Friday, February 11, 2011

Hudson in 1974

While doing research in old newspapers for the post on the weighted voted, I was struck by how much was happening in Hudson back in 1974. This was the Urban Renewal era, and 1974 was the year that would see the demolition of a great part of the Second Ward and the construction of Bliss Towers. Warren Street was suffering the loss of business to Greenport shopping centers, and Hudson taxpayers were struggling with a combined city, county, and school tax rate of $98.03 per $1,000 of assessed value.

At the beginning of 1974, Hudson had an energetic new mayor, Samuel T. Wheeler. Wheeler had a vision for Hudson, which he shared in this article that appeared in the Register-Star on January 31, 1974.

New Image Necessary Says Mayor

HUDSON--Hudson Mayor Samuel T. Wheeler said Hudson needs a new image, an aura of vigor, generated by officials whose faith in the city would restore the confidence of its people in local government.

"Hudson," Mayor Wheeler said, "is far from [the] dying urban center pessimists would have us believe. The sparks of vitality never have left us; our job is to see they are rekindled."

He said much of the image-building has been put into motion by an administration whose first weeks in office has [sic] stressed progress and improvement. Chief among Wheeler's goals is [sic] improved public safety, new equipment for the fire department, innovations and increased efficiency in the Police Department.

"Image building, however, is not all a dollars and cents proposition," Wheeler said. "Much of it can be done with enthusiasm, an item that never has appeared in a city budget."

Wheeler says enthusiasm is contagious, and predicted it would be passed down by the administration from department to department, merchant to merchant, industry to industry, taxpayer to taxpayer.

"The struggle to keep our cities alive," he said, "will be a continuous battle. We've won several skirmishes, and will continue to win if we apply enthusiasm to our fight."

"We should not dwell too long on those things we have lost, but redouble our efforts to replace them," he said.

"Hudson is fortunate," he said, "to have officials who care about the city, its citizens and taxpayers. If we can get the people to believe in government, our fight will have been won."

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