HUDSON FALLS — Concerned resident Agnes Kearon attended the Village Board meeting on Monday night to gain support for her cleanup initiative.
Kearon invited other members of the Hudson Falls community to form a group last week in order to brainstorm ideas on how they can improve Hudson Falls, specifically to clean up trash around the village.
The group met this past Saturday at the Sandy Hill Arts Center to discuss ideas on how to move ahead with the initiative. Kearon said about 16 people showed up.
“There was a wide variety of people: teachers, students, musicians and more,” she added.
She originally coined the name for the group as “Let’s Make Hudson Falls Great Again,” but changed it after receiving negative feedback, especially from some of the Village Board members on Monday night.
“I think it’s fantastic that you want to help clean up because we, as a board, can’t do everything, but I completely disagree with the name,” village Trustee Michael Horrigan said.
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Horrigan said the messaging is negative and Hudson Falls has been and is great right now.
He said posting pictures of trash around the village creates a negative image.
Kearon said in a separate interview that she thinks it was necessary to do that to spark the conversation.
Kearon has since changed the name of the group to Hudson Falls Improvement Team, with the word “team” acting as an acronym for “together everyone accomplishes more.”
“I thought the discussion was positive overall,” Kearon said on Wednesday, referring to the Village Board meeting.
The discussion between Kearon and the board lasted around 30 minutes.
A point of contention arose when Kearon asked how people can be more motivated to clean up their front yards, with many littered with trash, furniture and other assorted storage.
“It is the responsibility of the homeowner to clean in front of their house,” one of the Village Board members said.
The village recently hired a code enforcement and quality of life officer, Hope-Rozatti Frettoloso. Wednesday was her third day.
The position was vacant for a year and then was filled by a part-time retiree until recently.
“I think Agnes’ initiative is wonderful,” Frettoloso said.
Frettoloso joined Kearon’s group, which met on Saturday.
“When I came into the office the first day, there were a stack of complaints,” she said, referring to reports of residents who have trash and other miscellaneous items in front of their homes.
She can give warnings to residents who do not abide by village code, and eventually fine them if they do not rectify the situation and clean up.
Frettoloso said she thinks an issue is lack of storage. Many of the houses that were turned into apartment complexes can’t accommodate multiple families that all live in the same building.
“Just the other day I saw a dumpster near a construction site. The dumpster was empty and garbage was surrounding it,” she added.
She mentioned that it takes personal initiative to help keep the village clean.
Another issue that was raised during the board meeting was how to go about cleaning part of River Street near the railroad.
Village officials said that the property near the railroad is private and the railroad company has threatened to file a lawsuit against the village in the past if people continue to walk near it.
A nearby company, Wheelabrator, which operates the trash-burning plant on River Street, offers to clean up the trash in the surrounding area every year during the spring.
“It’s a main artery leading to the town. It doesn’t look good for the village,” Kearon said.
Recently, however, two unknown people trespassed onto the private property to clean up the trash.
“I’m glad that it happened, but they could have been arrested,” Kearon said.
Kearon’s group will be getting together again on April 30 to clean the streets.
“The village will provide us with a dumpster,” Kearon said.
The group will most likely meet a week prior to April 30 to create a plan, Kearon said.
Drew Wardle is a reporter for The Post-Star. You can contact him at 518-681-7343 or email him at [email protected].