Hudson residents tell likely mayor of their concerns

HUDSON–Oakdale Lake, traffic, buses, political meetings and youth programs are among the subjects people brought up at the October 24 public meeting hosted by Rick Rector, who’s running unopposed for mayor of Hudson. This was one of a series of meetings in each city ward, This meeting was in the 5th Ward, though Mr. Rector, who will win unless a write-in opponent suddenly materializes, welcomed residents from all wards to attend.

Among the other candidates at the meeting were current 5th Ward Alderman Robert Donahue (R), 1st Ward Supervisor Sarah Sterling (D), and two of the 5th Ward candidates seeking seats on the Common Council, Eileen Halloran and Dominic Merante.

“Oakdale Lake is very important,” said Norma Shook of Glenwood Blvd, a lifelong Hudson resident. She said the beach needs a clean-up and added, “The activities we had there when I was a child were priceless.”

But “the majority of kids live in the 2nd Ward, and Oakdale isn’t right there,” said Vern Cross, who has a weekly radio show.

Ms. Shook also voiced concern about the traffic on Glenwood. With “trucks all over Route 9, people use Glenwood” like a thruway. Cars come “flying down it,” she said.

“Glenwood was never meant to have a truck route,” said Ms. Halloran.

“Glenwood isn’t the only street with traffic problems,” said Tom Martin of Riverledge Road. “Harry Howard Avenue has them too.” And Riverledge “is short but double wide,” with fast driving. School buses contribute to the traffic situation. Mr. Martin indicated that when he walks his dog at night, he has had several close calls in which he thought he might be struck by a passing vehicle.

“We’ve seen people walk where there are no sidewalks with shopping carts and strollers,” said Ms. Shook, suggesting they could easily be hit.

“Truck traffic affects us all,” said Ms. Halloran. Trucks on Fairview and Greene streets “cause people to detour. It puts pressure on the infrastructure of Glenwood,” she said.

“I’ve heard this before,” said Mr. Rector. “At police committee meetings we talk about speed bumps.”

Susan Rubin of Crosswinds said, “We need more buses.” The Monday-Saturday Hudson shopper shuttle can get people to Fairview Avenue shopping centers before 8 a.m., but the last bus run leaves Price Chopper in the early afternoon. “I see people who use them going to work,” said Ms. Rubin. “How do they get home?”

She said people she has talked to would ride the bus on Sunday, and requested more publicity about bus routes. “I tell people in Hudson about the bus all the time, and they ask: ‘What bus?’”

Mr. Rector said he had recently learned of the new bus runs from Hudson and Philmont to Columbia Greene Community College.

Mr. Cross urged politicians to hold regular meetings with their constituents, like the ones Rector is holding and not just at election time.

“I would like to see a system of regular meetings in which aldermen were expected to be there for coffee and doughnuts,” said a man named Daniel from Warren Street in the 1st Ward. At such meetings, “if you have an issue, you can bring it up. It would be fantastic.”

“We’d like our kids to grow up here,” he continued. “We’d like them to feel it’s a home they can always come back to.” He said he has lived in Hudson about 15 years and has 2 children born there. He added that some of his friends in southern Vermont “engage the youth in local commerce.” These youths include high school graduates who are either going to a community college or not at that time attending college. But in Hudson, he said, “Warren Street and the high school are very cut off from each other.”

Earlier Mr. Rector had emphasized the importance of nurturing Hudson’s youth. Addressing that matter, Mr. Cross identified the Youth Center on 18 South Third Street near Union Street as “where most underprivileged youths must go, because it’s within walking distance.” But he added, “I’m 48, and it has the same equipment it had when I was a child.” Meanwhile, “the summer program doesn’t work as well” as it should, he said, in part because of the distance of Oakdale Lake and its surrounding park from the youths’ homes.

Mr. Merante said he had worked with city youth for 30 years and if elected would donate part of his salary to the police athletic league.

Miranda Barry, president of the Board of the Hudson Area Library said, “Promise Neighborhood was doing things, but it lost its funding.”

Ms. Barry, Mr. Cross, Mr. Merante, and Mr. Rector mentioned the existence of youth programs at the library, the Youth Center, and Kite’s Nest.

Mr. Rector said that right after the election he would form a council on youth.

Meanwhile, Mr. Cross said, “Some people think the 5th Ward doesn’t need as much attention as the 2nd and 3rd Ward.”

“Hudson isn’t just Warren Street,” Ms. Shook said.

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