Monday, March 25, 2019

Construction Begins

The Hudson Sloop Club has announced that construction of the Everett Nack Estuary Education Center on the Hudson waterfront is now underway.

The beginning pieces of the Nack Center have been put in place with an anticipated opening this summer. The project is funded by a grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The architect for the project is Liam Turkle; the general contractor is Jason Wyckoff.

Sam Merrett and Jason Wyckoff pose with key components of the Nack Center
The Nack Center will be a community resource open to the public, a location for educational and environmental organizations and river-related programming. The building is designed to offer hands-on and experiential displays and activities and will host visiting environmental educators and scientists. It will also serve as a riverfront information center for community members and visitors to Hudson. 

A small aquarium, regularly stocked with local marine life, will be a visual centerpiece, alongside wildlife and habitat displays. River data about tides, temperature, turbidity, and other factors will be on display on real time screens. The center will have a learning library of books and resources about the Hudson River’s ecology and history, and information about local boat rentals, tours, and other recreational opportunities. 

The Nack Center will be a resource for local scientists, students, and researchers, enabling access to valuable ecological data and a flexible space for interpretive learning. The facility’s location at Hudson’s waterfront will make the Nack Center accessible and visible from land and the river and will allow it to serve not only the residents of Hudson but also partner organizations, school groups, and tourists from the greater Hudson Valley and beyond. 

People will have a chance to view the progress on the Nack Center on Saturday, May 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when the Hudson Sloop Club will be participating in the annual Riverkeeper Sweep. Volunteers will meet in Henry Hudson Riverfront Park at 10 a.m. and participate in site cleanup at the Nack Center. 


  1. very ho-hum architecturally. looks like a gas station circa 1979 - conceptual and industrial.

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  3. Let me be the first to congratulate the Sloop Club, and to point out that I've consistently defended the project's slow start against a slew of easy criticisms.

    I'll also take this opportunity to clarify criticisms - my own this time - which negatively impacted this and other Sloop Club proposals. The Club's own conduct notwithstanding, a new Planning Board's poor handling of the environmental review for the Nack Center was a bad portent and indirect threat for decades of public efforts on behalf of the South Bay.

    In reaction to being challenged the Planning Board members were clearly affronted, but they missed the motivation for the scrutiny which anticipated a different SEQR review that still must be conducted for the adjacent bulkhead project.

    In its blatant promotion of the Sloop Club's plan, the Board members exhibited a worrying disregard for SEQRA and other laws. This was hardly a promising start for the newly seated Board, and contrasted with the prudence and discipline of the preceding Board under Chairman DePietro.

    Among the disregarded laws was one from the City Code that governs conflicts of interest. Some time later - too long for anyone to care - the Columbia County Board of Ethics determined that the Planning Board had indeed misunderstood its members' ethical obligations under the Code. It warned that the City that the NYS Comptroller had better not catch wind of it.

    Nothing of this was ever publicized, though now it can be known that the request for that determination was aimed less at the hubris of the Planning Board members than at their legal advisor, the City's Assistant Attorney, who has since been replaced.

    In the Sloop Club's SEQR review and other sloppy decisions meant to advance the Club's other plans, the Planning Board members cleaved to the advice of their former legal advisor at every step.

    The Board's attitudes were expressed in actionable policies, threatening far more than the handful of laws Board members were disregarding.

    Compared to the decades of citizen's efforts on behalf of the South Bay, all of it imperiled by the outspoken attorney for the overly-deferential Board, another delay for the Nack Center was tolerable. (The NYSDEC had confirmed beforehand that the Sloop Club's grant was never at risk.)

    For the sake of the South Bay, I'm hopeful that their new counsel will bring the Board members into coordination with the plans and strategies of the generations of residents who preceded them.