Saturday, March 13, 2021

News from the Planning Board: Part 3

Traditionally, when a building is fifty years old, it can be considered a historic resource, worthy of protection. In the case of 30 Prospect Avenue, the former Eden Park Nursing Home, constructed in 1971, fifty years marks the end of its useful life. The third project considered by the Planning Board on Tuesday was the proposal from Columbia Memorial Health, the current owner of the building, to demolish it to create fifty parking spaces for hospital staff.


Staff parking at the hospital has been a perennial problem. CMH prioritizes parking for visitors and those seeing doctors in the medical center. As a consequence, hospital staff park on neighborhood streets, taking spaces that residents consider to be theirs. In 2015, the Common Council voted to enact a law that would provide parking permits for residents and would make anyone parking on the street in the area without a permit subject to ticketing. The legislation passed with barely a majority, and it was vetoed by Mayor William Hallenbeck because, even though the parking permit scheme had originally been his idea, he claimed the Council Legal Committee had "turned it into a monster" by expanding the scope of the legislation.

Apparently not knowing this history, Planning Board member Larry Bowne questioned if CMH has established the need for parking. "My bias," said Bowne, "is we don't tear down a building for a parking lot." He noted that the building was "one of the few mid-century buildings in Hudson" and added, "We don't know what the future is going to love."

Planning Board chair Betsy Gramkow attested that she had worked in the building for twelve years. "There's nothing nice about that building," said Gramkow. "It doesn't even feel safe anymore." Tim Moot, representing CMH, maintained the building "has met its life expectancy."

Bowne insisted the board needed more information about number of employees, how many of them drive to work, and where they park now. Gramkow enumerated concerns about storm water runoff, landscaping, lighting, and a crosswalk to the hospital. 

A public hearing on the proposed project was scheduled for Tuesday, April 13.

For some perspective, this is how the site once looked.

COPYRIGHT 2021 CAROLE OSTERINK

17 comments:

  1. why not a 2 level garage or be a waste of time

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  2. In not providing adequate parking for their large staff, and expecting the residential blocks nearby to host these parked cars and their (often) smoking, trash-tossing owners, CMH has been a spectacularly irresponsible neighbor. While I doubt that 50 more parking spots will solve this particular problem, at least the proposed parking lot is no more unsightly than the dreary suburban strip mall building there now - and it might even look a bit better. And, hey, 50 parking spots is still better than none.
    Rather surprised that Mr. Bowne is so ignorant about this serious ongoing issue, especially since he is in a position to actually do something about it.

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  3. CMH can't figure out how to replace the broken sensor for its lamps on poles in their lots along Columbia. For years the lights have been on 24/7. Nor can they find the time and money to replace their HORRIBLY DANGEROUS sidewalks with something approaching respectability (as well as the missing striped crosswalks for pedestrians across all their entrances). Knock down a building and put up a parking lot? Not a problem. CMH is, indeed, an irresponsible neighbor. Whoever is in charge up there is not paying attention. B Huston

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  4. That "mid-century" building is junk. It's poorly constructed and is butt-ugly. Preserving a structure just because it dates to a particular time period is bad policy, IMHO.

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  5. One of my issues with crap modernism is that it doesn't age well. That building across from the hospital already looks tired and dirty. A traditional wooden structure ages nicely and retains its charm well into its latter years.

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  6. I’m confused why this would be controversial. The hospital is NOTORIOUSLY short on employee parking, (I am surprised that those in authority didn’t even know that), and that building is just sad, and I say that as someone who loves mid-century modern. Please.

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  7. Mr. Bowne obviously doesn't live near the hospital. Many of us don't have off street parking, and there are days when parking is a serious challenge. The hospital should build a two story parking lot, and fix those sidewalks! I agree with B Huston. The sidewalk approach around the dreaded triangle is dangerous, and stupid.

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    1. I HATE parking structures, I think that they are profoundly ugly, (and I say that as someone who worked in the 100 East parking structure in downtown Milwaukeefor 3 years.). I think that one of the only places in Hudson where a parking structure might be appropriate would be for the hospital. Every other post on here is about the shortage of parking in Hudson, blah blah blah. This is actually adressing that problem.

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  8. Shocking that none of the commenters mentioned the future of the employees that work in the building. How many are there and where will they be displaced to?

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    1. It was noted during the presentation that the building is currently only 30 percent occupied. It houses CMH administrative offices. Those employees, who work for CMH, will move to offices elsewhere on the CMH campus. I would guess the old COARC Starting Place building, which CMH acquired a few years ago.

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  9. I bet even a 2-story banal garage can be well designed and built to last/age well. How about a challenge to all the architects out there as a community service!

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  10. A garage doesn't have to be banal. Imagine a two story garage with a roof covered with solar panels, the exterior walls could have a vine friendly mesh and the walls covered with vines, a bank of trees could be planted all around. This would offset some of the carbon of those cars and would be eco friendly as opposed to another heat sinking slab of blacktop.

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    1. Absolutely! While we're at it, at least a couple of electric charging stations - not long from now that's the only kind of cars we'll be driving!

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  11. The best parking garage I've ever seen is at the New York Botanical Garden. The dominant feature of the facility is its distinctive exterior fa├žade, which creates a “vertical garden” on all four sides of the building. Here's a link to detailed information: https://www.nybg.org/content/uploads/2017/08/NYBGGaragePressRelease3-30-12.pdf

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