Amanda Purcell Columbia-Greene Media, May 10, 2018
HUDSON — The Everett Nack Estuary Education Center is tentatively scheduled to open this fall, Sloop Club Director Nick Zachos said Monday.
A joint site plan review application from the city and club was approved in April by the Hudson Planning Board to establish an education center on city-owned land at the southernmost edge of the waterfront park, Zachos said.
With the site plan approval, Zachos announced Monday that work on the center can begin this summer.
The center will be constructed from a recycled shipping container, which will be maintained and operated by the Sloop Club. The land would be owned by the city, which is a partner in the project.
“The thought process behind the center was to create a physical place to get people access to and learn about the river,” Zachos said.
The plan is to use a recycled shipping container as the main building, which would be outfitted with windows, doors and powered by solar panels.
The building would be retrofitted to hold aquariums and other educational equipment. Zachos described it as a “plug and play” facility in which educational and environmental groups can use the center for daytime programs.
The Sloop Club is developing a specific address for the site, but plans to dub the location Railroad Point, Zachos said.
“The Sloop Club has dreams of doing further development on the site, including developing the pier and a boat-building center, but this is the only project that is being funded right now,” Zachos said.
The idea has been in the works for the last five years, Zachos said. In 2015, the city was awarded $91,780 grant from the DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program in 2015 to fund the project. The cost of the project will likely equal the grant, Zachos said.
The DEC grant was set to expire this month but the city was approved for an extension.
A fire at the Kite’s Nest’s Riverloft building, 57 N. Front St., on Jan. 18, 2017, where the Sloop Club was storing building materials for the project, delayed work, Zachos said.
The fire destroyed several commercial doors and windows valued at nearly $20,000. Those materials were donated to the club for the education center, Zachos said.
Three people spoke in favor of the project at the meeting on March 8. The public hearing was then extended to April 12. Philmont resident Patrick Doyle said at the March 8 meeting of the Hudson Planning Board that the city was seeing the project from the Hudson River’s point of view instead of the land’s.
The project was approved after the public hearing formally adjourned April 12.
“In the next couple of months we will probably have a community forum where we will talk about it to let people know what the next stages will be,” Zachos said. The meeting date has not been scheduled, Zachos said.
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.