First, it was the birthplace of Hudson's most celebrated national hero, General William Jenkins Worth. Then, it was Hudson's oldest surviving house, the Robert Taylor House, at the head of Tanners Lane. Now, it is Hudson's most revered and beloved, most abused and reviled historic building, 400 State Street. All have been acquired by T. Eric Galloway, the man who, according to his own spokesperson, "doesn't like old things."
Tonight, the Board of Trustees of the Hudson Area Association Library, after an executive session that lasted slightly more than twenty minutes, reopened their regular monthly meeting to the public to propose and pass unanimously two resolutions.
The first authorized Theresa Parsons, president of the library board, or Mark Orton, vice president of the library board, to sign a contract to sell 400 State Street to Galvan Partners, LLC, for $476,500. The resolution was long and complicated, with lots of language that presumably will be part of the contract of sale. There was mention of restoring the building "to its Federal period grandeur" (What grandeur? The building was built in 1818 to be Hudson's poor house), suggesting that the library board is condoning what will doubtless be Galloway's plan to strip away all of the building's genuinely historic Victorian detail in favor of introducing new elements that imitate those that appear in the earliest surviving image of the building--this one, from Rural Repository, which shows the building as it looked during the period (1830-1850) when it was the Hudson Lunatic Asylum.
The resolution also contained language about the building being used for some purpose that benefits the community, which gives a wee bit of credibility to the rumor that the library board may have the expectation that Galvan Partners/Eric Galloway will restore the building and then give it back to the library.
The resolution also gives the library board the option, after they've sold the building, to lease it back from Galvan Partners for six months at a cost of $1 a month, to give them time to refit their new digs, which were identified in the second resolution that was passed unanimously tonight.
According to the second resolution, there are two possibilities for leasing alternative space. Both involve 217 Warren Street--Hudson Electrical Supply, owned by Hudson mayoral candidate Nick Haddad--and both are five-year leases with an option to renew for an additional five years. The first possibility is to lease the first and second floors of the building, excluding the unfinished space in the building's "west wing" (behind the little off-street parking lot), for $3,500 a month. The second possibility is to lease the first floor only, including the unfinished space, for $2,475 a month.
It is rumored that our current mayor, Rick Scalera, played a central role in working the deal that delivered one of Hudson's most significant historic buildings into the hands of someone whose actions to date have shown little respect for the integrity of Hudson's historic architecture. If that is true, it wouldn't be surprising. What is surprising, and for that reason all the more distressing, is the role that Haddad played in enabling the library board to carry out their plan to abandon the library's historic building.