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Wednesday headlines

Aug 10, 2011 12:18 am
Hudson's other bay emerges
While the rest of Hudson has been fighting about how much parkland, or how much industry should make up Hudson's South Bay, the Columbia Land Conservancy (CLC) has quietly been working on a proposal to transform Hudson's North Bay into a massive public recreation area. The proposed trail network, announced Tue. Aug. 9, would stretch from the Hudson River to the City’s Charles Williams Park, through the 714-acre Greenport Conservation Area and northward on to Harrier Hill Park. And while this may ignite a whole new row of in-fighting and disputes among Hudson muckety-mucks, the CLC has a couple of key voices on board already. “I support CLC’s proposal for the North Bay Recreation and Natural Area," said Hudson Mayor Richard Scalera in the CLC's press release. "The Area will give the public better access to the North Bay, spectacular views of the Hudson River, and access to about 1,000 acres of conservation land, while creating important habitat.” Roy Brown, Chairman of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, agreed, saying, “This proposal spells out a wonderful vision and opportunity for the North Bay. It will provide a great amenity to the residents of the county, provide important ecological benefits and markedly enhance the City’s Hudson River waterfront.” A grant from the Hudson River Foundation’s Catskill-Olana Viewshed Mitigation Fund, which was established by the Athens Generating Company in conjunction with Scenic Hudson in the course of the regulatory approval process for the Athens Generating Plant, helped pay for a study that led to the proposal. The CLC proposal is in three phases over a nine-year period, and there are many regulatory and other hurdles sure to slow the process. Ownership of the property is divided among the County, the City and the City’s Industrial Development Agency, and the Hudson Fabrics Building property. The CLC mentions the idea was included in the 2002 City of Hudson Comprehensive Plan and the City’s draft Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) includes a similar plan. "It is now up to the City and the County to decide whether and how to act on the CLC proposal," is how the group awkwardly closes their announcement. The CLC owns or manages 10 public conservation areas that are open year-round from dawn to dusk.

Supes to vote on Wal-Mart purchase
W. T. Eckert in the Register-Star reports that a resolution request for “Authorizing the Acquisition of the Wal-Mart Building” was made Mon., Aug. 8, at a Columbia County Public Works Committee meeting and that tonight, Wed., Aug. 10, the Finance Committee and Board of Supervisors will vote on that and two related proposals. Six of the seven Public Works committee members voted in favor of the request, all except Pat Grattan (R-Kinderhook). “I have concerns about the two percent tax cap,” Grattan said. “I think we are going to be well above it.... I can’t justify the taking of a building that’s attached to another building.... If Price Chopper and Fashion Bug move out, we’ll be attached to two more vacant buildings. Buildings aren’t maintained as well when they aren’t occupied.” The other two proposals, one authorizing a professional services agreement with Woodward Connor Gillis Seleman Architects; the other, a resolution requesting a negative declaration for purposes of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) in connection with the purchase, finance and repurposing of the former Wal-Mart building in Greenport. Hudson stands to lose many jobs if the Department of Social Services (DSS) leaves for Greenport, but both Bart Delaney, R-Hudson5, and John Musall D-Hudson1, supported the proposals. “We have to get DSS out of 25 Railroad Ave.,” Delaney said. “It doesn’t have to be all done now; we could look at a five-year plan or a six-year plan.” “This would also be a good opportunity to establish a transit system that the whole county could benefit from,” committee member John Musall D-Hudson1 said, “not just DSS.” All three resolutions will go before both the Finance Committee at 7 p.m. and the full Board of Supervisors at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday evening, Eckert reports. Read the compete story in the Register-Star.

Cuomo helps out farmer's markets
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Tue., Aug. 9 a "New York Fresh Connect Farmers' Markets" program, to help farmer's markets and also provide access to high-quality fruits and vegetables to folks with lower incomes. The program offers up to $15,000 in funding per new market and helps with marketing, and other administration. The state will also help each market redeeming Food Stamps and other nutrition incentives, such as Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Fruit & Vegetable Checks, Farmers' Market Nutrition Program coupons, and Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition coupons, providing markets $2 rebate checks for every $5 in food stamps spent at their market. "Farmers' markets increase farm sales and revenue by bringing farm produce directly to the consumer," Cuomo said in a press release. "These markets also help underserved communities by providing fresh produce, nutritional education, and local jobs."

Big Brothers/Big Sisters shutting Catskill office
Doron Tyler Antrim in The Daily Mail reports that the Big Brothers/Big Sisters office on Main Street in Catskill, which serves Greene and Columbia counties, will close at the end of the month, because of budget cuts. “Due to a significant loss of funding, and the dire financial outlook for New York state and this area specifically, for the near future, we will no longer be able to maintain services in Greene and Columbia counties,” wrote Jennifer Osswald, the agency’s director of programs for the twin counties, in a letter to the Catskill Village Board of Trustees. Children from the twin counties will be served by staff in the agency’s Kingston office. Read the full story in The Daily Mail.

Cairo traffic report
There is no parking in the Cairo Town Hall parking lot through Labor Day due to construction of the new library, behind the Town Hall. Main Street in Cairo will be closed to parking and traffic from Wednesday, August 10 at 7 a.m. through Thursday, August 11 at 3:30 p.m. due to that construction.
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