Wednesday, August 8, 2012

As Promised . . .

Mayor William Hallenbeck's laundry list of projects and achievements, begun last week, continues today in the Register-Star: "MY VIEW: Mayoral rundown, part two." A couple of the items inspire comment. In item 18, the mayor says he is excited that the plan for a food market in Hudson "has passed all the committees . . . [and] is moving toward the building stages." Does the mayor know that Galvan has postponed work on the project, and the market isn't expected to open until spring or early summer 2013? Item 20 contains this somewhat unsettling news for those who value old buildings: "We have the Code Enforcement Department out . . . determining what buildings are dangers to the public and should be condemned."


  1. "Item 20 contains this somewhat unsettling news for those who value old buildings: 'We have the Code Enforcement Department out ... determining what buildings are dangers to the public and should be condemned.'"

    I've posted the below information from Historic Boston's website before. We've worked with them on two of their projects and consulted on others. It is an approach to preservation that works and a model that could be replicated in Hudson:

    Historic Boston Incorporated is a non-profit preservation and real estate organization that rehabilitates historic and culturally significant properties in Boston’s neighborhoods so they are a useable part of the city’s present and future.

    HBI works with local partners to identify and invest in historic buildings and cultural resources whose re-use will catalyze neighborhood renewal. HBI acquires and redevelops historic structures and provides technical expertise, planning services and financing for rehabilitation projects.

    HBI projects demonstrate that preserving historic properties is economically viable and that they can be useable and functioning assets in a community.

  2. Sounds good. Who will fund it?

    -- Jock Spivy

  3. Hi Jock,

    I've asked HBI's executive director, Kathy Kottaridis, to provide some specific details on funding. In essence, fund raising is a big piece. Boston is flush with individuals who believe in preservation in their community. More importantly, they'll invest in it. Is Hudson comparable, on a relative scale? I don't know.

    Projects may also be funded by a lending institution. If HBI can get their hands on an 1807 timber frame structure for $150k (back taxes), invest $250k in restoring it, and sell it for $500k, that's $100k profit. That money can be used for overhead and expenses AND as operating capital for the next project.

    The buildings must be worth what it costs to restore them afterward. Can the Hudson market sustain such development? I believe it can. In the past year I've been impressed by how many people know about and love Hudson -- its architecture, history, shopping dining -- it is amazing.

    Another model to consider is Massachusetts Community Preservation Act. Funds are raised locally through imposition of a voter-authorized surcharge on local property tax bills of up to 3%. Once a community has adopted the CPA, it is required to establish a local Community Preservation Committee, composed of from five to nine members, to administer the CPA program locally.

    Communities may spend their CPA funds for projects in the following broad programmatic areas: Open Space, Historic Preservation, Affordable Housing and Outdoor Recreation. The CPA requires each adopting community to annually appropriate, or reserve for future appropriation, at least 10% of its estimated annual CPA fund revenues for open space projects (excluding recreational uses), 10% for historic preservation projects, and 10% for affordable housing projects. The remaining funds each year can be used on projects in any CPA programmatic area, or for recreation projects. The CPA statute describes in detail allowable uses of the funds within the four broad programmatic purpose areas, determining what projects are eligible for CPA funding.

    New taxes are never popular but, if private development isn't doing the trick, who will?

  4. Good luck. My impression was that Hudsonians feel overtaxed as is.

    -- Jock Spivy

  5. Understood.

    How about the first part of my suggestion in which I describe the way Historic Boston operates? Could that work?

    BTW folks in Boston aren't 'historically' fans of taxes either.