Friday, February 3, 2017

About the Youth Center

The Hudson Youth Center is located in the 1853 former church building at the corner of Third and Union streets.

The building was adapted for use as a recreation center in the 1930s. Until the 1990s, it was the Hudson Boys Club, then the Hudson Boys & Girls Club, and in the early years of this century, it was taken over by the City of Hudson and became the Hudson Youth Center.

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.


  1. I was on the board of the Boys & Girls Club for several years and tried to get my colleagues on the board to sell the building (then unofficially appraised at $800k by a local real estate dealer) so that we could move to a building and location more appropriate to a youth center -- and closer to where the kids actually live. That idea was put aside during the fight the city waged to take over the Club, but it should be revisited. It makes no sense for the Youth Center to be in that building in the center of a busy and thriving business district. -peter meyer

    1. I've never heard that proposal, and it gets added to our ammunition against the HDC for selling off the gift of the knitting mill right after the City said we'd hold onto it.

      That's not a comment on the private buyer of the mill, or on the successive owners either (who were planning their own youth center, of sorts), but on the private-public hybrid of the HDC which does its own thing with precious little knowledge about the City's actual needs.

      To stay with the knitting mill example, consider its corner parcel across Dock Street from the Wastewater Treatment Plant. This property was named in two previous sewer studies as the last remaining acreage in the City for the implementation of gray or green sewer separation alternatives, and then suddenly, almost without notice, the HDC sells it off. (This example alone deserves a great deal of thought.)

      Someone sent me this quotation today:

      "People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything."

  2. "People in the community with construction and building maintenance skills who might be willing to volunteer their time and talent to the Youth Center."

    Interesting concept, one that taught generations of youth who their grandparents were down at north dock, until the "developers" took over.

    We're being led by the conceptually chalanged, whose thirty year business model has resulted in negative growth.

  3. "the City hired Crawford & Associates"

    why ?

    is there no one else to hire in this place ?

    or do they get all the no bid contracts !