When TRG last appeared before the Greenport Planning Board in July, Ed Stiffler, who chairs the Planning Board, announced that SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) had determined that the Gothic Revival house known as "The Pines" was eligible for listing in the State and National Registers of Historic Places and was requesting that TRG incorporate the house into its plans for the retail development instead of demolishing it.

Needless to say, I was curious to learn if and how they had done this and also to find out if Aldi's, which is rumored to be moving into the building soon to be vacated by ShopRite, was still to be the anchor store in the development. But alas, after a public hearing on a proposed subdivision at which no one spoke, Stiffler announced that what he called "the Aldi project" would be deferred until October.

The October meeting of the Greenport Planning Board is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, October 23, at 7:30 p.m.

The Woes of Being a Destination

HudsonValley360 reports today that Columbia County is contemplating imposing its own tax on short-term rentals: "Columbia County looks into tax on short-term rentals; Hunter starts discussion on short-term rental regs." Matt Murell, chair of the Board of Supervisors, has formed a subcommittee to investigate the possibility. The article reporting on the subcommittee's first meeting, which took place on Monday, notes that the subcommittee was given the following statistics specifically about Airbnb visitors and hosts in the county.
  • Columbia County received 14,000 guest arrivals from May 25 through September 3, an increase from last summer's number of guests to the county--11,900. Most of the guests are from New York City, according to the report.
  • More than 360 people in Columbia County rented their homes, an increase from 310 last summer. Hosts, as they are called, made more than $2.5 million this summer renting their homes, with the typical host making $4,847.
The subcommittee, which is being called the "Occupancy Charge Review Committee," is chaired by Murell and made up of supervisors Pat Grattan (Kinderhook), Art Bassin (Ancram), Michael Chameides (Hudson-3), Maria Lull (Chatham), John Reilly (Gallatin), and Ann Cooper, administrator for Columbia County Tourism.

You Can't Please All of the People

Dear Diary,
As the author of The Gossips of Rivertown, I've become accustomed to people I don't know stopping me in the street to ask, "Are you Carole?" When I acknowledge that I am, they go on to say that they read my blog and tell me how much they enjoy and appreciate it. It's a very pleasant and gratifying experience. I'm always thrilled to meet people who read Gossips. 
This morning something similar but different happened. An older woman--that is, older than I am--stopped me in the parking lot at ShopRite to ask, "Are you the one who runs her mouth about things that happen in Hudson?" My astute perception cautioned me this was not a fan, but I admitted that I was probably the person she had in mind. She then asked, "What do you get out of it?" Somewhat taken aback by the question and wondering what she suspected I might "get out of it," I told her I believed I was doing a community service and thought the three thousand or so people who read Gossips regularly would probably agree. She then said, "I don't care about three thousand people," and accused me of "blocking" someone she referred to as "a party I know." Not clear about what she meant by "blocking" but knowing there is no way to block someone from reading a blog, I said, "I don't do that." She declared, "Yes, you do." Realizing the conversation was degenerating into a schoolyard am not/are too exchange, I said, "No, I don't," and walked away.
It occurred to me, as, mildly shaken by the encounter, I was making my way through the aisles of ShopRite, that the party she accused me of "blocking" might have been flummoxed by the Blogger commenting process, as many have been, or was posting comments completely anonymously and I wasn't publishing them because, as I have repeatedly warned readers, I will not publish completely anonymous comments.
Let me take this opportunity to remind readers once again that if they choose the OpenID option for making a comment, which I thought Google had eliminated, they must sign their comments. I should also remind readers that I reserve the right to reject comments I consider inappropriate or simply snarky.
"Micropolitan Diary" is Gossips' homage to and blatant imitation of "Metropolitan Diary" in the New York Times. The term micropolitan was coined (by Gossips) because Hudson is a metropolis in microcosm.

Guerrilla Zebra Stripes

Former Second Ward supervisor Ed Cross has, at every opportunity, been requesting that crosswalks be striped at the corner of Third and State streets. If memory serves, the last time this request was made to DPW superintendent Rob Perry he said crosswalks would be created at this corner if his crew had enough time and materials. 

Earlier this week, crosswalks miraculously appeared on part of this intersection, on the east side of Third Street and the south side of State Street.


The crosswalks don't appear to be quite up to DPW standards, and photographs that appeared on one of Fourth Ward supervisor Linda Mussmann's Facebook pages, with the legend "Making the neighborhood safer north 3rd & state st," reveal why.

