Thursday, July 18, 2024

The Work Has Begun

Last week, Gossips reported that work on the DRI project known as Hudson Connects would begin this week, with the Second Street stairs, which descend from Allen Street to Cross Street. 

This week, as announced, the work indeed has begun, and the stairs are currently closed.


Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Happening This Saturday

On Saturday, July 20, there is to be a "Community Joy Day," from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m., at the Hudson waterfront. 

The event will feature free food, healing, herbal medicine, acupuncture, live music, capoeira, sound bath, kid's zone, tarot, performance, and arts & crafts. There will also be an Engagement Station, hosted by the Dunn Team, a.k.a. CGS Group, which will be workshopping outdoor uses for the historic Dunn Warehouse. 

There is a survey that seeks community input about the potential uses of the Dunn warehouse. It seems the existence of the survey was made known primarily on Instagram. For those who missed it on Instagram, the survey can be found here. The deadline for completing the survey is Saturday, July 20.

Gossips urges readers to complete the survey before Saturday. It is expected that the survey results will be shared on Saturday at the Engagement Station.

Again, the survey can be found here.

Back to Colarusso

The Register-Star reports this morning that Acting Supreme Court Justice Richard Rivera has annulled the Planning Board's positive declaration in its environmental impact review of Colarusso's dock operations on the Hudson River: "Judge rules in favor of A. Colarusso and Sons in dock replacement lawsuit."

The Planning Board made the positive declaration on November 18, 2021. Colarusso filed its lawsuit against the Planning Board on December 17, 2021. The judge's decision has handed down on Friday, July 12, 2024.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024


In March, the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education passed a resolution accepting an offer from the Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) to purchase John L. Edwards (JLE), the elementary school building constructed in 1964 which has been vacant and for sale since 2018. 

Photo: Jonathan Simons
Yesterday, HCSD signed a contract for HDC to purchase the building. Under the terms of the contract, there is a six-month due diligence period before the sale actually happens, during which time HDC can exit with a total refund if circumstances, for any reason, make it impossible for HDC to purchase the property. The sale requires the approval of the voters in the Hudson City School District.

At the Common Council meeting tonight, the Council will be asked to vote on two resolutions approving and endorsing grant applications being submitted by HDC. The first resolution is in support of an application for a $675,000 matching grant from the Environmental Protection Fund: Parks, Preservation and Heritage Grants, which would be used for playground improvement, site work, renovation of the gym, and renovation of the kitchen as a culinary training facility. The second resolution supports an application to Homes and Community Renewal in the Downtown Anchor Project category for $300,000 for streetscape improvement and building renovation.

HDC is also applying for a third grant, this one from Empire State Development: Strategic Planning and Feasibility Studies, for $100,000 for professional fees, including architectural, structural, civil, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing.

The presentation of HDC's vision for the building, which was made to the HCSD Board of Education in March, can be viewed here, beginning at 45:41.


Update: Both resolutions of support for HDC's grant applications were passed unanimously by the members of the Common Council present at tonight's meeting. Three members were absent from the meeting: Gary Purnhagen (First Ward), Dewan Sarowar (Second Ward), and Lola Roberts (Third Ward). Rich Volo (Fourth Ward) attended the meeting virtually.

Monday, July 15, 2024

A Modest Proposal

At the June meeting of the Planning Board, Lou Pierro, the principal of the group proposing to construct an apartment building on Fairview Avenue between Parkwood and Oakwood boulevards, noted that the project had been before the Planning Board for a year, and there was still no decision. Walter Chatham, the architect for the project, reviewed the changes that had been made to the project based on requests from the Planning Board. The project, as currently proposed, has 30 one- and two-bedroom apartments; one commercial space, which Pierro intends to use as his law office; and 26 offstreet parking spaces intended for tenants.

