Monday, March 30, 2020

Progress on the DRI Continues

Since March 18 and going forward through the month of April, the calendar on the City of Hudson website indicates that meetings of the DRI Committee are "CANCELLED." With three projects in the works and a fourth getting ready to begin, Gossips asked mayoral aide Michael Chameides this morning for an update. Here's what was learned.

Although the calendar indicates it was canceled, the March 18 meeting of the DRI Committee did take place by phone. The notes on that meeting, prepared by Caren LoBrutto of Chazen Companies, assistant to project manager Chris Round, are available on the City of Hudson website. Of interest is that there will be another meeting by conference call this Wednesday, April 1. Unlike other city meetings, it appears no provision has been made to allow the public to listen to or participate in the conversation. By way of explanation, the notes from the March 18 include this statement:
This meeting is taking place during the NYS, Columbia County, and City of Hudson State of Emergency where social distancing procedures are in place. This committee, which does not a define quorum [sic], is not subject to open meetings law. Meeting notes will continue to be distributed and public comment sought.
Gossips will share pertinent information from the notes on the March 18 meeting, along with other information gleaned along the way.

Promenade Hill  
The "kick-off site walk," which was supposed to happen a week ago, on March 23, has been postponed for at least two weeks. How long the postponement will last is to be decided at the April 1 meeting. The contract with Starr Whitehouse is still being reviewed by the mayor's office.

BRIDGE District Connectivity
The contract with Arterial|Street Plans Collaborative has still not been fully executed. The "public engagement piece" of the project has been postponed for at least two weeks. It was noted at the March 18 meeting that if public engagement doesn't begin until June there would be "no substantive change to the overall schedule."

Dunn Warehouse
The repairs to the roof, which should have been completed already, had to be postponed because the metal deck needed was not available. That element was supposed to be produced last week and delivered this week, and the project was to be completed within five days of delivery. It's likely the creation of the deck is not considered essential manufacturing, or that the work to install the deck and repair the roof is considered emergency construction. Gossips has contacted Peter Bujanow, Commissioner for Public Works, to ask about the status of the project, but so far there has been no response. 

The revised request for expressions of interest (REI) was issued on March 5, with the deadline for submitting proposal set for April 10 at 4:00 p.m. A walk-through scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, was canceled. So far, there have been just two responses, both declining the invitation to make the site visit. 

Furgary Fishing Village
Public comment on the draft RFP for the fishing village, known familiarly as "the Shacks," was being accepted by mayoral aide Michael Chameides until Monday, March 16. The notes from the meeting that took place by phone on Wednesday, March 18, report: "RFP approach being reconsidered to adjust scope and intent to better reflect DRI Committee consensus." The notes also indicate: "Chris [Round] to obtain and share the DRI Application description, review comments from the public and share a draft in advance of April 1 meeting."

The 2020 Hudson River Access Plan released by Scenic Hudson last week includes the Furgary site and describes it in this way:
EXISTING USE & FACILITIES ON SITE The small fishing village has 17 shacks remaining of the many that were used over the last century. Fishermen and hunters called these home while they fished and hunted in the bays and surrounding areas. The village was going to be torn down by the City when New York State stepped in to maintain this link to the river.  
The Hudson River Access Plan makes the following recommendation for the site:
Preserve this historical resource as a historic site paying tribute to the Hudson River fishermen and their families who resided there. Re-open access to the Hudson River for fishing and recreation in this area. 


  1. Going by the March RFP the current DRI Committee knows a great deal less about our "Fishing Village" project than Scenic Hudson does. That's little wonder, though, considering that the Committee's consultant never took us up on our repeated offer to present the project directly, and to share the documents and correspondence we've shared with various state officials.

    Nope, not interested.

    That said, thanks are now due to Mayor Johnson and Mayoral Aide Chameides for getting the consultant's outlandish RFP reconsidered.

    But what is meant in the Committee's March 18 Minutes by the "DRI Application description"?

    A rough sketch of the project appears in the "DRI Grant Application" of June 14, 2017, but is long since superseded. Some of the later changes were reflected in the April 2018 "Hudson [DRI] Strategic Investment Plan," which reduces to a blurb our own 11-page project summary submitted in January 2018 as a requirement of the grant.

    But even our own Summary was superseded by the recommendations of SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) as to which shacks to save and seal.

    Will the Committee now move forward on the basis of a blurb from 2017? Will that be followed by wasting even more of SHPO's time rather than ask us to see the state's documentation already devoted to the subject?

    It all looks bumbling and inefficient. Why don’t these people just talk to us?

  2. If it's against the rules for the DRI Committee to communicate with the public, then that's one thing.

    But the way things are going it seems to break a rule for the Committee to inform the public that it cannot communicate with the public.