At the informal Council meeting on Monday, May 10, Jeff Baker, counsel to the Council, offered this advice regarding the resolution to accept $100,000 from the Galvan Foundation to study the feasibility of moving City Hall to 400 State Street and the resolution to issue bonds for alterations to 520 Warren Street to achieve ADA compliance: "Get both introduced and then decide which to proceed with." Last night, Council president Tom DePietro told the Council, "We don't have to choose between the two resolutions." Peter Bujanow, commissioner for public works, elaborated, saying that improvements to 520 Warren Street "would enhance the value if the building should go for sale in the future." DePietro added, "Doing both projects will make the DOJ [Department of Justice] happy." The City of Hudson has a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice over its ADA compliance shortcomings.
The Council first voted on the bond resolution, which was unanimously approved. One of the most troubling things about the proposed improvements to 520 Warren Street are the alterations to the facade of the building.
When the proposed alterations were presented to the Historic Preservation Commission in November 2020, it was explained that the marble steps of the building will be removed, and the doorway will be dropped down to street level. Once inside the door, visitors can either climb of set of stairs to the lobby of the building or use a lift, which will be located just to the right of the door. It's debatable if altering the facade of the building in this manner will enhance its value or not.
The vote on accepting the $100,000 from the Galvan Foundation for a feasibility study on relocating City Hall to 400 State Street was not unanimous, but the resolution was passed. Six Council members voted in favor (Tiffany Garriga, Eileen Halloran, Jane Trombley, Malachi Walker, Rebecca Wolff, and DePietro), and four voted against (Dominic Merante, Shershah Mizan, John Rosenthal, and Dewan Sarowar). In casting his vote, Rosenthal said, "No, no, and no!" Calvin Lewis, who is employed by the Galvan Foundation, recused himself from the vote.
Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) groused, "People complain about gravel trucks, but we take a donation from Colarusso. I want to know why it's a problem to accept money from Galvan." She alleged that John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward) "is against everything Galvan."
DePietro expressed frustration, saying, "This is another vote that we're trying to turn back," and Rosenthal responded, "I think there's a lack of leadership here." Before Trombley's issue was resolved, Garriga made a motion to adjourn the meeting, and DePietro called for a roll call vote on adjournment. Eight members voted in favor of adjournment (Garriga, Halloran, Lewis, Sarowar, Walker, Wolff, and DePietro), and three voted against (Merante, Rosenthal, and Trombley). The meeting, which started at 7:00 p.m., was adjourned at 9:34 p.m.
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