Photo: Linda Mussmann|Facebook
Photo: Linda Mussmann|Facebook
Update: More about the guerrilla zebra stripes appeared this afternoon on HudsonValley360: "Officials: Rogue crosswalks illegal." 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

What He's Doing Now

Gareth Rhodes, who won the seven-person race to be Democrats' congressional nominee in Hudson and Columbia County but not in the rest of the district, losing to Antonio Delgado, isn't sitting out this year's election. Instead, as WAMC reported yesterday, he is working to encourage voter turnout among young voters, aged 18 to 29. Rhodes is the executive director of a nationwide effort called Show Up 2018. To hear the WAMC interview with Rhodes about his new role, click here

Back to the Kaz Site

Yesterday at noon, the board of Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) met for its last--at least for a while--midday meeting. As the final agenda item, under New Business, there was a motion to change the board's regular meeting time from noon on the third Thursday of the month to 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month. The motion passed, with one of the nine board members present voting no and two abstaining.

Before that happened, there was much discussion on the topic that makes people obsessed about wanting to attend HDC meetings: the Kaz redevelopment project. The conversation started with Don Moore, who chaired the committee that was reviewing the proposals for the site, reporting that he was contacting the three developers--Bonacio Construction, Kearney Realty & Development, and Redburn Development--to "make sure they understood we are in a holding pattern." He indicated he was telling them HDC would be issuing another RFP, but it is not known when. He noted that one of the developers cautioned him that new tariffs being imposed on imported materials would change the bids.

A bit later in the discussion, Bob Rasner proposed a rather radical option. After saying, "This project sucks enormous energy," he asked, "Why don't we just put a 'For Sale' sign on it and sell it and get on with our core mission?" He identified the core mission as "job creation." Reacting to this suggestion, Steve Dunn said, "I think the City and the public are interested in dictating what that site becomes." Nick Haddad reminded the board that the waterfront was one of Hudson's most precious features and warned, "Turning the property over to a developer could be a disaster. What we do with the waterfront is extremely important." Later Haddad stressed, "We've been given this canvas, and he need to take our time." Mark Morgan-Perez insisted that the Kaz project was "the best example of fulfilling the mission of the organization."

John Gilstrap suggested "the Waterfront Development Committee could take over the site." Since there is no Waterfront Development Committee, it's not clear what body he had in mind. Later he said, "I do worry that we could be here two years from now in the same place." Dunn spoke of the concern about how the new development "relates to the rest of the city and the waterfront" and called for more community input. He advised, "Through a committee or some process, we need to figure out our options." 

Walter Chatham offered this assessment of the mistakes of the past: "What went wrong was the process wasn't ready for physical design, but people had the very strong impression that they understood what they would get." He concluded, "HDC went too fast." He cited the process being followed by Hudson Housing Authority, which he said is "focusing on non-design details," as one that HDC should have followed.

The final word on the subject came from Gilstrap, who said, "We really need to form a Kaz committee to look at the possibilities. . . . At some point the RFP needs to be rejiggered and reissued."

At the end of the meeting, when public comment was invited, Matthew Frederick urged the board to do an urban design study. He cited Warren Street as Hudson's best urban design feature, where buildings are three to four stories high and lots are 26 feet wide. He noted that if the site were developed by a single developer, rental income from the property would leave the city and urged, "We must figure out a way to keep income in the community." He suggested that dividing the site into smaller lots could achieve that goal, as well as ensuring that new development would be compatible with the rest of the city.

Reacting to Frederick's suggestion, Morgan-Perez declared, "You will not get one dollar for affordable housing. . . . just extremely wealthy people buying up the property." He did suggest that the state should come up with programs that could make the model suggested by Frederick feasible. Frederick acknowledged it was "a very complex thing" but protested, "To brush it off the table with one concern is unfair."

Clark Wieman asserted that "the process of an urban design plan has been ignored," noting that the process leading up to such a plan is a public process. He urged that a planner be hired to undertake the task of creating an urban design plan for the site.

During the discussion, some interesting information was revealed. Moore indicated that DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) funding for the project was initially $2.5 million, but it had been reduced to slightly less half a million, "because the project stalled." Now, according to Moore, "We have to figure out what we're going to do with [the money]."   

Moore also revealed that, of the three proposals HDC had been considering, the Kearney proposal "was almost all public funding." The other two proposals--from Redburn and Bonacio--used no public funding.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

All Trails Lead to Hudson

There's the Empire State Trail set to come through Hudson on city streets. Then there's the proposed hiking trail around the base of the landfill in North Bay, connecting the north side of Hudson with the Greenport Conservation Area and the network of trails beyond. Today, Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) announced that a firm had been selected to do a feasibility study on another trail--"a multi-use rail trail to connect Hudson's Oakdale Park to the Harlem Valley Rail Trail along the Boston and Albany rail corridor."

