By their very structural design, old church buildings are a challenge to maintain. Since taking responsibility for the building more than a decade ago, the City of Hudson has made substantial investments in the building. Between 2005 and 2012, at least $800,000 in grant money was spent to replace the roof and install new windows. In 2012, the City hired Crawford & Associates to do a structural assessment of the building. The study found the building to be in "good to fair overall condition" but identified four areas of concern. The most critical of those concerns were cracks in the horizontal timbers that span the heavy roof trusses and support the roof rafters. Corrective action to address this issue was taken in 2014, at a cost of $35,000. Last year, the City applied for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for the maximum $400,000--$300,000 of which was to be used for "stabilizing and reconditioning" the Youth Center. Unfortunately, the City's 2016 CDBG application was not successful.
The condition of the Youth Center was brought up on Wednesday night at the Common Council Youth & Aging Committee. The conversation began when Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward), who is a member of the committee, made reference to comments about a picture someone posted on Facebook showing a hole in the wall of the gym on the second floor of the building. Prefacing his statement by saying, "November, December, we were limping along," Youth Commissioner Ken Hollenbeck told the committee he had spoken with the person who had posted the picture. Nick Zachos, the new Youth Director, suggested "a checklist of things that should be fixed" at the Youth Center needed to be created and pointed out that the director (speaking of himself) "used to be a contractor." Zachos went on to say that it was very clear to him, after two weeks of being on the job at the Youth Center, that "we need to consider what to do with the building." He opined that the building needed "a half-time maintenance person just keeping up with things."
Alderman Abdus Miah (Second Ward), who chairs the Youth & Aging Committee, proposed that the committee hold its next meeting at the Youth Center so the members could see for themselves the issues being discussed. Garriga noted that there were people in the community with construction and building maintenance skills who might be willing to volunteer their time and talent to the Youth Center. It was agreed that the committee's next meeting, which takes place on Wednesday, March 1, would be held at the Youth Center. At 5 p.m., the group will tour the building; at 5:30 p.m., they will hold their regular monthly meeting in the all-purpose room at the Youth Center. The public is invited to be part of both the tour and the meeting.
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