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Unopposed Hudson mayoral hopeful meets with public

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HUDSON–It doesn’t look like a tight race for mayor in the city this November… or any race at all. But city residents have raised a variety of issues at conversational meetings with Rick Rector, Hudson’s unopposed candidate for mayor. Mr. Rector (D), currently a First Ward alderman, has scheduled the meetings in each of the city’s five wards and this report includes remarks from the meetings on October 10 and 11 in the Third and Fourth wards.

Rick Rector / Photo contributed

“If you want economic development in your community, make it a nice place to live!” said Peter Young of Warren Street, quoting the mayor of Beacon.

Dan Jacoby of Rossman Avenue voiced concern about long-abandoned buildings, in particular one around the corner from him on Prospect Street. “It could be a fire hazard.”

Another man asked, “What tools might you propose to open doors” to Hudson’s “very significant inventory of properties not currently available?” His example was a building on the corner of 3rd and Warren streets that he said has been “sitting empty for years and years.”

Sidney Long of the Fourth Ward said, “Warren Street is very active. But if you go over one block, to Columbia and State, there are no stores, so people don’t go there.”

A woman from the west side of the First Ward said, “The Wick is in my back yard. But I did not know there were meetings about it.” The Wick is the new hotel under construction on Cross Street at the site of the former home of Stageworks. The speaker also said she is “afraid to walk at night.”

A woman who moved to Hudson from New York City three years ago said, “The first thing that bowled me over was the river and the view of the Catskills. I hope people will view the waterfront as important.”

A man who has lived in Hudson one year on State Street lamented the lack of trees. In addition, he indicated that though politicians hail Hudson’s diversity, he finds the area “not diverse.”

A 4th Ward man asked: “How do you plan to get solutions based on technology?” He called for improving the garbage-collection system and advocated more “space for business to grow.” Rather than emphasizing housing, “You need space for a business to employ 30 people on one floor.” He also indicated that air-conditioners at Common Council meetings are too loud to hear the meeting.

Another man asked what the city is doing to attract investments. Ms. Long asked for the candidate’s thoughts on economic development and jobs. And Mr. Jacoby inquired about parking for Columbia Memorial Hospital, an issue on all the streets near the hospital.

In response to these questions, Mr. Rector advised people to call the city if they believe an apparently unused building is unsafe. “There are some abandoned buildings I’d like to see back on the market place,” he added. “Whether as affordable housing or market-rate rents, it would take pressure off.”

One such building is the former Dunn Warehouse by the riverfront. That building, he said at both meetings is “one of its kind. It’s upsetting to see it deteriorate.” He said he envisions it as a community center, with a year round farmer’s market, kayak and bicycle facilities, and space for events.

As for the absence of stores off Warren Street, Mr. Rector said he would like to see zoning changed “to establish more of a business presence. As long as it doesn’t take away from housing. Arts and commerce can work together.”

As for economic development and investment, Mr. Rector said, “Housing is part of economic development.” In addition, he said, he has been very involved with the Wick Hotel. Still, he implied dissatisfaction that “the only investment we’ve made in our community recently is the new police station and a water treatment facility.”

As for hospital parking, Mr. Rector said, “I wish the hospital had another parking garage.”

Several local politicians attended the meetings.

One topic some of them brought up was the need for better relations between the mayor, the president of the Common Council, and the ward supervisors, who represent Hudson on the County Board of Supervisors. Mr. Rector, who will serve a two-year term assuming he does not face a surprise write-in opponent, said that he plans to attending “most” of the Common Council and committee meetings and that he plans quarterly meetings with the Common Council president and the five supervisors. “I look forward to dialogue with the board,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t know what is going on in the county.”

Eileen Halloran, a candidate for 5th Ward alderwoman, said, “One frustrating thing is the lack of urgency.” Issues, she said, “go on and on.”

Mr. Rector agreed, “I read minutes of meetings of the Common Council from 15, 10, and 5 years ago. And we’re talking about the same things. The same topics come up.”

The day after the second meeting, when asked about the announcement by performance artist Marina Abramoviƈ that she was dropping her plan to develop a new arts center in a former movie theater near 7th Street Park structure, Mr. Rector said, “Hopefully, someone will come in, buy it and do something that will be good for the community, fast.”

Mr. Rector’s next community conversation takes place Tuesday, October 24, at 6 p.m., at the Crosswinds development, 15 Rogers Lane, off Harry Howard Avenue. The last one will be at the Chamber of Commerce, 1 North Front Street on Monday, October 30.

Although each event is held in a different ward, residents of all wards are welcome. Call 917 797-4114.

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