Tuesday, June 15, 2021


Today at noon, Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA) held a special meeting to discuss the disposition of the properties it owns. Branda Maholtz, who functions as coordinator for the agency, had prepared this list of parcels owned by HCDPA, with appraisals that been done at some previous time. 

Revonda Smith, who chairs the Hudson Housing Authority (HHA) Board of Commissioners and hence is a member of the HCDPA Board, said she wanted to "put all the HCDPA properties in the HHA RFQ (request for qualifications), and let the developer decide which ones are developable." When cautioned that they needed a legal opinion regarding such action, Tiffany Garriga said they should make the motion contingent on approval from legal counsel. Smith made the motion, Rebecca Wolff seconded it, and the motion passed with all five members of the board--Smith, Garriga, Wolff, Planning Board chair Stephen Steim, and Mayor Kamal Johnson voting in support.

Among the parcels HCDPA is considering turning over to HHA is the property at the end of Warren Street, now a sad little, mostly paved park developed in the 1970s, during Urban Renewal.

This area is actually made up of four different parcels. Up until a few years ago, the City of Hudson owned two of the parcels, and HCDPA owned the other two. In 2018, the City swapped its two parcels for the lot in the 200 block of Warren Street, where Thurston Park is located, which was then owned by HCDPA. The idea at the time seemed to be to sell the property to someone who would construct buildings on it, to complete the street wall as it was intended to be. The image below shows what that end of Warren Street looked like in 1970, before Urban Renewal.

Last year, when Arterial presented its preliminary designs for the DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) funded Hudson Connects project, the plans included redoing the little park, with a different but equally unwelcoming hard surface. 

When reminded that this parcel was owned by HCDPA and that the plan when HCDPA did the land swap with the City was to construct buildings there to complete the street wall, Betsy Gramkow, then chair of the Planning Board and hence a member of the HCDPA Board, suggested that low-income housing on this parcel might not be "the highest and best use"--the idea being that the development of market rate housing on this parcel across from the entrance to Promenade Hill could increase the city's tax base. Today, no one on the HCDPA Board expressed any qualms about turning the parcel over to a developer for subsidized and tax exempt housing.


  1. What a sad commentary on the utter lack of common sense collectively employed by the HCDPA board. Surely a cautionary tale on the inadvisability of a board constituted solely of ex officio members, particularly when it seems clear none of them have a clear and independent thought and most if not all are patently out of their depth.

  2. So we're going to partner with HHA? Because they've demonstrated such good management of their units? I find it amazing that the City is looking to the very entities that have created a "housing crisis" to solve the "housing crisis" in this City. Is anyone frustrated enough to throw in their hat as a write-in candidate for mayor or common council president? I think there's growing support for such a candidate. I feel like Princess Lea, looking for Obi Wan Kanobi, our last hope.
    Kristal Heinz

    1. Why would any sane and reasonable person subject themselves to such torture by being the mayor or cc prez, surrounding themselves and trying to work with such dysfunction all around? I tuned into the ad hoc sidewalk meeting last night. What a waste of a half hour - they appear to be nowhere closer to creating even one block of safe and respectable sidewalk since a year or more ago. But there was an impressive presentation on the types of flowers that should go with the new sidewalks!!! Then there was barely 15 minutes of discussion about sidewalks, mostly issues from the lawyer because no one knows what to do. An alderman, obviously clueless, asked "how much is this all going to cost us?" Tom Dipetro had to reiterate the most basic premise of this project: funds will be raised through bonds. He still needs to explain this to an alderman so late in the game? Tom ended the HALF HOUR waste of time, money and effort of a meeting with this: "Let's hope we can get this project started before there is a change in the common council this fall." This fall? More like the fall of 2023 or 2025!
      B Huston

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