At the most recent meeting of the Planning Board, which took place on July 9, the Planning Board had more recommendations for change to the project, suggested by a subcommittee made up of Planning Board members Gini Casasco, Susan Foster, and Ben Forman. Their report can be found here. Their recommendations, which were presented at the meeting by Foster, are as follows:
  • Reduce the number of apartments from 30 to 15 and make 5 of them three-bedroom units
  • Make the 26 offstreet parking spaces assigned spaces--15 for tenants, 6 for workers in the commercial space, and 5 for visitors
  • Add sidewalks and crosswalks to Oakwood, Parkwood, Paddock Place, and Glenwood and add a sidewalk on Fairview Avenue from the proposed building to Aldi's at Fairview and Healy Boulevard in Greenport.
  • Five more apartments, bringing the total to 20, would be acceptable if the last five were designated "affordable," which was defined as affordable to households with incomes of 80 percent of the area median income (AMI).
It is highly unusual for a Planning Board to make suggestions for such dramatic and extensive changes and to do it so late in the review process. It seems the recommendations would make the project financially unviable and would change the demographic for which the proposed building is intended: young professionals, specifically, according to comments made by Michele Pierro, Lou Pierro's sister, at the April meeting of the Planning Board, new teachers in the Hudson City School District. Since Pierro was not present at the meeting on July 9, it is not known how he will respond to these suggestions.

A Reason to Cross the River

On Friday, July 19, a group show called "Capturing Furgary: Artists views of the vanishing fishing shacks" opens at CREATE Council on the Arts, 398 Main Street in Catskill. The exhibition, curated by Chris DeMarco, is made up of photographs and paintings made beginning in 2012, when the shack owners were evicted, to more recent work created in 2024.

Included in the exhibition are works by Robert Coppola, Joan Damiani, Chris DeMarco, Laura Garramone, Gerald Cooley, Karen Anne Hummel, Peter Keitel, David Lesako, Cynthia Mulvaney, Robert Near, Cecelia Sinclair, Tim Slowinski, and John Whipple. 

There will be an opening reception on Friday, July 19, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. A special artist talk, which is free and open to the public, will be held during Catskill's First Fridays event on August 2. The exhibition continues through September 1, 2024. Gallery hours are Fridays from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information, click here.

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Meetings and Events in the Week Ahead

As the heat wave continues, here's what is happening in Hudson this week.
  • On Monday, July 15, the Hudson Housing Authority Board of Commissioners holds its monthly meeting at 6:00 p.m. As always, the meeting may provide more information about HHA's redevelopment plans. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person in the Community Room at Bliss Towers, 41 North Second Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Tuesday, July 16, the Common Council Finance Committee meets at 5:15 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Microsoft Teams. Click here for the link to join the meeting remotely.
Update: Gossips has received word that the Finance Committee meeting for July has been canceled.
  • At 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16, the Common Council holds its regular monthly meeting. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Microsoft Teams. Click here for the link to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Wednesday, July 17, the Zoning Board of Appeals meets at 6:00 p.m. The agenda for the meeting includes applications for area variances needed for Mill Street Lofts and State Street Lofts, projects being proposed by Kearney Realty and Development Group. The meeting takes place in person only at City Hall.
  • On Thursday, July 18, the Housing Trust Fund Board meets at 5:30 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Microsoft Teams. Click here for the link to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Saturday, July 20, and Sunday, July 21, Basilica Hudson presents Summer Farm & Flea 2024 from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Click here for more information.

Celebrating the Lighthouse

A segment of last night's Hudson Festival Orchestra Hudson in Concert: A Community Celebration was dedicated to the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse. A performance of "The Lighthouse," a composition by Miroslav MarÅ¡ik, arranged and conducted by Meghan Mercier, was accompanied by a video produced and edited by Glenn Wheeler and David Oliver, showcasing the lighthouse's architectural beauty, its vital role in navigation of the river, and the peril it faces every day with each passing ship that creates massive turbulence underwater. If you missed it last night or would just like to see it again, the video can be viewed here.  

Happening Today

Today, July 14, is Bastille Day. In Hudson, Bastille Day has a special significance. It is the anniversary of the opening, in 1999, of the Red Dot. 

Tonight, at 8:00 p.m., the Red Dot will be celebrating its 25th anniversary. There's no telling what frivolity is in store, but for a sampling of what happened in 2009, when the Red Dot celebrated its 10th anniversary, click here.

Saturday, July 13, 2024

How Many Hotels Do We Need?

