Wednesday, June 23, 2021

A New Chapter for HDC

The Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) held its monthly meeting yesterday. In his opening remarks, board president Bob Rasner talked about moving forward. HDC has sold two of its properties--a parcel on Mt. Merino and the Kaz site on Montgomery Street--and the income from those sales will provide the agency with "long-term financial stability." Rasner told the board:
We are now moving into the next phase of our task: building the economic and job future of our fellow citizens. To that end, we have started meeting with community leaders outside our board and government to join us in this effort. Those with whom we have spoken to date have accepted the challenge with enthusiasm and good ideas.
Going forward, the HDC will be working on a strategic plan for pursuing its mission of economic development. Rasner concluded his remarks with the quote from Steve Jobs: "Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."

Rasner provided an update on the sale of the Montgomery Street property, saying that the contract now needed to be reviewed by HDC, and it would be ready for presentation within a week. The identity of the buyer has still not been officially revealed.

At Tuesday's meeting, the board also elected a new member: John Friedman. Friedman's nomination was made by Nick Haddad and Christine Jones, who make up the board's Nominating Committee. In offering his support of the nomination, Phil Forman, who serves as treasurer of the HDC Board, said, "If I'm picking my fantasy team" for the work ahead, he would want "someone who knows Hudson, someone who knows the business community, and someone who is just flat out smart," and he would pick Friedman.

Mayor Kamal Johnson, who serves ex officio on the HDC Board, expressed a desire to see the board "reflect the community." Haddad said they had "reached out to a diverse population." Earlier, Haddad had explained that many people they had spoken with had turned down the opportunity because of the amount of time serving on the board required. Jones commented, "Many Hudson folks don't want to serve on a board like this." Johnson said he didn't want time to be an excuse and pointed to the Planning Board as an example of a board whose service took time but had diversity. He said he wanted to know whom they had spoken with, but Jones told him, "Most of the people who have said no don't want it revealed they have said no." Rasner conceded, "We are old, male, and white, and that needs to be changing."

When the vote was taken, there were nine votes in favor of Friedman joining the board, three opposed, and one abstention. Those present at the meeting and casting a vote were Rasner, Haddad, Forman, Jones, Paul Barrett, Steve Dunn, Martha Lane, Seth Rogovoy, Kristen Keck, Peter Schram, Susan Knauss, and the two ex officio members, Johnson and Council president Tom DePietro. Paul Colarusso, who is also a member of the HDC Board, was absent from the meeting.


  1. As HDC pivots from the KAZ property to focus on its core mission of workforce and economic development, John Friedman is an excellent addition to the board. He's shown great willingness to dive headfirst into the work, as shown during his tenure on the Common Council, understands the role of small businesses to the livelihood of members of the Hudson community, and, like other members of the current HDC Board, he realizes the importance of long-term planning to the overall economic health of the Hudson community. (Also, he's a hoot.)

    Perhaps most importantly, he's shown an aversion to  local governments becoming patronage machines. The last thing Hudson needs right now is another governmental body that operates like our current Tourism Board, with members doling out cash prizes to each other like participation trophies.

  2. In real estate, "sold" is a word applied when the check has cleared.That condition has not been met so those properties are "under contract".