Parking space

Hudson City Street Seasonal Use Program Comes to an End | Columbia County

HUDSON — It may have gotten off to a late start, but the City of Hudson’s Seasonal Street Use Program has had success this year as it is scheduled to end on Monday.

“We obviously started a little late, but everyone really appreciates it,” said Alexandre Petraglia, president of the Hudson Business Coalition, which runs the program. “Restaurants have really appreciated having additional outdoor seating.”

The scheme was launched in 2020 to expand outdoor seating into parking spaces, using cement blocks and planters as barriers, for Warren Street businesses to entice customers with outdoor dining and shopping options air during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, the program started in May, but this year’s start date was pushed back as negotiations between the business coalition and the city dragged on in July.

In July, the city and the Hudson Business Coalition reached an agreement regarding the program.

Under the agreement, the business coalition agreed to reimburse the city for the use of each metered parking space occupied by a block. The fee schedule will require the group to pay the city $4 per day for each metered space used on a Saturday, 80 cents per day for each metered space used on a Thursday or Friday and no fee paid for spaces used on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

After the council expressed reservations about the reimbursement rate, the city’s assistant mayor, Michael Hofmann, provided the city council with estimates concluding that the city could benefit financially from the arrangement.

Despite the delay, Petraglia said pedestrian traffic on Warren Street increased as a result of the scheme.

“We have been able to see an increase in the number of visitors to the city thanks to the program,” said Petraglia.

This year, for the first time, Petraglia, with the help of Olivia Smith, braved the sweltering heat and humidity of July 19 to paint the program’s gray cement blocks bright colors after they were placed on Warren Street.

Petraglia changed the configuration of the overall planter installation this year. In an effort to prevent cars from hitting the concrete blocks while parking, he installed the planters, which are taller than the concrete blocks, to be perpendicular to the curb so drivers could see them, which which made parking easier, he said.

“Painting the blocks certainly helped prevent cars from hitting them this year, as did placing the planters perpendicular instead of parallel to the sidewalk,” added Petraglia.

Companies that participated in the program praised it while some added that the start of July was a bit problematic.

Culture Cream, 318 Warren St., participated in the seasonal program and changed its presentation. Its owner, artist Katiushka Melo, has created a beach atmosphere for her guests inside the street’s concrete blocks, with sand, lounge chairs and umbrellas.

“I thought it was awesome because it felt like an art installation opened up when we put it up,” Melo said. “Everyone really liked it. We brought the beach to Warren Street.

As the program wraps up on Monday, Melo said she plans to do something special to mark its end.

“We will be doing a little something special for our customers on Indigenous Peoples Day, October 10,” she added.

Anthony Marchionne, owner of 225 Warren Bar & Grill, 225 Warren St., noted the program’s late start, but added that the program was a success.

“It was great, but it started too late,” Marchionne said. “Overall it’s a great program and it’s brought in a lot of business.”

As the program season draws to a close, Marchionne began moving the tables and chairs for the clients out of the program space created by the concrete blocks and planters, leaving a few tables in front for the clients.

Like Marchionne, Paula Dinoris, general manager of American Glory Restaurant, 342 Warren St., commented on the program’s late start.

“I think it went really well, but it was late this year,” Dinoris said. “The first half of the summer was lost.”

Despite the delay, Dinoris said the program was good for business.

“I think people really like having a choice and they like eating out,” she said. “It also gives us more space to seat people.”

Although the decision to participate in the program next year rests with the restaurant owner, Dinoris said she would like to take advantage of the program next year.

“I think we plan to do it again next year, but that’s up to the owner,” she said.

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John Smith

The author John Smith