The Planning Board meeting on Tuesday went on for 4 hours and 20 minutes. Considering that the meeting started at 6:30, it was 10 minutes shy of 11:00 p.m. when the meeting ended. One of the most interesting and possibly alarming segments of the meeting took place more than three hours in, when the plans for 10-12 Warren Street were presented to the Planning Board.

It will be remembered that this was the building that the City of Hudson sold at auction last August. As Gossips reported at the time, there were two bidders for the building: Alex Freedman, who with his partner, Alex Hammerschlag, restored and renovated 223 and 225 Allen Street and 205-207 Warren Street for market-rate apartments (and two commercial spaces in the Warren Street building); and someone who was bidding on behalf of Benjamin Rinzler, the owner of the Hudson Whaler, at 542 Warren Street, and the Hudson Mariner, at 26 Warren Street. Had Freedman been the winning bidder, the plan for the building would probably have been market-rate apartments, but the winning bidder was the person representing Rinzler, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that the building is to be converted into a hotel. Nevertheless, the first question asked of Walter Chatham, who was making the presentation to the Planning Board, by Theresa Joyner, who chairs the Planning Board, was: "Why a hotel?" Joyner went on to say, "Hudson is in dire need of housing" (a curious statement given that earlier in the meeting a subcommittee of the Planning Board recommended that the number of apartments in the building proposed for 117-121 Fairview Avenue should be reduced by half). 

The plan for converting the building into a 27-room hotel, with no restaurant, involves demolishing two wings at the back of the building and constructing a new three-story addition at the rear.

There would be a landscaped courtyard between the original building and the new addition.

Planning Board member Gini Casasco expressed concern about "overbuilding" (the zoning in this part of the city allows 100 percent lot coverage) and about "multiple hotels in the area." Wm. Farmer and Sons, a little more than a block away on Front Street, has 15 guest rooms, and Hudson Mariner, just up the street at 26 Warren Street, has 5 guest suites. Later Casasco asked, "How many hotels do we need?"

In answer to that question, Gossips looks back at history. In 1905, according to the New York Census for that year, the population of Hudson was 10,290. The Hudson city directory for 1905 lists 25 hotels in the city. Here are their names and locations:
  • Adirondack Hotel, Diamond (now Columbia) and Third Streets 
  • Albany Hotel, 28 South Front Street
  • Barry David, Fountain Head
  • City Hall Place, 330 Warren Street
  • City Hotel, southeast corner of Allen and Front Streets
  • Commercial House, Ferry Street
  • Curtiss House, northeast corner of Allen and Front Streets
  • Everett House, 705 Warren Street
  • Farmers' Hotel, Park Place
  • Fifth Ward Hotel, 624 Warren Street
  • Franklin Square Hotel, 42 South Front Street
  • Germania Hotel, 33-35 South Front Street
  • Hotel Central, Warren and South Fifth Streets
  • Hotel Lincoln, 309-311 Warren Street
  • Hotel Portland, 31 Warren Street
  • Hudson House, Ferry Street opposite Franklin Square
  • McGraw, Timothy, Jr., 22-24 North Second Street
  • Mansion House, 332-334 Diamond (now Columbia) Street
  • New York Hotel, 260 Warren Street
  • Russian Hotel, 39 South Front Street
  • St. Charles Hotel, 737 Columbia Street
  • Stevens House, 420 Diamond (now Columbia) Street
  • The Worth, 213-219 Warren Street
  • The Troy, 11 North Fourth Street
  • Winslow Horace, 453 State Street
Today, with a population of 5,894, according to the 2020 census, Hudson has seven hotels:
  • The Wick, 41 Cross Street
  • Wm. Farmer and Sons, 20 South Front Street
  • Hudson Mariner, 26 Warren Street
  • The Maker, 302 Warren Street
  • Hudson Whaler, 542 Warren Street
  • Rivertown Lodge, 731 Warren Street
  • St. Charles Hotel, 16 Park Place
Four more have been proposed and gotten site plan approval from the Planning Board:
  • Hudson House, 620 Union Street
  • Hudson Hotel, 601 Union Street
  • Pocketbook Hudson, 549 Washington Street
  • Hudson Public, Warren and North Fourth streets
The hotel proposed for 10-12 Warren Street would be Hudson's twelfth hotel.

