GREENPORT — Will it be affordable housing, a homeless shelter or a transient motel?
A plan to renovate the former 25-room Sunset Hotel in Greenport by the Galvan Foundation is expected to raise concerns among residents and officials ahead of a county board meeting to be held next week.
The Columbia County Board of Supervisors will hold a meeting Jan. 16 at 5 p.m. at 401 State St. to outline Galvan’s plans for the site. Galvan wants to renovate and rename the Sunset the Galvan Civic Motel.
The Galvan Foundation is partnering with the Columbia County Department of Social Services. Social Services did not respond to multiple calls for comment Wednesday and Thursday. Social Services Commissioner Bob Gibson will speak at the Jan. 16 meeting.
“The county has been placing folks in motels throughout the county and we’ve been working collaboratively with the Columbia County Department of Social Services to identify a solution where folks will be able to have access to high-quality rooms and supportive services in a location that’s close to employment opportunities and the services that are available in the city of Hudson,” Dan Kent, Galvan’s vice president of initiatives said Thursday.
Greenport Town Supervisor Kathleen Eldridge did not respond to calls for comment Thursday. Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell said he is waiting for the Jan. 16 meeting to learn more before about the project before commenting.
Hudson 4th Ward Supervisor Linda Mussmann had several questions for the Galvan Foundation, which is owned by Eric Galloway. Mussmann referred to the project as a homeless shelter, but Kent said that is not the case.
“[Galloway] seems to be the only person in this entire community that offers his endless resources to help our community out, and I have a lot of questions about that,” Mussmann said. “Believe me, we need a homeless shelter. Is this the right place? Is the expert who knows how to provide all these things? I don’t know. The transparency issue is key to having these things, I think, the public needs to be let in on it before the door is shut.”
Mussmann does not oppose the project, she said, but wants more information on how Galvan was chosen to develop the property. She also criticized Galvan for buying and warehousing empty buildings in the city of Hudson.
“Mr. Galloway has a tremendous amount of property here and we’re talking about homeless issues and the homeless and the fact we need housing, well, why are all these buildings being bought and warehoused in Hudson?” Mussmann asked. “What’s the plan?”
Kent said Galvan is working to create affordable housing.
“Galvan Foundation currently operates 180 affordable housing units in Columbia County, and we’re in the process of developing an additional 20 units,” he said. “We do own some properties that are in such severe disrepair that we’re currently unable to rent out to folks, but we’ve been really aggressively developing affordable housing in the buildings that we do own.”
Mussmann is trying to raise public awareness of the actions of the Board of Supervisors and hopes people will attend the Jan. 16 meeting to learn more about the proposal.
“One of the reasons I ran for this position was because I rarely ever knew what was going on at the Board of Supervisors,” she said. “I’m trying to raise awareness.”