A blog about Hudson, New York

News on the Rialto

If We Had Ten Million

In her Gossips of Rivertown blog, Carole Osterink asks the tantalizing question: “What Could Hudson Could Do With 10 Million?”  This is the amount of economic development money that Governor Cuomo recently proposed to offer effected communities in exchange for the shutting down of underutilized prisons throughout the state. As Carole mentions, our very own Hudson Correctional Facility (pictured above when it was the New York Training School for Girls) was targeted for closure in 2008 but dodged  the bullet  through the lobbying efforts of local officials;  it could very well end up on the list again this time. (A quick shot at the kind of stuff it shouldn’t be used for: access roads for gravel-carrying trucks; punitive stings against local bars and restaurants, or hulking new construction like a parking garage in the middle of the town.)

Carole’s query led me back to something that I mentioned in last week’s post: the creation of a redevelopment agency that emphasized historic preservation,  enlightened city planning,  and the cultural,  recreational,  and environmental resources of the town. An agency like this could use the ten million dollars to form partnerships with nonprofits and businesses and get maximum bang for the buck for projects such as the renovation of the 7th Street Park and the auditorium of the Opera House; it could also purchase blighted properties seized through eminent domain (which the city has been unable to pay for in the past); new corporate, residential  or educational uses for the historic prison complex itself, with  a complete restoration of the Plum Bronson house; and, last but not least, an expanded Hudson River park.

CORRECTION:  In a previous version of this post, I incorrectly stated that the town didn’t have “any kind of municipal level economic development office” and that the handing over of state money could be made more difficult because of this. A note from Victor Mendolia, chairman of Hudson Democratic Committee, pointed out that the “the city does indeed have an Economic Development Agency, in fact it has two:  The Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) and the Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA). HCDPA is relatively inactive, but HDC handles most grant money that comes to the city. The Board is comprised of the Mayor, Council President, Majority and Minority Leader of the Council and a number of local business people. There are two vacancies on the Board and it is currently without an Executive Director. Peter Markou was the Exec Dir. but he was elected Greene County Treasurer in November and was required to resign. The Exec Dir duties are currently being managed by The Grant Writers, the grant writing firm that the city has on retainer.”

WGXC for Dummies (Like Me)

We’re a few weeks away from the FM launch date (February 26) of Hudson’s new community radio station, but you can hear it all online at wgxc.org. I have to confess that it took me a few tries to figure out how to do this, even though I’m an avid online radio listener.  The problem was that when you hit the web site’s “click to listen” box,  the  station’s media player doesn’t pop up automatically, at least at first. After clicking, you have to locate the Mp3 file at the bottom of  your screen–in my case it was hidden under some command buttons– and then right click on “always open folders of this type.” Live and learn.

Back in the noncyber world, if you want to help with the opening broadcast event, come to the next volunteer gathering (6:30 pm Monday February 7) at the WGXC studio in Hudson (704 Columbia Street).  Or come by any Monday evening as “there is plenty to do.”

–Scott Baldinger

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