The firm selected is Weston & Sampson, which provides design, engineering, and environmental services. The press release explains, "Weston & Sampson has extensive experience in planning and designing trail networks across the country, including numerous trails in the Northeast." It continues:
CEDC is collaborating with the Columbia Land Conservancy (CLC) to coordinate a study examining a possible trail connecting the Empire State Trail at the City of Hudson to the Harlem Valley Rail Trail in the eastern part of Columbia County. The study will explore parts of a largely abandoned railroad between Hudson and Philmont. Rails on much of what was the "Boston & Albany" railroad were taken up decades ago, but a short spur is in use today.
The short spur of the Boston & Albany Railroad still in use today is the one that goes through Hudson, transecting the Public Square, to the ADM plant on Route 23B in Greenport.

The cost of the study is $18,500. CEDC was awarded a $12,750 Hudson River Valley Greenway Conservancy Trail Grant for the study last fall. The remainder of the funding is being provided by CEDC and CLC.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Followup on the Freak Accident

This afternoon, HudsonValley360 revealed the identity of the man who impaled himself on the wrought iron fence at 809 Warren Street on Friday night: "Man impaled by fence expected to recover." It was Chip Griffiths! He fell while walking his dog, Dutch, one of Joey's sometime play dates at the dog park, and the fence pierced his right shoulder.

I couldn't find a picture of Griffiths, so I opted for this picture of Dutch, found on Griffiths' Facebook page. I wish Griffiths a speedy recovery and hope Dutch is being well cared for while his human is in the hospital.

Update: I have since learned, from that wonderful local news source Facebook, that Dutch unexpectedly tugged causing Griffiths to lose his balance (Joey has done the same to me), and Dutch is being well cared for in his home by a group of friends and neighbors while he waits for his human to come home from the hospital. 

Requiem for a Mangy Fox

Since the beginning of September, a small cadre of folk who walk regularly in the cemetery have been looking for the fox suffering from sarcoptic mange in the hope of figuring out its regular haunts so we could get it some help. This morning, I thought we had achieved that. 

The fox hadn't been seen by anyone for a few days, but on Saturday morning, Joey, who despite his fearful nature has a disturbingly strong prey drive, was obsessed by the hollow tree in Section D of the cemetery. He veered off the path, circled the tree, and poked his nose into the hollow, bent on rooting something out. I peered into the hollow but could see nothing, but Joey remained determined to pursue whatever he was convinced lurked inside the tree. This was the same tree near which the mangy fox was sighted on September 5 and which it was photographed exiting on September 10.

Joey's behavior convinced me that if the tree wasn't the fox's den, it was surely a place where the fox spent a fair amount of time and would regularly return.

Earlier today I received this picture of the fox taken on Sunday morning in the northeast corner of Cedar Park, across Newman Road from the transfer station--an area of the cemetery where the fox had been sighted several times before.

Now we had two likely places to find the fox. So I emailed the log of sightings I'd been keeping, the most recent photograph, and my conclusions about the fox's movements to the wildlife rehabilitator who said she would step in when we could reasonably pinpoint the fox's location. But alas, this afternoon I got word that, at 3:30 p.m., the fox had been found dead, just a few yards from the spot where it had been photographed crouching in the sun on Sunday morning.

I shared the news with the other fox watchers, and we commiserated about how sad we were and how bad we felt that we had failed in our efforts to help the fox. Then this evening, just as I had started writing this post, a reader sent me this picture of a fox sighted in Cedar Park in this morning.

This is not the mangy fox we'd been pursuing, the one that was found dead this afternoon, but it does appear, to my untrained eye, that this fox may be suffering the early stages of sarcoptic mange. Having failed to save the life of the first mangy fox we tried to help, maybe we can save the life of this one. 

Another Lot for Sale

Hudson Community Development & Planning Agency (HCDPA) is selling more of its property. This time what is for sale is the vacant lot at 238 Columbia Street.

The lot is 25 feet wide along Columbia Street and Long Alley and 120 feet deep. The minimum bid is $35,000. The big tree that appears in the picture above is no longer there.

The property is being sold by sealed bid. Bids must be submitted before 2 p.m. on November 8. The bid packet can be accessed here. Bids will be opened and either accepted or rejected at the next regular meeting of the HCDPA Board, which takes place on November 8 at 2:00 p.m. at 1 North Front Street.

