Thursday, October 22, 2009

Common Council #3 Economic Development - Press Release 10/19/09

Hudson Common Council President candidate Don Moore said Wednesday that the City of Hudson needs to immediately establish “an economic development action plan” to create jobs, expand businesses, and “take charge of our future, since the County plans show almost no interest in improving the economic opportunities in Hudson.”
Moore challenged the County’s economic development arm, The Columbia Hudson Partnership, to show where it has made a difference “either in what Hudson has to offer the economic development of the County or what Hudson needs to strengthen its standard of living.”
“Despite the economic recession, the County’s response is a $50,000 study released a year ago called ‘Assessing Opportunities for Economic Development: Building Businesses for Tomorrow in Columbia County’ that nearly everyone in Hudson, for very good reason, dismissed out of hand,” said Moore.  The ‘Baldwin Bell Green’ report, was “notable for two things,” Moore said.  “First, it hung economic development on bringing The Big Apple Circus to the County every year, and second it never once mentioned the City of Hudson, let alone suggested a role for the City in the County’s economic development,” he said.
Moore said that the plan he proposes, working with the Mayor, Treasurer, and Common Council would “undertake a rapid series of discussions with community and business leaders in Hudson on the creation of a new ‘Hudson development authority’.  The new City unit would identify business and job creation opportunities for Hudson residents, and facilitate workforce services like child care, transportation, and training.
“For over a decade, government officials and hundreds of people have worked hard on plans for Hudson’s future”, Moore explained.  He cited the Vision Plan; the Comprehensive Plan; the 2008 Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, a new waste water treatment system that meets all the Federal and State requirements of Hudson’s Long Term Control Plan for the river.  “Now it is time to put those opportunities into action,” Moore said.  “There were many good ideas and proposals that haven’t been implemented that should be and other ones that should be revised to meet the needs of the present.  We need to organize ourselves around the common objectives of business growth and revenue generation in Hudson,” Moore said.
“The leadership of Hudson must take charge of the City’s economic development because it is absolutely clear that the current County mechanisms are inadequate and unacceptable,” Moore said.  “Go on the Columbia Hudson Partnership web site.  I challenge anyone to find the listings of the buildings, large or small, currently for sale in Hudson, or the mention of a port, or of a developing waterfront recreation area,” he said.  The only mention of Hudson is a one sentence description of the City as “once a busy port city frequented by whalers,” Moore pointed out.  “Is this how Hudson will gain a competitive edge?” he asked. 
The candidate outlined these tasks, many of which can occur at the same time:
·         The Common Council and the Mayor hold discussions with city leaders and other experts on creating a new city initiative with programs to support a range of economic development for small and large businesses. This effort would involve agencies and organizations like the Hudson Development Corporation, the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Hudson Housing Authority, the Hudson City School District, the Columbia Green Workforce New York Office, and nonprofit service groups whose support services are targeted on improving employment opportunities and training.
·         Identify all the current real estate opportunities such as commercial buildings for sale or rent and their potential for adaptive reuse, potential uses of the deep water port, and access to rail lines and major transportation arteries.
·         Develop a thorough, 21st century marketing plan that presents economic opportunities in Hudson and the quality of life in our small but diverse and entrepreneurial city that make it a great place to live and to establish or expand a business.  Get the word out about the quality of life in Hudson including our openness to diversity and our family friendliness, our arts and cultural institutions, our first class medical center, our rapidly improving school system, and the proximity of in-city and near-city recreational and educational facilities, like the Henry Hudson Riverfront and Charles Williams Parks, and our Hudson Library.  All of these together show the freshness, breadth, and energy of the communities that make Hudson hum.
·         Build up housing and other support services that all economic development experts acknowledge are critical to a stable and enthusiastic local workforce.  “A city that can come together to replace Bliss Towers and transform the housing opportunities for its residents, a city that looks out for its families and children will be known as a city that knows how to take care of its own and to take care of business.
 “Accomplishing our goals during difficult times will take new structures, new levels of cooperation, and new direction.  Hudson can have all this,” Moore argued, “with the Democratic leadership of Mayor Scalera, Treasurer Halloran, and renewed vigor and focus in the Common Council.”