Fantasies of a pristinely restored Public Square are marred for many by the reality of the folks who hang out in the park, smoking, drinking, sleeping, accosting others, and doing various things deemed unacceptable in civilized society.
Friends of the Public Square (FOPS) has decided to address the situation at an event entitled "Sharing Public Spaces: A Community Conversation." The announcement of the event provides this information:
For a public space that is welcoming for all, it requires respect for others and compliance with local laws. Join the Friends of the Public Square for a panel discussion and conversation on the role of policing, social services, and mental health providers in addressing issues of law and civility in our public spaces, and what can we do to help.
The panel for the discussion is made up of the following people:
- Dan Almasi, Director of Community Services, Columbia County Mental Health Center
- Claire Cousin, First Ward Supervisor, Columbia County Board of Supervisors
- Robert Gibson, Commissioner, Columbia County Department of Social Services
- Kamal Johnson, Mayor of Hudson
- Ed Moore, Chief, Hudson Police Department
- Cheryl Roberts, City Court Judge and Executive Director for the Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice
Discussions of the Public Square and its denizens always call to mind this video, created in 1993 and discovered on YouTube by Sam Pratt ten or so years ago: "A Day in the Life in Hudson New York." The part of the video filmed in the park is from 2:44 to 6:18 and provides evidence that the Olympic torch, now situated in the little traffic island known as Rogers Park, was originally installed at the northeast corner of the Public Square, the location of the recently removed tourist kiosk.