Thurs, Feb 9, 7:30 at Barlow Community Center. Speakers to Discuss Past, Present, Future of Ravenna Arsenal at February Meeting.
1927 Building and Property Knowledge Hub
Are we turning a page, or closing a book?
Welcome! You’re just in time!
While the Hudson City School District is eager to turn the page on the 1927 Building, we hope you will join us in preventing the District from closing the book on this property and making an irrevocable decision about its future.
By visiting this site, you’ve taken the first step in determining the fate of the 1927 Building and the three acres of land on which it sits. It could soon be sold to a developer. The result? Our community will lose control of an asset paid for and maintained by taxpayers—forever. In its place? An ill-conceived development sitting in the heart of our Historic District that proposes to demolish three quarters of the building.
Now that you’re here, take a minute to review – and share – the resources we’ve put together to help educate our community.
Click the links below to jump to that section:
Wait. This could be voted on next month? How did we get here?
The bottom line: In May, the Hudson Board of Education intends to make recommendations for the disposition of the 1927 Building and land. On the table is a proposal to sell the property and the building to a private developer. The plan? Demolish three-quarters of the historic building and build 13 townhouses and condominiums behind the façade.
This type of residential development doesn’t belong in our Historic District. Not only does it violate the original deed covenant for the use of the property, it also threatens the historical integrity of our community.
Think about it—one vote, in a matter of minutes, that could permanently change our Historic District’s landscape. Given the impact of this decision on the property’s future, we’re simply asking the Board of Education to make a decision that will protect this important asset for the good of the entire community, not that of a private developer. Let’s not make the wrong decision. Ask the Board of Education to say “no” to development. We need to make the right decision today.
The FAQs: Answers to frequently asked questions
What could be sold?
The 1927 Building—former home to high school and middle school students for almost 100 years—and the three acres of land it sits on.
Included in the sale would be the 1893 “Saywell House”, a former residence that has been used as a maintenance office by the School District.
The parcel contains frontage on both Oviatt Street and Elm Street.
Who would buy it?
Currently there is a proposal from an outside developer that would demolish three-quarters of the building, to start, and build 13 townhouses and condominiums.
Who’s selling it?
The decision to sell sits with the Hudson City School District, specifically the Board of Education. Unless the Board rejects the development plan, the developer could be given the go-ahead as early as May.
For how much?
An appraisal prepared in 2021 at the request of the School District estimated the combined value of the entire three acres with the 1927 Building and the Saywell House at $1.3 million. If sold as vacant land the appraisal concluded that the market value for the entire parcel would be $1,050,000.
Yet, a draft Letter of Intent created on behalf of the School District in May 2021 proposes to sell the entire property, including the 1927 Building and the Saywell House, for only $250,000. Although this proposal reflects the fact that the School District would not incur any demolition costs as part of the sale, it is still below the appraised valued. In fact, the appraisal notes that if it were to be sold separately, the Saywell House could be worth $240,000 on its own.
Is this land protected?
Originally, it was. The land was gifted to the school with a deed restriction stating that it could only be used for public school purposes.
What could the property be used for if the School District sold it?
The parcel is Zoned District 3, an Outer Village Residential Neighborhood. Detached single-family residential density is limited to five units per acre. Conditionally permitted uses in this district include assisted living facilities, duplexes, model homes, townhomes, day care facilities, places of worship and schools.
The 2021 Appraisal Report noted that “if the property would be rezoned to allow a higher density, the Highest and Best Use could change to redevelopment of the site for residential use. A higher density allowance would increase the value of the land. The most likely buyer/user would be a speculative developer.”
Would these condos and townhomes be built for public school purposes?
What could this do to the historic integrity of the community?
The 1927 Building has been named to Preservation Ohio’s List of Ohio’s Most Endangered Historical Sites (2021). One of only 11 buildings on the most recent list, statewide. Selling the property for development not only jeopardizes the cultural landscape of our community, it also impacts the aesthetics of the Historic District.
Why would it be sold?
There is no one real reason. Some say revenue. Some say to meet housing needs. And while these are both valid reasons, three acres and the historical degradation of our community don’t seem to be a fair exchange.
What should be done with the property?