At one point in the discussion, Chatham defended the location of the proposed hotel by saying, "If you want to organize your city, put your hotels where the train station is." Interestingly, in 1905, eight of the 25 hotels in Hudson--Albany Hotel, City Hotel, Commercial House, Curtiss House, Germania Hotel, Hudson House, Russian Hotel, and Franklin Square--were located within a block and a half of the train station.

Several times during the discussion on Tuesday night, Victoria Polidoro, legal counsel to the Planning Board, reminded the members that if the zoning law allows the use, they cannot question it. She responded to Casasco's question "How many hotels do we need?" by saying, "That's not something the Planning Board has control over." Casasco, however, was not to be deterred, suggesting that there should be a moratorium on development until a new comprehensive plan was completed and new zoning was in place. Joyner called for a committee to look into the zoning and decide on the one thing they wanted to "go after." Apparently a committee was formed, but it is not clear who will serve on this committee.

Seeming somewhat dumbfounded, Chatham told the board, "This is a modest little project. This is not the place to draw the line." Joyner, however, assured him, "This discussion is not going to stop us from going ahead on this project."  

The video of the meeting can be found here. The discussion of this project begins at 3:15:02 and ends at 3:55:15.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

More Restrictions Than Necessary?

It should come as no surprise to regular readers that Gossips is a great fan of The Dogist. In 2021, Elias Weiss Friedman, the street photographer known as "The Dogist," made a visit to Hudson and photographed some dogs at the Hudson Dog Park.

Since then, I have fantasized that The Dogist would return to Hudson to photograph more dogs, not just at the Hudson Dog Park but on Warren Street, where lots of dogs get walked every day.

Sadly, a provision in a new law relating to film shoots in the City of Hudson, which the Legal Committee tonight agreed to forward to the full Council for consideration next Tuesday, might discourage The Dogist from returning to Hudson. 

The modus operandi of The Dogist is this: He spots a dog of interest on the street; he asks permission from the person accompanying the dog to photograph the dog; he asks why the human enjoys the company of dogs; he asks about dog's notable behaviors and/or quirks. All the while, someone not visible is recording the interactions with the dog and its human. An example of these encounters can be found here.

So tonight, the Common Council Legal Committee decided to forward to the full Council an amendment to the code which would regulate the use of our city by "the motion picture and television industries, and those engaged in advertising and editorial in print, broadcast, and digital services." The proposed new law contains this provision:   
Still Photography permit require. No person shall, for commercial purposes, use any kind of public property, facility or residence herein or portion thereof owned and/or controlled by the City of Hudson to cause, direct or conduct still photography activities where a crew of two or more is engaged as defined without first applying for and obtaining a film permit from the City of Hudson.
As I read it, this provision in the proposed new law would require The Dogist, whose income is derived from photographing dogs, to get a permit from the City before conducting his standard "dog on the street" encounters on the streets of Hudson. That seems a bridge too far . . . especially to my dog, Freddy, whose dream it is to be photographed on one of his jaunts around town by The Dogist.

Update: At the Common Council meeting on July 15, the proposed film law was tabled and sent back to the Legal Committee for more tweaking.

Seven Years Later

It was August 1, 2017, when Governor Andrew Cuomo came to town to announce that Hudson was the Capital Region winner in Round Two of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). Seven years later, at the informal Common Council meeting on Monday, Rob Perry, superintendent of public works, reported that implementation of the project called Hudson Connects, the largest of the City's four DRI projects, was set to begin next week, July 15. 

Work will commence at Second and Allen streets, with the Second Street stairs that descend from Allen Street to Cross Street. Below is the last rendering of what is planned for the stairs. This was created three years ago by Arterial, the group that did the planning and design for the complete streets connectivity program. Exactly what the current plan for the stairs involves is not known.

