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Oakdale volunteers whittle down project list

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    A look at the eight design ideas for Oakdale Lake.
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    The community gathered Oct. 13 to discuss ideas for proposed improvements to Oakdale Lake. 53-99 N. 6th St, Hudson.
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    Columbia University’s Hudson Valley Initiative and Friends of Oakdale Lake invited the public to share feedback on eight design ideas for Oakdale Lake on Dec. 11.
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    Oakdale Lake Park is a 14-acre public park in downtown Hudson, the home of a five-acre spring-fed lake, a small sand beach and a half-mile of trails.
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    The Hudson Valley Initiative brings students and faculty at Columbia University together with community-based organizations to collaborate in developing, designing and creating spaces that address the needs of community-based design projects. The Hudson Valley Initiative has partnered with the Friends of Oakdale lake to re-envision Oakdale Lake in Hudson.
January 15, 2019 08:13 am Updated: January 15, 2019 08:23 am

HUDSON — Volunteers have narrowed down a list of eight projects they hope to tackle at Oakdale Lake as a way to bring more recreation to the park.

The Friends of Oakdale Lake, a group of city residents, banded together early in 2018 with the idea of increasing recreational opportunities at the park and bring attention to one of the city’s most underused resources.

The Friends have partnered with Hudson Valley Initiative to bring students and faculty at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation to develop a new concept design for the park, while integrating existing features.

The 14-acre public park in Hudson, located off North Sixth Street, includes the five-acre spring-fed lake, a small sand beach, a half-mile of trails, a small playground and a basketball court. The beach is used for Hudson Youth Center’s Summer Youth Program.

Once a bustling recreation spot with ice skating, barbecues and luaus, the lake has largely been limited to fishing and swimming in recent years. Its beach house has fallen into disrepair and shoreline fishing is restricted to one pier.

Two meetings were held on Oct. 13 and Dec. 11 to gauge public input and collect comments on possible improvements at the lake.

Although the plans are not finalized, the design ideas created a vision of what might be possible at the lake, said Caroline Lee, communications director for the Friends of Oakdale Lake.

“We hope to finalize those ideas and then work with the city of Hudson come up with some strategies on how to implement them,” Lee said.

Among the concepts:

n Beach House and Gate: Renovating the bathrooms; bathroom access from outside. Concession bar and seating. Changing the North Sixth Street entrance for pedestrian, bicycles and emergency only.

n A main vehicle entrance moved to the southwest area of the lake from North Seventh Street.

n A Lunch Point: A new pavilion and boat ramp and multi-purpose lawn between the basketball courts and beach.

n Clearer Waters: Aquatic plants on edges and floating islands. Also, a fountain and aeration system.

n A Forest Classroom: Improve trail conditions. Add small stations to play, observe, rest and learn. Install infrastructure for fishing. Install better access from Spring Street. This is proposed for the eastern end of the lake.

n Dream Playground, including bathrooms and storage, canopy for summer camp, bicycle parking. This would be located on the northeast side of the lake.

n A Picnic Grove: A new entrances established on the northwest end of the lake, with barbecue, picnic tables, a new dock for swimming. A special section for birthday parties.

n Diving Board: long deck along N. Sixth Street. A toddler water play area and a plant buffer.

The plan also includes ice skating equipment, warming hut, operate beach house in the winter. The ideas are posted on the Friends of Oakdale Lake website: friendsofoakdalelake.com.

The ideas have sparked some excitement among officials.

“I think there are a lot of exciting ideas being discussed which is giving our community a great chance to re-evaluate what we are doing at Oakdale, and I look forward to seeing some of the those things come to fruition,” Mayor Rick Rector said Monday.

The lake is located in the 5th Ward, which is represented by Alderman Dominic Merante and Alderwoman Eileen Halloran.

Among the design ideas that stand out to Merante is the rerouting of the entrance to the lake. In the past, Merante has advocated slowing traffic on Sixth Street.

“One big priority is the renovation of the Oakdale beach house for ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act compliance] and programmable use,” Merante said. “And the redesign of the pavilion for ADA compliance.”

Merante said he wants to see the playground updated as well, and likes the idea of a nature classroom concept.

“There are so many great concepts and ideas that will no doubt polish the city’s gem we call Oakdale,” he said.