HCDPA (Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency) is a relic of urban renewal. Its page on the City of Hudson website explains:
HCDPA was established as the City's Urban Renewal Agency. HCDPA is a corporate governmental agency, constituting a public benefit corporation. Although urban renewal agencies were initially created for the purposes of implementing the Federal Urban Renewal Program, many, such as HCDPA, have remained active and vital by aggressively initiating and managing a broad range of community development activities.
The HCDPA Board is made up entirely of people who serve ex officio--the mayor, the majority and minority leaders of the Common Council, the chair of the Planning Board, and the chair of the Hudson Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. In past decades, its mission has not always been clear, but HCDPA now sees itself as a key player in combatting Hudson's housing crisis. It is administering Hudson's ADLN (Anti-Displacement Learning Network) grant. Indeed, the ADLN grant was characterized at the HCDPA meeting on Tuesday as the agency's "main focus."
HCDPA owns property. Some parcels attributed to HCDPA in the tax rolls cannot be located, but there are four that can be: 202, 204, 206 Columbia Street (what remains of the community garden); 238 Columbia Street (a vacant lot that HCDPA has tried to sell twice in recent years); 6 to 14 State Street (a series of lots along the north side of the street); and 2 and 4 Warren Street (what is now a park on the northeast corner of Warren and Front streets). Two of those parcels were topics of discussion at Tuesday's meeting of the HCDPA Board--the first being the former community garden at Columbia and Second streets.
Tiffany Garriga (Council majority leader) said she wanted to go into executive session to discuss the details, complaining, "All of this interest all of a sudden from people we've never heard of." When it was decided that there was no need for an executive session, Garriga questioned the choice of Polidoro as legal counsel, wanting to know if she had been recommended by anyone on the board or only by Maholtz. Maholtz explained that Polidoro was the only one of the city's attorneys willing to take on the task and reminded the board that Polidoro had worked on the ADLN grant. Rebecca Wolff (Council minority leader) and Mayor Kamal Johnson both said they were comfortable with Polidoro as legal counsel, and Steve Steim, newly appointed chair of the Planning Board, also expressed support for Polidoro. When a motion was made to have Polidoro represent HCDPA for the management of the community garden, Wolff and Johnson voted in favor, Garriga and Revonda Smith (chair of the HHA Board of Commissioners) voted against, and Steim abstained. Wolff observed, "We are not going to have action without an attorney," but Smith said she was not comfortable with the choice but would be elaborate about why.
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