Tuesday, June 18, 2024

An Interesting Revelation

On June 6, Gossips reported in an "Ear to the Ground" that the Hudson Housing Authority's application for a Restore New York grant had been rejected because it had been submitted too late. It seems that may not have been entirely true.

Last night, at the HHA Board of Commissioners meeting, Councilmember Margaret Morris (First Ward) asked about the status of the Restore NY grant application. Jeffrey Dodson, HHA executive director, told her the application had not been submitted, adding, "It probably would not have been approved." 

When Morris asked him to explain why the application had not been submitted, Dodson cited "specifications regarding vacancies" and acknowledged they "realized they would not qualify." Say what?

The summary statement of eligibility for Restore NY, found on the grant program's website, is this: "Restore New York funding is available for projects involving the demolition, deconstruction, rehabilitation, and/or reconstruction of vacant, abandoned, condemned, and surplus properties [underscore added]." Surely that statement alone should have been enough to tip off HHA and the developers to an eligibility problem at an earlier stage in the process. 

At the two special meetings of the Common Council, convened to pass a resolution in support of HHA's application, Morris delineated the ways the HHA project did not meet the criteria established for the Restore NY grant program. (Her arguments presented at those meetings can also be found on her blog, firstwardhudson.com.) Still HHA and the folks from Mountco remained steadfast in their resolve to apply for Restore NY funding. 

So what happened between May 16, when the Common Council held a public hearing on the grant application, and May 22, when the application was due, to make HHA and Mountco change their minds and decide not to submit the application? 

Could it be they never intended to submit the application? Could it be the whole Restore New York fiasco was orchestrated to get the Common Council to approve the resolution of support so that Dodson could claim, as he did in the Register-Star on May 1, that the Council had made a "strong and clear decision to support us"? We will probably never know. 

The real loser in all this may be Lil' Deb's Oasis, which was also seeking Restore NY funding for the restoration of 735-737 Columbia Street as its new location. A municipality can only sponsor one Restore NY grant application, and when Lil' Deb's realized they were competing with the housing authority, they graciously bowed out. That's too bad. They met the criteria and stood a very good chance of getting a Restore NY grant.



  1. It’s not about housing. It’s not about affordable housing. It’s not about Hudson. It’s more like “hey kids, let’s put on a show! And use other people’s money! It will be huge!” Dodson is a full of shit as a Christmas turkey. But he shouldn’t feel bad — his board is comprised of like-minded individuals who vote to screw their neighbors and community so they can practice urban renewal ala 1971. What fun!!

  2. This really goes way beyond and out does the screwed up planning of 1971 urban renewal. At that time the city was economically depressed and falling to pieces. Likewise, we have a totally deranged plan to convert designated park land and greenspace on Mill Street into a paved blacktop parking lot and site for three apartment buildings.

    The idea of urban renewal in the 70s was to improve economically depressed areas and remove urban blight, not insert it into areas where there isn't any. This is urban renewal in reverse, real backwards thinking.

  3. Bear in mind that Mr. Dodson was previously employed at the Newark Housing Authority for nineteen years. Newark is the most populous city in the state of New Jersey with a population of 311,549, so it is incongruous that he was hired to manage the Hudson Housing Authority.
    Dodson and HHA are essentially treating our small city like a big city with tall buildings and lots and lots of pavement and parking lots. In short, maybe Dodson is not the right man to manage public housing in Hudson. His lack of experience in a small community like ours is a huge liability.

  4. It would be helpful to know, too, if Mr. Dodson is a resident of Hudson. I wonder whether he still maintains a residence in New Jersey, or whether he has relocated to the Hudson Valley.

    1. I don't know if he still maintains a residence in New Jersey or not, but I have heard he is renting an apartment in Hudson from the Galvan Foundation.

  5. It's discouraging to learn that he rents an apartment in Hudson. A short-term renter has no stake or interest whatsoever in the the well-being of Hudson as a community in the long run. Why should he care about the impact of a misguided, ill-conceived housing project on the homeowners of Hudson if he doesn't have to live with the consequences of the agency he manages? After the damage is done, he will simply pack up and move on.

  6. The Hudson Housiing Authority is bad news for Hudson and so is Mr. Dodson. I can't believe we are seeing this after all the corrections we tried to make after the mistakes of Urban Renewal. It was going well for a while but now is going (and has been for a few years) totally backwards to when I first arrived in Hudson in 1985. Very discouraging.