The schedule for work on the entire project, which apparently is now being called "Hudson Streetscapes," can be found here. The final plans for the project, which require a fair amount of interpretation and do not include renderings, can be found here

A press release issued by the mayor's office this morning contains this information about the project that is about to commence:
Work under the Hudson Connects portion of the overall DRI, the Hudson Streetscapes project, is beginning on July 15, 2024, and will be ongoing throughout October. This work will remedy many of the problem areas from Front Street to Second Street, including, but not limited to, making our streets ADA compliant by creating new curb ramps at corners, fixing existing non-compliant curb ramps, creating new crosswalks, and addressing the Cross Street staircase. Additionally, and simultaneously, the Public Works Board will be commencing work as part of their Sidewalk Improvement District, which will entail fixing many of our city’s sidewalks and tackling curb ramps and crosswalks not covered under the scope of the DRI. The City of Hudson’s Department of Public Works (DPW) will also be working diligently in assisting both projects. 

Only time will reveal exactly what has survived from Arterial's original proposals for enhancing our streets. We can only hope that the proposed street furniture didn't make the cut.


News from HCSD

Yesterday, the Hudson City School District issued a press release announcing that Willette Jones and Mark DePace had been reelected as president and vice president respectively of the Board of Education. The press release included an account of discussion that preceded the vote to reelect Jones. 

Matthew Mackerer, newly elected to the board, called on Jones to refuse her nomination, which had been made by BOE member Kjirsten Gustavson and seconded by Calvin Lewis, "to demonstrate to the community that the board has a sense of accountability." Mackerer alleged that under Jones's leadership, the board had become distracted. As an example of the distraction, Mackerer cited the June board meeting, when the board spend 40 minutes--more than half of the hour and 16 minutes the board spent meeting in public--grilling the organizers of the Hudson Children's Book Festival. The situation, Mackerer maintained, should have been handled differently and the time could have been much better spent dealing with issues related to the board's core purpose. 

The press release recounts what happened in this way:
When the Board considered nominations for leadership, Mackerer suggested that DePace and Board member Lakia Walker be nominated as Board President and Vice President. He cited their leadership experience and said that the Board, under Jones' leadership, entertained too many distractions and needed a stronger sense of accountability. DePace thanked Mackerer for his perspective, said all Board members bring different skills to the Board, and expressed faith that the Board could work together for the betterment of the District and community. The vote to confirm Jones' re-election as Board President was 5-1, with Mackerer voting no. DePace was unanimously re-elected Vice President. 
The video of the Board of Education meeting, which took place on Tuesday, July 9, can be found here. Mackerer's statement begins at about 10:31.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Observing a Sequicentennial

As Gossips readers already know, the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Tomorrow, Thursday, July 11, one HAL (Hudson Area Library) is helping to celebrate the milestone of another HAL (Hudson-Athens Lighthouse) with an in-person talk and exhibition focusing on the preservation of this important local landmark.

Photo: Jonathan Simons
The talk, which takes place at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday in the Community Room of the Hudson Area Library, 51 North Fifth Street, will be presented by Van Calhoun, a volunteer, board member, and chair of the HALPS (Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservati0n Society) Restoration Committee.

The following is quoted from a press release for the event:
The lighthouse stands as a testament to the rich maritime history of the region and its pivotal role in guiding vessels during the westward expansion era through the Erie Canal. Despite its historical importance, the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse faces imminent threats mostly due to unintended damage caused by enormous commercial vessels using the close-by navigation channel maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In a captivating celebration of history and heritage, the library will also host a special photo exhibit serving as a visual inspiration for the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society's (HALPS) vision for the lighthouse's future. Curated by the talented Jane Sinclair, a resident of Hudson, the exhibit promises a unique perspective through selected photographs by local professional and amateur photographers. The exhibition will be on view through the month of July in the library's hallway during library hours.
The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society invites the public to join the preservation efforts--volunteer, fundraise, and participate in celebratory events such as this one. By working collaboratively, we can ensure that the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse remains a beacon of history, education, and community for generations to come.

Prepare to Slow Down

Last week, the Times Union reported that the Albany Common Council had unanimously approved legislation to reduce the speed limit on most city streets in Albany from 30 mph to 25 mph: "Albany drops speed limit to 25 mph." According to the article, the legislation has been in the works since 2022.

The Hudson Common Council has been talking about reducing the speed limit in our city since 2020, even before the State of New York adopted legislation allowing cities to lower their speed limits. It appears we are getting closer in making that happen. Part of the process of lowering the speed limit is doing a speed limit evaluation. At the beginning of the year, Creighton Manning was hired to do that evaluation. Their draft report was submitted at the beginning of the month and can be viewed here

Based on the findings of the evaluation, the recommendation is to reduce the speed limit to 25 mph throughout the city except in one spot: on Route 9G when it enters the city from the south.

