Committees form around Oakdale Lake upgrade plans

HUDSON–“People who grew up here are looking at the pictures and trying to find themselves,” said Tamar Adler, referring to poster-size photographs from 1960 of swimming and ice-skating at Hudson’s Oakdale Lake, at a public meeting in Hudson February 7. She and other people interested in improving the lake and its surrounding park presented possibilities and called for community participation.

The goal is to “re-knit Oakdale Lake into our community,” Ms. Adler said. “This is not a new idea, this is not my idea, it has been part of this community for a century. We have had a beautiful, highly-used, community-supported lake.” She has lived in Hudson three years and realized the need for improving Oakdale Lake when she noticed how much her toddler son “loved the water.” So she and other similarly-concerned parents formed Friends of Oakdale Lake. Guided by Columbia University’s Hudson Valley Initiative and with community input, they settled on eight projects. Now, she said, “We’re getting to the point where we’re looking for funding.”

Each project had a signup sheet for people interested in joining a committee to work on it. The projects are:

1. Beach House and Plaza.

2. Boards, Hoops, and Cars.

3. Lunch point.

4. Clear Water.

5. Forest Classroom.

6. Nature Playground.

7. Picnic Grove

8. Diving Board.

In addition to the eight official projects, an overview booklet ended with a +1 (additional possible project): ice skating.

Each committee’s exact scope will be determined by its participants, said Kaja Kuehl of the Hudson Valley Initiative. For example, the Diving Board Committee might include the entire boardwalk envisioned for along Glenwood Street, currently planned to include not only diving but also toddler wading, and tiered seating. It depends what the committee members decide. People interested in getting more involved should contact .

Oakdale Lake was created about 100 years ago, has been used for skating since no later than 1916, and has had a beach since 1947. According to posters at the meeting, the Columbia Republican reported on October 27, 1914 that low land east of Underhill Pond would “be flooded with water from Power Spring, making a lake of about 5 acres.”

On January 9, 1916, the Hudson Evening Register had a headline, “Skating is fine on Oakdale Lake.”

The City of Hudson bought the site for $9,750 on August 8, 1946, and experts confirmed that Oakdale Lake’s “source is a natural spring.” In 1947, the sand beach was in place, in August 1948 the beach house was constructed and dedicated to World War II veterans, and in 1951 the Youth Bureau began using the beach house as a recreation center.

The 1960 photographs show racially integrated crowds. A short video shown at the meeting quoted Hudson Alderwoman Eileen Halloran (5th Ward), “in the winter there was ice-skating. There was a fire [in a fireplace] in the beach house.” Somebody at the meeting said they wished the weather would cooperate enough for skating this year.

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