At its August meeting, the Common Council passed a resolution requesting that Columbia County do a feasibility study on converting the building to the proposed new uses. The article reports that, when asked if the Common Council "would support the city paying for a third of the cost of the school," Mayor Rick Rector and Council president Tom DePietro said it would, which seems a little unfair since, based on the information provided in the article, the City wants to occupy only about a sixth of the building--15,000 of the 89,500 square feet.
Columbia County has a history of taking over old school buildings when the school district no longer has use for them. Two of the buildings the county is now looking to abandon--401 State Street and 610 State Street--were former school buildings. The county also once owned the Charles Williams School on North Third Street but swapped it for city-owned land on Columbia Street needed to construct the county office building at 325 Columbia Street. In 2010, after owning the building and letting it stand empty for five years or more, the City of Hudson sold it to the not-for-profit Second Ward Foundation.
If the current plan to acquire John L. Edwards were to be carried out, it would leave a number of buildings available for sale or reuse. It's important to consider what buildings they are and what impact new uses could have. It needs to be acknowledged, though, that everything that's been mentioned as possibly moving to JLE may not fit into the building. JLE is 89,500 square feet; the square footage of the buildings the county is looking to vacate totals 88,131 square feet; the City of Hudson wants 15,000 square feet for its offices and departments.
401 State Street
|Photo: Historic Hudson|
610 State Street
560 Warren Street
This building, designed by Warren & Wetmore, the architects responsible for the Columbia County Courthouse and involved in the design of Grand Central Station, was constructed as the home of the Hudson City Savings Institution. After two years of construction, the building opened in 1910. The county bought the building in 1998, when the Hudson City Savings Institution moved to its new building at 1 City Centre and morphed into Hudson River Bank & Trust, to be purchased a few years later by First Niagara Financial Group. The building now houses the Department of Motor Vehicles and the county clerk's office.
15 North Sixth Street
This building, located behind 560 Warren Street and connected to it by a skywalk over Prison Alley, was designed by local architect Lew Kremer and constructed soon after the county acquired the Warren & Wetmore bank building in 1998. This building houses the county treasurer's office and the Real Property Department.
520 Warren Street
The construction of this building was completed in 1907 for the National Hudson River Bank. It became Hudson City Hall in 1962, when city offices were moved from 327 Warren Street, Hudson's original city hall. The building houses the Common Council chamber, the offices of the mayor, Council president, city clerk, treasurer, and assessor, and the Department of Public Works.
18 South Third Street
This building started its life in 1853 as the Methodist Episcopal Church. It became the Hudson Boys Club in the 1930s, and is now the Hudson Youth Center. The offices of the Youth Department and recreational facilities, most notably a basketball court, are located in the building.
The purpose of this inventory of buildings is simply to make the point that the plan to fill the former John L. Edwards school with municipal offices is going to leave quite a few monumental and historically important buildings, two of them very visible on the city's main street, in need of new owners and new purposes. What those new purposes are is going to have an impact, by no means insignificant, on the city.
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