On Route 9G, which becomes South Third Street after entering the city, the recommendation is to reduce the speed limit from 55 mph to 35 mph at the city boundary and then reduce it from 35 mph to 25 mph at Power Avenue.

Reducing the speed limit is one of the agenda items for Thursday's Common Council Legal Committee meeting, which begins at 6:00 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Microsoft Teams. Click here for the link to join the meeting remotely.

Happening Tonight

This coming Saturday, the Hudson Festival Orchestra presents its annual Hudson in Concert: A Community Celebration at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park. Tonight, you can attend a fundraising concert to benefit the Hudson Festival Orchestra. The concert, featuring three extraordinary musicians, Dinuk Wijeratne, Layale Chaker, and Kinan Azmeh, promises to be spectacular.

These three musicians have known each other for several years, but their musical paths diverge. Kinan Azmeh might have several gigs with his Arab-Jazz Quartet City Band, while Layale Chaker is putting finishing touches on her new opera, Ruinous Gods, commissioned by the Spoleto Festival. Meanwhile, pianist Dinuk Wijeratne could be playing a Mozart concerto with Symphony Nova Scotia, or pursuing interests in Indian tabla (drum) music. Yet, as diverse as their interests, they are just as likely to come together--each with original compositions--and create exciting, vibrant pieces that should probably be classified as "world music." All those influences overlap.

Tonight's concert will be an opportunity to hear this group as they share their talents in a benefit concert for the Hudson Festival Orchestra. The event takes place at the historic First Presbyterian Church at Warren and Fourth streets, a sanctuary known for its splendid acoustics. The concert begins at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are required and may be purchased here.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Progress Continues

On June 22, Gossips shared this picture of the progress being made on Hudson Depot Lofts, 76 North Seventh Street. 

Photo: Win Jackson

Today, a little more than two weeks later, errands took me to that part of the city, and I took this picture.

Two more floors to go.

One good thing about this building: it's going to be dog friendly.

A Meeting That Missed the List

Tonight, the Planning Board meets at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Zoom.

Also tonight, at 6:00 p.m., the Hudson City School District Board of Education meets in the library of Hudson Senior High School, 215 Harry Howard Avenue. The meeting can be viewed online at the district's YouTube pageTonight's meeting is an organizational meeting. There are two new members of the board--Amanda Grubler and Matthew Mackerer--who replace Selha Graham and Lauren Jones.

Sidewalk Update

This morning, Gary Purnhagen, councilmember for the First Ward who chairs the Public Works Board, posted this message about sidewalks and the Sidewalk Improvement District on Facebook.
Last night, the Common Council voted to approve the Public Works Board's recommendation to hire Crawford & Associates, a highly experienced and reputable project manager, to oversee the construction and repair of sidewalks under the Sidewalk Improvement Initiative law passed last year.
I am the Chair for the Public Works Board and want to provide the following summary.
The law (amending Article XXII of the Charter for the City of Hudson) essentially transfers the responsibility for American Disabilities Act (ADA) sidewalk standards from a building owner to the City. Taking on this responsibility will allow the City to begin ensuring the sidewalks are ADA compliant as required by law as quickly and efficiently as possible. Building owners will be assessed a maintenance fee to offset this additional cost for the City.
A Public Works Board (PWB) was formed earlier this year to make recommendations to the Common Council as specified by the law. The first issue was to identify a Project Manager. The PWB recommended Crawford & Associates, a Hudson City Engineering firm.
Immediate action is required to address non-ADA compliance issues with sidewalks, street ramps, and identified street crossings. These projects, which will begin without delay, are crucial to show progress. We understand the challenges the City has faced with recent street construction, but we cannot afford to postpone this work any longer.
We will though try to publicize any work as far in advance as possible.
Most homeowners and commercial buildings will be assessed an annual maintenance fee based on a formula determined by the length of the building's length abutting the sidewalk and its square footage. This is a simplification of the law, and there are lots of exemptions and deductions based on recent work, etc.
For most homeowners, the maintenance fee will be $200.00 PLUS Frontage fee ($30.00 for each 55 ft. of footage) PLUS Square Footage Fee ($0.015 of the lot's building square footage) Minus past work deduction. The City will then be responsible for maintaining the sidewalks for ADA compliance, relieving the building owner of this burden. The building owner will still be responsible for snow and ice removal.
The positive outcome of this project is a more accessible and user-friendly City for everyone. We look forward to the improvements this initiative will bring to our community.
The statute creating the Sidewalk Improvement District can be found at Section C22-188 of the city code. In addition to Purnhagen, the Public Works Board is made up Jason Foster, Commissioner of Public Works; Justin Weaver, ADA Coordinator; David Marston, who was appointed to the PWB by the Common Council; and George Kroenert, who was appointed by the mayor.

