Mayor Scalera’s commentary, “Naive or delaying LWRP passage?” in today’s Register Star requires some comment. Here are my comments posted on the Register Star website.
First, Mayor Scalera mis-characterizes the potential uses of the waterfront as “recreational boating and perhaps some limited shipping….”. In fact, from my perspective, and from all of the people I have heard talk about the waterfront, the uses included recreational boating, cruise operations, hotel, restaurants, retail shopping stores, galleries, and more. These uses fit into a larger picture that the future of jobs in Hudson is tied to the extension of the city as an arts, antiques, entertainment, and history destination. This job creation engine has a track record in the city and an obvious future for growth with the addition of the waterfront as part of the overall destination package.
The problem is that none of that is possible with a large scale industrial use cheek and jowl with the rest of the waterfront. The choice we are facing is a trade off between a limited number of seasonal jobs hauling gravel (it was reported elsewhere in today’s Register Star that Calarusso only operates during non-winter months) or developing the track the city has been on for the past 10 to 15 years, becoming a destination for those interested in arts, antiques, entertainment, food and history. I want to place my bet with that development path.
A second point might be to point out that Mayor Scalera went to lengths to point out the Open Space Institute and Scenic Hudson would not support an eminent domain taking. That is not the only way in which those organizations might be involved. A simpler path is the old-fashioned one of buying the land in question.
As someone who has only lived in Hudson for a year and half of the twenty three years of the LWRP process, it seems wise to continue to get the policies right even at the cost of a bit more time.
Thanks for the thoughts, Mark. I’m just getting to know your blog. I’ve posted a copy of a reply to Rick’s Rant, submitted Wednesday to the Register-Star, at:
One consistent tactic on disjointed display here from the Mayor (and unfortunately also the City’s Waterfront consultants, who have politicized their own involvement) is to make everything into an exaggerated either-or choice.
It’s either industry or recreation. Blue collar jobs or tourism. Eminent domain or property rights.
The goal of these reductive and inflammatory scripts are to make it difficult for people to make informed and thoughtful choices. It turns people’s minds off to the many other options which fall in between seeming polar opposites (though a healthy environment often helps support a stronger and more sustainable local economy). It also discourages creative thinking which might arrive at solutions on another axis entirely.
In that black-and-white world, the Mayor and his allies don’t want people to hear that The Valley Alliance has suggested businesses such as boat-building be encouraged in the Waterfront Zone. And we’re not just building castles in the air; there’s a boat builder who moved to Hudson several years ago, who brought the idea to us. That’s an example of industry which is both contextual to the Waterfront, consistent with its history, and compatible with other uses. It’s one in which local students and young graduates could apprentice, learn a skilled trade, and make a good living.
Unfortunately, we have a local press which largely works to suppress information that doesn’t fit the usual political script. So it takes a while for that info to filter out to the public. Blogs like this are starting to play a part in breaking down that dynamic. So I look forward to future posts.