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Bliss to mark 50 years as new plans evolve



Bliss Towers

HUDSON—Fiftieth anniversary recognitions and future development plans highlighted the Hudson Housing Authority (HHA) Board of Commissioners meeting June 26.

The HHA runs the 135-unit income-restricted Bliss Towers and Columbia Apartments in Hudson. On Friday, July 14, it will hold a Tenant Appreciation Day from noon to 4 p.m. to celebrate the HHA’s 50th anniversary, its Executive Director Jeffrey Dodson announced. He predicted lots of food, entertainment and representatives of various service providers. “Even though this is not the housing we all want, it provides housing for many people,” he said.

One sponsor of the event will be Mountco Construction and Development Corporation, the HHA’s new partner for developing its property.

In 2021, the HHA’s governing Board of Commissioners decided to redevelop its current property, while perhaps acquiring and developing additional property. This project will probably require relocating the HHA’s existing residents.

Mary Decker, one of the board’s two tenant commissioners, reported her fellow HHA residents asking her when they will “have to start packing.”

“Not for a few years,” answered Revonda Smith, chair of the board.

Last winter the HHA issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to find a development partner. This spring it picked Mountco from the respondents. Now, Mr Dodson reported, the HHA is working with Mountco to develop a memorandum of understanding/agreement, in which Mountco will state what it plans to do and the HHS states that it agrees with the proposal.

Mr. Dodson said the HHA meets with Mountco practically every week. Only after finalizing and signing the Memorandum will Mountco and the HHA start drawing up development plans, Mr. Dodson added. And only after they have finished the plans and authorities have approved them can construction begin. At that point, Mr. Dodson said, “we’ll have a meeting ” with the tenants. If and when the tenants must move, Ms. Smith told Ms. Decker, “you’ll be the first to know.”

The federal government requires that if tenants are displaced they must be rehoused. But it also wants people to be “lease compliant,” said Mr. Dodson. “Lease compliance is important.”

Also at the meeting:

•Mr. Dodson said that he once lived in public housing, and, “We were a community.” When living in an apartment building, “you don’t have to like everyone there,” he said, but he added that tenants would need to live by the rules and act respectfully toward other community members. For example, after using the laundry room sink, he advised people to wipe it down for the next user. “It’s not like a personal house,” he said

•Ms. Decker reported that once Bliss elevators were both locked. Maintenance people had to monopolize one as part of necessary trash disposal

•The board agreed to extend its contract with the law firm of Whiteman Osterman and Hanna of Albany through June 30, 2024.

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