Council at full strength, tackles park ramp, RR bridge

HUDSON–Improvements to the park overlooking the Hudson River, the status of the bridge to the riverfront and the location of Hudson ward boundaries were among the items addressed at the Hudson City Common Council regular meeting Tuesday, July 21.

The full Common Council and Council President Don Moore were present for the two-hour session. The previous week’s informal Common Council meeting had been canceled because Mr. Moore and seven aldermen had been absent, leaving only three aldermen at the meeting.

At the July 21 meeting, the Common Council unanimously approved a resolution applying for an Environmental Protection Fund Municipal grant for building a handicapped accessibility ramp and making other “appropriate” changes to Promenade Park, at the foot of Warren Street, overlooking the river. Still, Alderman Tiffany Garriga (D-2nd Ward) reminded her colleagues that “a lot of my constituents would like to be consulted” on the plans, “because they use the park with their children.”

In addition, Alderman Rick Rector (D-1st Ward), who has served on the Historical Preservation Commission, asked if planners would consult that commission regarding the park.
Mr. Moore noted that while “in general, public projects don’t have to go through the Historic Preservation Committee, sometimes they do so as a courtesy.”

Several youths from Operation Unite attended the meeting for the first hour. A group of young people from Operation Unite had come to the previous week’s informal meeting only to see it canceled.  Now they saw their city lawmakers in action. As they left, Mr. Moore called out thanks to them.

The Common Council adopted a resolution “urging the city to immediately” bring a suit against Columbia County for maintaining election districts whose boundaries differ from the ward boundaries specified in the City Charter.

Mayor William Hallenbeck vetoed the resolution two days later (See story on Page 1.)
On another topic, Alderman Rector asked the status of the Ferry Street Bridge that leads from Front Street across the mainline railroad tracks to the riverfront. The bridge has been closed to vehicles since last August because inspectors ruled it could not handle the weight. Reopening it would require either rebuilding or replacing it, and that will be costly. Vehicles can still cross the tracks via a grade crossing south of the Amtrak station.  The riverside includes the Henry Hudson Riverfront Park and a boat launch.

“You say we need to get a new police station,” Mr. Rector told his colleagues. “I say we need to get a new bridge.”

“There’s no attempt to reach out and find out what we can do,” said Mr. Friedman. “There doesn’t seem to be any interest on the part of the city to fix the bridge.”

“I don’t want us to be talking on and on and nothing happens,” said Mr. Rector.
Mr. Moore mentioned “strong-arming the Feds” for bridge repair funding.

Mr. Friedman said, “The person who says they want to be mayor should do the work.”
The Hudson Common Council holds an informal meeting Monday, August 10, and its regular Tuesday, August 18. Both meetings will take place at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 520 Warren Street.

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