Monday, July 8, 2024

Meetings and Events in the Week Ahead

With the Fourth of July behind us, we now embark on the busiest week of the month, meetingwise.
  • On Monday, July 8, the Common Council holds a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. to consider a resolution to hire Crawford & Associates as project manager for the sidewalk improvement project. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Microsoft Teams. Click here for the link to join the meeting remotely.
  • At 6:00 p.m. on Monday, July 8, the Common Council holds its informal meeting. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Microsoft Teams. Click here for the link to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Tuesday, July 9, the Planning Board meets at 6:30 p.m. New on the board's ever-growing agenda is a proposal to convert 10-12 Warren Street, which the City sold at auction last August, into a 27-room hotel. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Wednesday, July 10, the Housing Trust Fund Board meets at 5:30 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Microsoft Teams. Click here for the link to join the meeting remotely.
Update: The meeting of the Housing Trust Fund Board has been rescheduled for Thursday, July 18, at 5:30 p.m.
  • Also on Wednesday, July 10, Waterfront Wednesdays returns to Henry Hudson Riverfront Park. From 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., there's a Ujima Community Collective Drum Circle; from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Bindlestiff's Cirkus After School hosts a juggling jam; at 7:00 p.m., Beautiful Racket performs. 
  • On Thursday, July 11, the Common Council Legal Committee meets at 6:00 p.m. An agenda for the meeting is not yet available. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Microsoft Teams. Click here for the link to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Friday, July 12, the Historic Preservation Commission meets at 10:00 a.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Microsoft Teams. Click here for the link to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Saturday, July 13, the Hudson Festival Orchestra presents its annual Hudson in Concert: A Community Celebration at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park. The Opening Acts are from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the gazebo. The Hudson Festival Orchestra concert in the tent is from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Click here for more information.

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Sidewalk Improvement Project Update

The Public Works Board has been debating whether to hire an individual or a consulting firm to help scope, prioritize, and carry out the sidewalk improvement project. Apparently, at the last meeting of the Public Works Board, which took place on June 27, but could not be accessed virtually despite being advertised as a hybrid meeting, a decision was made. The Public Works Board has decided they want Crawford & Associates to act as project manager.

On Monday, July 8, at 5:30 p.m., the Common Council is holding a special meeting to consider a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Crawford & Associates "for work in relation to the initial planning phase [of] sidewalk construction and repairs at an amount not to exceed $20,000. The tasks they are to carry out include:
  • Review of the Hyman Hayes ADA Accessibility Audit
  • Meetings with the Public Works Board to determine initial priorities and phases for construction and repair
  • Re-evaluation of existing conditions
  • Field research for use in preparing tax assessment values
  • Development of method for calculation of tax assessment values and prepare draft values using GIS data obtained from County Real Property Office and field data
  • Provide a report identifying subsequent phases and recommendations for steps necessary to advance project
The special meeting on Monday is a hybrid, taking place in person at City Hall and on Microsoft Teams. Click here for the link to join the meeting remotely.

Real Estate News

The Daily Voice recently reported that Locust Dale Farm, also known as the Conyn-Van Rensselaer homestead, is for sale: "Food Network Chef Nancy Fuller Lists 'Extraordinary' Historic Hudson Farmhouse for $4M."

