Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Last Night's Council Meeting: Part 1

There is much to report from last night's Common Council meeting, and Gossips will retell the events in multiple posts, presented in more or less chronological order, beginning with the resolution to recognize 241 Columbia Street as a local landmark.

Before the vote was taken, Victoria Milne, the building's owner, made an appeal to the Council not to approve the designation. As she has before, Milne complained that no one had consulted her when the campaign to designate the building began, inspired by the false belief that the building was in danger of imminent demolition. She described what had happened as an "ambush" and its unfolding as a "conspiracy" and declared that she did not "want to be governed by historic preservation." 

Once again, she proposed an alternative to designation: a plaque that would recount the building's history as the original house of worship for Shiloh Baptist Church. She claimed the plaque would tell the African American community's story, whereas "a body of white people with control over mullions and the facade" would not. She also called it "galling" that the building had been owned by the City, and nothing had been done to preserve it. (The building was owned by the City for seven months--from May to December in 2017--after it had been seized for nonpayment of property taxes.)

When Milne finished her appeal, Council president Tom DePietro noted that she had not made "a formal request to deny the application." Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) asked Milne if she would "let Reverend Cross get his church back." (Former Second Ward supervisor Ed Cross rented the church building for his Endless Love Temple congregation for eight years, from 2009 until 2017, when it was foreclosed on by the City.) Milne answered Garriga: "That's not my plan." Alderman Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward) asked if she knew the history of the building when she purchased it. Milne said she knew it had been a Masonic Lodge and the previous owner (who bought it for the minimum bid in the tax auction) had gutted it and had other plans for it. When Merante mentioned historic preservation tax credits, Milne said she knew nothing about them because she has never managed a historic building.

When the vote was finally taken, the Council voted unanimously to approve the designation. Alderman Eileen Halloran (Fifth Ward) was absent from the meeting.


  1. so we made life more difficult for an entrepreneur starting a business in Hudson?

  2. The essence of comedy is closure: bringing something in the setup forward as the punchline. And here, once again, life imitates are. The sheer comedy of Alderwoman Garriga attempting to help Reverend Cross -- where was she 4 years ago when the scenario that led to the City being forced to take the property for nonpayment of taxes was coming together? Sitting on the Council, keeping her chair warm, and doing absolutely nothing to help Reverend Cross. She couldn't understand the issues then; she has no concern for taxpayers now.

  3. This all seems so silly. Are we going to do this to all the churches in town when the congregations and money run out? This building would make a nice residence, and a plaque in front should suffice. I'm sorry Mr. Cross and others lost their church long ago. Life goes on. This should not be taking up one second of the CC's time besides perhaps debating for years on an appropriate plaque. BILL HUSTON

  4. Love the Renovation,
    ALL the rest is a waste of time and money

  5. As far as I am aware, there is nothing in an historic designation, nor, for that matter, in the proposed renovation, which would interfere with use of the building as a residence.

  6. No good deed goes unpunished in Hudson.