New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, accompanied by city, county and state government and economic development officials made the announcement this afternoon in the performance hall of the recently renovated Hudson Opera House.
Hudson's competitors for the coveted economic development funds included cities, town, and villages from Central New York, Finger Lakes, Long Island, Mohawk Valley, New York City, North Country, and New York's Southern Tier.and Western New York. Glens Falls won last year's $10 million DRI award.
The money will be used to revitalize the city's riverfront Bridge District, once the heart of this Hudson's whaling industry, and today, one of the only undeveloped riverfront parcels in the Hudson River Valley.
According to John K. Friedman, Alderman for Hudson's Third Ward, the DRI funds will be used to plan and revitalize Hudson's Bridge Street area which currently contains a waterfront park. This includes infrastructure improvement and potential commercial development by outside investors.
One, unused, historic structure, the Dunn Warehouse, a remnant of Hudson's bygone days as a whaling center, is expected to be part of the renovation, where it could become an anchor structure within the defined revitalization footprint.
"Our proposal was focused on Front Street, from north to south, primarily around the train station, and the bridge (over the Amtrak lines). It' s mostly about infrastructure; new sidewalks and making the site more accessible and useful for the trains, vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians, while providing improved access to the waterfront."
Envisioned, but not part of the plan yet, is the potential for commercial development, including things like restaurants, bars, and other small shops. Part of the development objective is to create new jobs and and create more friendly living space on and close to the waterfront. The existing Henry Hudson Waterfront Park, Rick's Point, as well as an existing commercial tour boat dock and a private boat club will not be encroached upon, Friedman, noted, but funds could be used to upgrade and improve the city-owned small boat dockage facilities in the park area.
Conditions of the award specify that the first $200,000 to $300,000 of the grant must be spent on comprehensive planning.
Hudson was nominated for the award by the state’s ten Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) based on its potential for transformation. In its first phase, city and state planners will develop a strategic investment plan for the riverfront and implement key catalytic projects that advance the city's vision for revitalization.
Full details of the final plan have not been released to the public, and according to local observers, the final document was significantly revised in the closing weeks of the competition.
According to a recent report published in The Gossips of Rivertown, Hudson's hometown news website, "DRI Round 2" was announced on May 16, and included a group of community stakeholders who contributed to the application.
The focus area includes a site that encompasses most of the property west of Second Street, from Basilica Hudson at the south, to Dock Street at the north.
The state's DRI program emphasizes using investments to reinforce and secure additional public and private investments proximal to, and within, downtown neighborhoods, and in doing, is intended to build upon growth spurred by the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs).
A New York Times profile about Hudson's ongoing transformation noted that "from whaling and international trade in the 18th century to cotton mills and brick yards in the 19th century, to cement plants in the early 20th century industry has risen and fallen. After a long steady decline, the last 30 years in Hudson have seen a remarkable and elegant transformation," attributed, in part to its proximity of influences of New York city, 120 miles to the south.
Often described at "one of the coolest small town in America," Hudson, also the county seat of Columbia County, is also attracting a smattering of new investment of next-wave tech company investment, beyond the many arts, antique and food shops that line busy, mile-long Warren Street. Etsy operates a regional annex in a repurposed 1800s brick warehouse left over from the city's industrial past.
Surrounding Columbia County is also experiencing new economic growth and development as part of New York's "tech valley," and is home to a growing number of companies in advanced manufacturing, food processing, biotechnology and other high tech companies. Foursquare has announced that it is scouting the Hudson Valley for a new location, with Hudson reportedly on the short list of possible location