Photo: Facebook Nancy Fuller/Compass
If you read the article to the end, you'll find this is the second time the property, which is individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places, has been offered for sale. In August 2020, in the first year of the pandemic, the house, situated on 143 acres of "peaceful farmland," was listed for $5.95 million--about $2 million more than what is being asked today.

Summer Hours at City Hall

Here's news for anyone who needs to go to City Hall for any reason this summer. As of last Friday, July 5, City Hall has shifted to its summer schedule. From now until Labor Day, Monday, September 2, City Hall will open at 8:30 a.m. and close at 4:00 p.m.

Friday, July 5, 2024

Waterfront Wednesdays Returns

Waterfront Wednesdays, the weekly summer community event that offers a blend of free onshore and on-water programming, returns next Wednesday for its eight-week run. Every Wednesday, from July 10 through August 28, Henry Hudson Riverfront Park will be the setting for activities and entertainment for people of all ages. 

Photo: David McIntyre
Every Wednesday, there will be a Ujima Community Collective Drum Circle from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., promoting rhythm and unity within the community. Also from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Bindlestiff's Cirkus After School will host a weekly juggling jam, weather permitting. Professional teaching artists will provide equipment and mentorship for beginners, covering various juggling props--diabolos, flower sticks, unicycles, and more. Children over 8 years old must be accompanied by a family member over 14.

At 7:00 p.m., Loki Anthony will host a weekly variety of performances. The lineup includes:
  • July 10: Beautiful Racket
  • July 17: Operation Unite
  • July 24: The Vanaver Caravan
  • July 31: Brass Kill
  • August 7: Social Justice Leadership Academy + Kaisokah Moko Jumbies USA + Bindlestiff's Cirkus After School
  • August 14: Brett Miller & Neon Moons, with Line Dance Caller Sargent Seedoo
  • August 21: Jazz Night
  • August 28: Local Artist Spotlight
Other family friendly activities include the ReGen Crew from Kite’s Nest and their stationary-bike-powered smoothie stand, and the The Hudson Youth Bike Coop drop-in workshops in bike maintenance and repair for youth ages 10 to 18. Youth are given the opportunity to refurbish and eventually own their own bikes, learning valuable life and job skills in the process. The Hudson Sloop Club will offer free fishing lessons for kids each week, led by Ngounga Badilla. Signups available at the Nack Center for Estuary Education. Finally, Elise McMahon of LikeMindedObjects and Shaker Museum will facilitate two Fix-It Picnics on July 24 and August 21, where the can-do community fix-it spirit is contagious. Open to all ages and skill levels. Each drop-in session offers plenty of time to work on the sewing, T-shirt weaving, mending, or crafting project of your choice. In July, Hannah Ross of Hanoux will be our guest artist, and in August, we’ll be joined by Nkoula Badila.

In addition to the lineup of activities at Waterfront Wednesdays, attendees can look forward to a diverse range of culinary delights. Larry Walker's What's Really Good will be offering mouthwatering Southern-style BBQ, while Peta's Pocket will serve up a delectable fusion of Jamaican, Caribbean, and Fusion cuisine. Chef Danny Amend will also be showcasing his Far Out Container Farm produce and salad offerings. As a sweet treat, Empire State Voices will be delighting guests with complimentary ice cream on July 24.

Waterfront Wednesdays is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrants Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by CREATE Council on the Arts. This project has been supported by a grant from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and Friends of Hudson Youth. The Visiting Vessels program is made possible through generous support from the City of Hudson and the Berkshire Taconic Foundation. Support also comes from local business community sponsors: Columbia Memorial Health, Friendly City Creative Club, Friends of Hudson Youth, Halfmoon Hudson, Hudson Business Coalition, Paolantonio Crawford, PLLC, If You Care, Spotty Dog Books & Ale, Supernatural, The SPARK of Hudson, The Wick Hotel, This Old Hudson, and Wm. Farmer & Sons. Underwriting support also comes from Karen Schlather. 

The Waterfront Wednesdays Board of Advisors includes Loki Anthony, Danny Amend, Nick Dixon, Selha Graham, Nea McKinney, Sam Merrett, Elena Mosley, Stephanie Monseu, Adriana Tampasis, Kate Treacy, and Adam Weinert. For more information, visit