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Scenic Hudson publishes aid for waterfront revitalization

Nov 26, 2010 10:16 am

Just as both Catskill and Hudson start to look at new ways of spurring economic development by reworking their waterfronts, the Register Star has a front page stry today on Scenic Hudson's new guide for such work.

"Communities throughout the region recognize that Hudson River waterfronts offer rich opportunities for economic development, recreation, environmental health and scenic beauty. These multiple values make the valley’s Hudson waterfronts hotspots for revitalization. But they also can create battlegrounds where competing priorities must be resolved," the paper writes. "Scenic Hudson has created a new, practical how-to guide with strategies that can bring interested groups together to reinvent our precious waterfronts into powerful community assets."

"Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts: Illustrated Conservation & Development Strategies for Creating Healthy, Prosperous Communities” aims to help local officials, planners, developers and concerned citizens realize the full potential of their shorelines. Written to be helpful to riverfront communities of all sizes, “Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts” presents an economically sustainable and environmentally sound vision for waterfronts throughout the valley.

The Scenic Hudson publication illustrates for communities how to create publicly accessible, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use waterfronts in municipal centers while protecting ecologically important natural areas and iconic views. The book offers tools that will enable municipalities to focus on development in areas with existing infrastructure close to transportation hubs and concentrate water-dependent commerce along the river—marinas, maritime museums, fishing operations, etc. Strategies in the guide are aimed at attracting visitors and permanent residents to downtowns, spurring new business opportunities.

The guide may be one of the first published to include strategies to help municipalities prepare for and head off the impacts of sea-level rise associated with climate change.

“Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts” includes practical strategies to help communities minimize damage to private property, public utilities and facilities as sea levels rise with climate change. By keeping critical infrastructure out of the way of rising sea levels, implementing green stormwater technologies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, communities can lower risks and costs to their citizens while improving access and natural resource health along the river.

One of the book’s most important recommendations is to create a continuous riverfront greenway corridor extending inland to the 100-year floodplain. In addition to providing public access to the river, the greenway would allow for the conservation of critical wildlife habitat and offer a buffer from flooding and storm surges. The book also points to resources for restoring and rehabilitating wetlands and other natural areas, and safeguarding the quality of groundwater, critical for protecting communities’ drinking-water supplies.

“Revitalizing Hudson Riverfronts” features six chapters, 80 photographs and 30 drawings and maps that vividly illustrate strategies discussed in the text. It also offers links to dozens of additional online resources as well as an appendix of local ordinances that have helped communities across the state create more economically vibrant, environmentally healthy waterfronts.

The book is available online at www.revitalizinghudsonriverfronts.org.

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