|Revised design for the building, submitted to the HPC on Friday|
Rick Scalera, perennial mayor of Hudson and now special adviser to the Galvan Initiatives Foundation, which owns the building and is preparing it to lease to Filli's Fresh Market, put himself squarely in the camp advocating for special treatment when he brought the market's principals to the HPC workshop on Friday and made a point of introducing them to the members of the commission.
Then there are those who believe, as HPC architect member Jack Alvarez expressed it on Friday, that the corner of Fifth and Warren is a prominent site on Hudson's main street, and for that reason, any building proposed for that site demands a high level of review. The use of the building should not prejudice the HPC or dissuade it from a thoughtful review of the building's compatibility with its surroundings. Two centuries of Hudson history amply demonstrate that businesses and uses of buildings change, but the buildings remain.
Although some may want to make it seem so, support for Filli's Fresh Market and support for historic preservation in Hudson are not mutually exclusive. We can have a vibrant mix of businesses on Warren Street--including a grocery store selling a variety of nutritious food at affordable prices--and still protect the architectural integrity and historic character of the street. Those qualities--architectural integrity and historic character--are, after all, what attracted most of the businesses to Hudson in the first place.
The current situation calls to mind a story from Hudson's past. In the late 1960s, a supermarket chain wanted to demolish virtually everything in the 400 block of Warren Street and Union Street in order to build, in the heart of the city, a supermarket surrounded by a giant parking lot. The plan, mercifully, was foiled by the owners of this stretch of houses in the 400 block of Union Street, who refused to sell their homes so they could be demolished to make way for a parking lot.
Is there anyone who doesn't shudder to think what Hudson would be like today if that plan had been carried out?