Wednesday, March 27, 2024

The Future of JLE

Last night, Christine Jones, president of Hudson Development Corporation (HDC), and the rest of the HDC Executive Committee (Nick Haddad, vice president; Phil Forman, treasurer; Paul Barrett, secretary) were at the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting to pitch their vision for the redevelopment of the abandoned John L. Edwards school building, which has been standing empty since 2018. The presentation can be viewed here, beginning at 45:41. 

Today, HDC announced that the Board of Education passed a resolution accepting HDC's offer to purchase the building. The following is the press release issued by HDC:
The Hudson City School Board accepted an offer from the Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) to purchase and develop the John L. Edwards School as a centralized community hub for Hudson residents.
The Hudson Development Corporation (HDC)--a nonprofit with the mission of promoting, supporting and growing Hudson’s businesses and workforce--was invited to present their vision for the vacant school at last night’s School Board meeting in the high school library, followed by questions. 
“We were enthusiastic about sharing our thinking for this terrific midcentury building,” Christine Jones, Board President of HDC, said. “Our mission to foster sustainable economic growth and boost the well-being of our Hudson community fit completely with the possibilities that this project presents.” 
The JLE building has been vacant since 2018 when elementary students were moved to the Montgomery Smith expanded campus. Using the property’s feasibility study--commissioned by City Council President Tom DePietro--as a blueprint, HDC envisions the building and grounds as a connective community center. 
“Repurposing this vacant school not only preserves a community asset with historical and cultural significance to Hudson residents, it provides ample space for the youth center, city offices, educational programs, job training, social services, daycare and a meeting place for local organizations.” Jones said. “Having the School Board’s favorable decision, HDC will now begin a six-month evaluation of the building’s existing operating systems and necessary upgrades to reach current safety standards. We are excited to begin conversations with community leaders and potential tenant partners about their specific goals and space requirements.” 
HDC Treasurer, Phil Forman adds, “This due diligence period will allow HDC to prioritize critical investments the organization will undertake to bring a great building back to serving Hudson in the shortest amount of time.”
Part of the vision being promoted by HDC is having all city government offices and the Youth Center relocate to the building, a building the City would not own. Jones admitted in her presentation, "We haven't talked them into it yet." Part of the scenario, as Jones presented it to the school board, involves the City selling the current City Hall at 520 Warren Street; the Youth Center on South Third Street; and the former Washington Hose firehouse at the entrance to Promenade Hill. 

Were the City to sell these three buildings, and they went on the tax rolls, Jones told the school board, it would result in an increase of $30,000 in annual school tax revenue--a significant amount for a school district with an annual budget of $56 million.


  1. This is an interesting initiative and well worth the city exploring. However, $30,000 out of a $56,000,000 budget can hardly be called significant. It is less than 0.05%, which is far less than one one-thousandth of the budget – a rounding error, really. Perhaps you meant to say "insignificant"?

  2. Finally " day care " has found a place at the table. A section of a former school seems to be a no-brainer for a quality, affordable day care for our children.
    Several years ago plans were drawn up , similar to HDC proposals. Those plans should be a first look at the proposed project. A " jump start ".
    I thank the HDC for adding day care to the mix. No one else has.

  3. Isn't 502 Union also supposed to be a "community hub" for Hudson residents, whatever that means? How many "community hubs" do we need in a community that seems to be thinning out?

  4. Seems a bit odd to approve a sale based on a proposal with no committed partners. The City hasn't agreed to any of it, none of the potential collaborators are officially on board...this is an idea, not a proposal.

  5. It would be great to see the site utilized, but I don't see how this works in the current government climate, where many different jurisdictions are not working together, and at worse, working against each other. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the mayor and council president not fans of the HDC? I don't see them going along with this. Also, this kinda dashes the hopes of many that hope the county would reconsider 11 Warren and use JLE instead. And what will HCSD do with the $3M+? Probably stash it away in their coffers like a dragon's treasure while at the same time crying poverty for more state funds and local property taxes. Never mind the student population keeps dropping.

    1. If I recall correctly, any proceeds from the sale of JLE are required to be used by HCSD to service bond debt, though Carole's recollection is sharper than mine.
      And yes, the mayor and the Common Council President seem constitutionally incapable of working humbly to the betterment of the Hudson community. The citizens of Hudson should most definitely push for charter change to reorganize city government, or at the bare minimum organize to find better elected officials. At this point, the fault lies as much with lazy voters who refuse to make better decisions as it does with the electeds and their enablers.

  6. Perhaps you should run for an elected seat John.

  7. Allow me to assure you- I appreciate sarcasm.