Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Eight Ideas for Oakdale

Last night, Hudson Valley Initiative (HVI) presented its vision for Oakdale Lake, which, as HVI director Kaja Kühl described it, was "a combination of low-hanging fruit and a bigger vision." The vision was based on input from the community, starting in August with a visit to Oakdale and interaction with the children there and continuing with a workshop that took place in October at the Hudson Area Library. To make the larger vision doable, it was divided into eight parts, all of which could be pursued independently.

Idea 1 is the renovation of the beach house and redesign of the entrance. 

The proposed changes to the beach house include a concession bar and rearrangement of the Youth Department office and the bathrooms, to make the latter more accessible. The redesign of the entrance involves closing the entrance on North Sixth Street to vehicles, making it a pedestrian entrance and a drop-off spot for buses and parents bringing their kids to Oakdale. A new entrance from North Seventh Street would be created for vehicles.

Idea 2 is reorganizing all the asphalt covered areas into a multipurpose space for the skate park, basketball courts, and parking and creating a play lawn.

Idea 3 involves enlarging the existing picnic area.

Idea 4 is controlling the algae bloom in the lake. 

Various means of achieving this were suggested, including floating islands that would break down the unwanted nutrients that encourage algae growth.

Idea 5 is a "forest classroom," which would include small installations and interpretive signage along an improved trail through the woods.

Idea 6 is a new playground, with a covered area to provide shelter from rain, bathrooms, and natural installations for play.

Idea 7 is the creation of a picnic grove on the north side of the lake. 

One of the features of the proposed picnic grove is a "Date Nook," which brings to mind--to Gossips' mind at least--the legendary "love rock" on Promenade Hill that Stephen B. Miller, writing in 1862, told about in Historical Sketches of Hudson:
Near the Southern end of the hill, visitors cannot have failed to notice a small circular grove of trees, called "lovers' retreat." These were planted, it is said, to mark the location of a rock known in the early days of the city as "Love rock," and the spot, where "by moon-light alone," a large proportion of the marriage contracts of our Quaker ancestors were "made and entered into."
Idea 8 is a redesign of the western end of the lake, along Glenwood Boulevard.

The plan involves a toddler water play area, a broadwalk, and vegetation to buffer the lake from the street.

There was another idea, in addition to the eight: returning ice skating to Oakdale.

Ice skating on Oakdale Lake, 1968|
During the discussion the followed the presentation concerns were raised about the multiple uses planned for the hard surface areas. It was asserted that there were times when the basketball court was being used and, simultaneously, parking for seventy cars was required. The opinion was also expressed that one full basketball court and two half courts were not enough.

Matthew Frederick expressed an interest in seeing Underhill Pond included in the plans. He spoke of the potential for creating a chain of green spaces that would connect Oakdale Lake with the Hudson River. 

There were sign-in sheets asking attendees to indicate their interest in one of the eight ideas presented. Tamar Adler, the driving force behind Friends of Oakdale Lake, explained that the proposal had been broken down into eight parts, "so that people can commit to things and start making it happen."

Another meeting, at which the final plans proposed for Oakdale will be presented, is scheduled to take place on Thursday, February 7, in the Community Room of the Hudson Area Library.


  1. It's great to see so many terrific ideas!

    I particularly applaud Matthew Frederick's interest in and concern for Underhill Pond.

    It's perplexing and hypocritical why City-owned Underhill continues to fall through EVERY crack in our planning and protection efforts, and with perilous consequences.

    If the Oakdale effort is limiting itself for the time being, then I hope the current planning will at least establish the ambition to include Underhill in future.

    1. Wouldn't Hudson need new code with respect to the (people's) Underhill shore?

    2. Fifty years ago (thin) kids would crawl through the narrow drain beneath Harry Howard, between Underhill and J L E field.

      Theoretically, given Mgh one could kayak from Oakdale, cross Underhill and sluice all the way out and under the bridge at North Dock, and into the Faithful.

  2. From Underhill, that's the exact course to the river of tons of sediment from human-caused erosion into the pond.

    The City shares responsibility for the erosion, and Underhill Pond is even City-owned. So far, however, there's been no interest by anyone concerning the extensive erosion and resulting sedimentation caused by Crosswind's failed stormsewer infrastructure.

    Ever since the City's Conservation Advisory Council declined to take notice, I realized that nothing can save Underhill Pond unless and until citizens begin to care.

    How strange that we care so much about Oakdale while pretending that Underhill doesn't even exist!

    1. Stranger yet, given the height of Oakdale relative to dock street, volume of water there and the force of gravity, why isn't Hudson generating power?