Creating a Parks Department in Hudson was a topic of discussion at the Conservation Advisory Council meeting on Tuesday evening--both how to fund it and how to form it. CAC member Britt Zuckerman reported that both Kingston and Troy have budgets of $1.1 million for their parks departments. Beacon budgets $215,960 for parks, which does not include the salary for a department superintendent. (Beacon has a population of 13,634, more than twice that of Hudson.) At the January informal meeting of the Common Council, Superintendent of Public Works Rob Perry reported that about $145,000 in the city budget is currently allocated for the care and keeping of city parks.
Zuckerman outlined a possible scope of work for the Parks Department:
- Maintain all grounds/mowing/leaf litter
- Arborist/tree maintenance
- New tree plantings
- New shrub and perennial plantings
- Maintenance of site furnishings/replacement and repairs
- Maintenance of hardscape within parks (pavement)
- Street trees/planting and pruning
- Playgrounds and play fields/sport courts--equipment replacement, safety surfacing and repairs
- Oakdale Lake/Cemetery/7th Street Park, Henry Hudson Park, Promenade Hill/various pocket parks/ Dog Park ?
- Water features/splash pads
- Long term visioning for sustainability within Hudson and open space
Zuckerman's outline also included a list of the crew a Parks Department would ideally have:
- Horticulture or arborist trained staff
- 1 to 2 full-time staff year round
- Parks Department Commissioner
- Seasonal part-time hourly workers (3 to 4, May to Sept)
CAC chair Hilary Hillman asked if there might be a way to grow the Parks Department gradually. Zuckerman acknowledged that such a department could be phased in, but funding and trained and skilled staff would be essential to its success. "We need support from the Common Council and the mayor," she said, adding that Perry seemed willing to have someone take things off his plate. Zuckerman spoke of the need to have someone who can "vision the future of the Parks Department." CAC member Marie Balle suggested there could be a Commissioner of Parks, "who can work alongside Rob Perry." DePietro concluded, "You have to have Rob Perry explain what could be carved out and how it could be carved out. You need to start the conversation with Rob."
A Parks Department for Hudson may well be an idea whose time has finally come.
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