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

The most challenging thing in the meeting schedule this week may be knowing where the meetings will take place.
  • Today, Monday, September 24, the Common Council Fire Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. and the Common Council Police Committee meets at 6:00 p.m. No agenda is available for either meeting, but both meetings are to take place at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street.
  • Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 25, the Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) Board holds its regular monthly meeting. Despite a petition, which now has 116 signatures, asking the board to hold its meetings in the early evening, the meeting will take place at noon at 1 North Front Street.
  • At 5:30 p.m. tomorrow, the Tourism Board meets at the FASNY Museum of Firefighting, 117 Harry Howard Avenue. 
  • At 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 25, the Greenport Planning Board holds its regular monthly meeting. There are two items of interest on the agenda: the proposal from East Light Partners to site a solar array on land along Route 9 and adjacent to the grounds of the Dr. Oliver Bronson House, a National Historic Landmark; and the proposal by Trinity Realty Group (TRG) to construct a new retail development at the current site of McDonald's in Greenport.
At the last meeting of the Greenport Planning Board, East Light Partners were asked to provide letters from Scenic Hudson, The Olana Partnership, and Historic Hudson, the steward of the Bronson House, "saying they have no concerns, or, if they do, what concerns they are." They were also asked "to take a very close look at the landscaping plan," to ensure it was adequate to screen the solar panels from view.
In July, Ed Stiffler, chair of the Greenport Planning Board, announced the review of the project to build a new retail center, with Aldi's as its anchor and McDonald's as its centerpiece, had been deferred because SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) had determined that the Gothic Revival house on the site was eligible for listing in the State and National Registers of Historic Places and was asking that, instead of demolishing it as planned, TRG incorporate the historic house into the design for the retail development. Given that request and the rumor that Aldi's will be moving into the building now occupied by ShopRite, it will be interesting to how TRG has amended its site plan.
  • On Wednesday, September 26, the Common Council Legal Committee meets at 6:15 p.m. No agenda for the meeting is available. Since there is no indication to the contrary, we are assuming that meeting will take place at City Hall.
  • On Friday, September 28, the Historic Preservation Commission meets at 10 a.m. at City Hall. This is the HPC's second meeting in September, and at its second meeting of the month, the HPC votes on certificates of appropriateness for projects reviewed at the first meeting of the month. Three projects were reviewed at the September 14 meeting: new windows at 744 Warren Street; alterations to a 2012 addition and a new fence at 446 East Allen Street; new windows and a new, repositioned fence at 353 Union Street.

Determining the City Budget

Right now, it is budget season in the City of Hudson. The Board of Estimate and Apportionment, made up of the mayor, the Common Council president, and the city treasurer, is meeting with department heads to determine the city's budget for 2019. In the past, these workshops were held in private, with only aldermen invited to attend. This year for the first time the public can be present to observe the workshops, which take place at City Hall. The workshops for the Department of Public Works, the Police Department, and the Senior Center all happened last week, but the workshops continue this week and next week.

The schedule for today, Monday, September 24, is:
  • 2:30 p.m. Assessment
  • 3:15 p.m. City Clerk
  • 4:00 p.m. Parking Bureau
The schedule for Wednesday, September 26, is:
  • 3:00 Code Enforcement
  • 4:00 Fire Department
If you're curious to witness the process that determines how your property taxes are spent, show up for a workshop or two.

Frank Faulkner's Legacy in Hudson

Frank Faulkner, acclaimed artist, interior designer, and Southern gentleman, died a week ago last night. In addition to his art, Faulkner is well know for his proclivity for rescuing and restoring old houses, here in Hudson and elsewhere--houses which when he bought them were usually described, justifiably so, as "wrecks." An article that appeared in Rural Intelligence in 2008 reported that he bought his first house in Hudson in 1982, and he was, at that time, on his fourteenth house. In an article that appeared in One Kings Lane, about his house in Spencertown, Faulkner is quoted as saying, "It's never been about flipping them or reselling them. I always intended to grow old in them. But after everything is finished and I've lived in it for a while, I see another house I want to play with."

Gossips came to Hudson in 1993, eleven years after Faulkner bought his first house here, so I missed his first eleven years of bringing houses back from the edge. The first house I remember being his was this one on South Fifth Street. I recall harrowing accounts of the condition of the house--two houses actually--when he bought it.

During the time Faulkner owned the house (he sold it in 1996) and for many years after, it was painted all taupe.

In 2010, the house was featured in House Beautiful. Today, the house, known as Haviland House, is a short-term rental.

Faulkner's next house was this one on South Seventh Street.

Then there was this house on lower Warren Street, which Faulkner acquired in 2002 and sold in 2004.

The article in Rural Intelligence, mentioned above, identified Faulkner's house on North Fifth Street as being his fourteenth house in Hudson. The picture of below is borrowed from that RI article.

Today, any view of the house from the street is almost completely obscured by a fence erected by a subsequent owner.

During the time Faulkner owned the house on North Fifth Street, a carriage house which he originally purchased thinking he might use it as a painting studio, he acquired and restored this Arts and Crafts house on Washington Street.

When Faulkner owned the house, he painted it all a very dark green with just a few dark terra cotta accents.

Faulkner's last house in Hudson, according to my recollection at least, was this one on South Fourth Street, which he acquired in 2008 and sold in 2013. The exterior of the house is today exactly as he intended it, except two of the three meticulously pruned boxwoods in front have since died.

Such a remarkable legacy. Such a great loss. Thank you, Frank Faulkner, for your enduring contribution to Hudson.