It’s try again for a new home

Abby Hoover/Columbia-Greene MediaThe Salvation Army provides emergency assistance, meals, and a food pantry to food-insecure residents of Columbia County.

HUDSON — The Salvation Army is still searching for a new home after the Galvan Foundation made other plans for the location promised nearly five years ago.

“We were under contract to have a brand new facility built out on lower Warren Street and the Galvan Foundation reneged on everything,” said Michael Molinski, a member of the Hudson Salvation Army Board of Directors. “They said, ‘That’s no longer on the table and we’re going to try to find a spot for you in the future.’”

The Salvation Army operates out of a 1,456 square foot building at 40 S. 3rd St. that was built in 1964.

“Galvan support for Salvation Army dates back to our first grant to Salvation Army of $10,000 in 2012, and later a $15,000 grant in 2014,” said Dan Kent, vice president of initiatives for the Galvan Foundation.

Galvan purchased the Salvation Army building in 2014 and rents the space to the Salvation Army for $1 per month.

“The Galvan Foundation has been very good to us, the next-to-nothing rent, they’re wonderful to us, but we really need a new space,” Salvation Army Director Darcy Connor said.

The foundation suggested the former Noecker 66 Auto Shop at 92 Union Turnpike, but Molinski said that is not a viable option.

“Noecker is an old automobile garage; who knows what kind of chemicals have been spilled or soaked into the walls and foundations and stuff there?” Molinski said. “Do you want people cooking and preparing food in a place like that? Probably not.”

The board has talked about renovating the building they are in, and temporarily moving across the street to the former ÖR Bar building that Galvan also owns, but no plans have been made, Molinski said.

“They’re helping us look for an alternative, but at this point we don’t have one and we really need one,” Connor said. “We’re outgrowing this space rapidly.”

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated Hudson’s population at 6,144 in 2018 and estimated 21.3 percent of residents live in poverty.

“We need to be in city limits because that’s where our people are,” Connor said. “A lot of people walk to us so we don’t want to be outside of the city.”

The Salvation Army has raised funds for a new kitchen for years, raising nearly $75,000, and Connor wants donors to know what is going on.

Bill Gerlach, a member of the Hudson Salvation Army Board of Directors, said putting off the project creates doubt with donors.

“It’s kind of left us in a tough spot because we’ve grown out of our current location,” Gerlach said. “We’re busting at the seams.”

The Salvation Army served 2,212 people in the month of January between meals, food pantry and vouchers, in addition to 748 lunches. The Hudson Salvation Army also serves residents throughout Columbia and Greene counties.

“We have an amazing community and there have been so many community donations toward our new building, our new kitchen, and I just want to make sure that people know we are still holding on to that money and we’re waiting until we get a new location to use it. I just want to make sure people know that money will not be used without getting a plan.

Connor said no major renovations were done to the space in the 10 years she has been there. A closet was added in place of a pulpit, and some work was done on the walk-in refrigerator.

In 2011, the walls and floors in the kitchen were repaired and appliances were relocated, which Gerlach called band-aid repairs.

“The community has been unbelievably generous to us,” Connor said. “As you can see, we serve a lot of people here and we want to be able to do more.”

Gerlach also stressed the importance of being within walking distance of the people the Salvation Army serves, especially in the cold weather. The space, along with being a food pantry, kitchen and office space, is where the organization stores the Thanksgiving turkeys and toys donated at Christmas.

“We are exploring a long-term plan for the property at 11 Warren St. and how it can help address the city’s housing needs and revitalization effort in the lower Warren Street and waterfront areas,” Kent said. “We are simultaneously seeking alternative locations for Salvation Army.”

On Monday, Galvan’s website read, “Galvan Foundation is creating a new home for Salvation Army at the southeast corner of Warren and Front Streets in Hudson, NY. The new space enables Salvation Army to expand their meal and food pantry programs, back to school program, and emergency assistance program.”

Abby Hoover is a reporter for the Register-Star. Contact her at (518) 828-1616 ext. 2500 or ahoover@registerstar.com.

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