The concerned, uncomfortable, and forcibly muted citizens who packed last Monday’s council meeting on the Waterfront might have found the process more tolerable had someone in power pointed out the following: that passing the GEIS (Generic Environmental Impact Statement) and changing the area’s zoning from industrial to core/riverfront** were the first steps towards getting the following done … yadda yadda yadda (specific actions that could now be mandated to bring Holcim into compliance. This is all in lieu of the vision thing, of course.) It’s hard to believe that the continued presence of ungainly derelict structures, acres of broken asphalt, and unsafe culverts can be considered compatible with a CR area–why not throw a bone and have someone spell out how correcting these impediments to proper use can now be made part of the package?
And in the meanwhile, wouldn’t it be nice to have a historic civic auditorium for these occasions instead of some stifling meeting room well off the beaten path? A possible source of income for renovating said auditorium (in the Hudson Opera House, of course), among other things: Use the capped methane vents in the northern section of the waterfront (a covered landfill) to heat houses and other buildings here. (See this story in The New York Times about the Fresh Kills Landfill Park in Staten Island.) Even if the dollar dividends are not that great, we’ll at least be doing something with a lot of the pent up gas in town and reduce our carbon footprint a bit. —Scott Baldinger
* Hudson these days
** A previous version of this post incorrectly stated the zoning change was to Commercial/ Residential. An Emily Litella moment? Thanks to the ever perspicacious Carole Osterink for pointing this error out in her invaluable The Gossips of Rivertown.