Now the space once occupied by the school is owned by the City of Hudson and is used by Columbia County as a parking lot.
More than ten years ago, the City was willing to let the County use the space in exchange for "developing" it as a parking lot--asphalt, landscaping, that sort of thing. Although no development of any sort has ever occurred, the County is still using the space as a parking lot, and it isn't clear if the County is compensating the City in any way for the use of the space.
Back in November 2012, the Common Council decided to close a gap in the 2013 city budget with "anticipated revenue" from the sale of this property and the Dunn building on the waterfront. For better or worse, neither of those properties was sold in 2013. The City seems to have closed the budget gap in some other way.
At last night's informal Common Council meeting, a resolution was introduced to sell the property at Fourth and State streets. The resolution was the initiative of the mayor, who outlined the reason and goal for selling the property in this way:
WHEREAS, the subject real property at the corner of 4th Street and State Street is surplus property that is no longer needed or desired for any public purpose of the City of Hudson, and
WHEREAS, there is a need for quality housing in the City of Hudson for those seeking to remain and/or relocate to the City of Hudson, and
WHEREAS, sale of the subject surplus real property at the corner of 4th Street and State Street, with a condition that the highest bidder at public auction be required to complete construction of housing on the subject parcel within 18 months of delivery of the deed, will promote access to housing with the City of Hudson. . . .In the discussion of the resolution, the aldermen's concerns seemed mostly that the language of the resolution lacked the specificity needed to achieve the desired goal. Alderman Nick Haddad (First Ward) pointed out that someone could buy the property and build a single-family home there. Alderman Bart Delaney (Fifth Ward) asked if the mayor was "looking for multiple dwellings." There was also concern about the City's liability for possible contamination, since the school building was demolished by the City, and legend has it that the demolition was done by bulldozing the structure into its own cellar and fuel oil tanks were left in the ground. The entire discussion is ably recounted by John Mason in today's Register-Star: "Plan to sell parking lot raises eyebrows." In the end, Council president Don Moore referred the resolution to the Economic Development Committee.
On the issue of selling the property for development, it does seem odd that, in a city that frets about its shrinking population, lack of affordable housing, and limited development potential, the entire west side of North Fourth Street, from Columbia to State stands vacant. Before any decisions are made about if or how to develop it, however, it would be a good thing to extend the local historic district designation, which now stops at Columbia Street, to include the block between Columbia and State and make the link between the Warren Street Historic District and the individually designated 400 State Street complete.
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