Although we wish the building could be saved, that might not be possible. Time and money have proven to be an adversary. We sense the Hudson School Board wants to move on.
If the building can’t be saved, let’s save the land and honor the intent of the original gift.
Save the property so that it can be enjoyed for years to come by both students and members of the community. It’s an asset that can never be replaced. Save the historical aesthetic that makes this community so unique. Don’t lose the chance to preserve a cultural legacy. Honor its past.
The caliber of Hudson’s schools is one of the primary reasons families choose to move here. But just as important, families choose to move here because of Hudson’s unique character, anchored by its Historic District. The 1927 Building and the land on which it sits are pivotal to the vitality of Hudson’s Historic District.
What can I do?
There are several ways you can help. First is by simply becoming aware of the situation we’re facing. Second is to make your feelings known by reaching out to our School Board to share your concern for moving forward with this. Get involved. Review our thought starters or create your own—but just make your voice heard by contacting your Board. Lastly, share this page with friends. The more people who share their voice, the more impact we will have.
What happens if there isn’t a school on that property?
You may have heard some of the arguments being made for why this property should be sold.
“We’re growing—it’s time for more housing!”
“The financial advantages are too great to pass up!”
“This an opportunity to preserve and expand at the same time.”
Demolishing three quarters of the 1927 Building is not historic preservation. And perhaps there is a need for more housing in Hudson, but not here!
Take a closer look at the arguments claiming the need for additional revenue for the School District too. Hudson City School District (HCSD) bonds are Aa1 rated, an indication of their credit quality and the financial strength of the School District. Per Moody’s Investors Service (May 2021), the mean available fund balances for public school districts across the United States were 23.7% in 2019. Yet Hudson’s percentage was above 50% for the same period. With Hudson’s assessed property valuation over $1.2 billion dollars, the additional revenue provided by the proposed condos and townhouses would be insignificant. Yet the cost to the neighborhood’s aesthetic value could be enormous.
Why not save the three-acre parcel for the School District’s future? It’s an asset that can never be replaced with its prime, central location—a part of nearly a 100-acre campus. In our opinion, the risks of transferring the property to a developer far exceed the benefits.
The reality is that as far as plans for this property and the 1927 Building are concerned, there are a number of options that can still be explored. All the more reason not to move forward in turning the property over to a developer and losing control over the land and its future.
Beyond what this will do to our historical landscape, the fact remains that the property was deeded to the School District solely for public school purposes. Whether that’s preserving the building, celebrating the educational legacy and historical value of the land only or simply protecting the historical integrity of the residential areas adjacent to our schools, we should not make the wrong decision now regarding this property. Join us in asking the School Board to vote no on development. Help the Board make the right decision.
I don’t want to sell this land! Who should I talk to? And what can I say?
You’re here, reading about how you can help. That’s the first step. If you want to take the next step, we’ve listed contact information for the School Board members below. You can email them to share your thoughts on why you feel they should vote no to development next month.
It’s important to note that this should be done respectfully and politely. We’re simply asking that they vote no so a better option for the future of the property can be considered. We hope you’re able to reference the information on this site to compose a note of concern. However, if you are unsure of what to say—or just don’t have the time to say it—we have composed a form letter below you can reference or use in full to share your thoughts with the Board.
Hudson School Board Letter – Option #1
To the Hudson School Board:
I recently learned the Hudson School Board might be voting in May on a decision to sell the property currently occupied by the historic 1927 Building.
I understand the Board is considering selling the property to a developer that intends to build multiple residential units on the land. Not only does this ignore the original intent of the property, but it will also permanently change the historical integrity of the surrounding neighborhood and community.
Given the significance of this decision, I respectfully ask the School Board to vote against selling this property to a developer. I personally do not feel that we have explored all options available to us and the long-term effects this decision could have on our community. Taking a little extra time to assess all the choices is worth not making the wrong decision.
I am not entirely opposed to selling—I’m opposed to selling when we only have one option. The only option is never the best option. Can we make sure we’re just not taking anything that comes along at the risk of losing everything?
Hudson Resident Name
Hudson School Board Letter – Option #2
Dear Hudson Board of Education Members:
Through the efforts of the Hudson Heritage Association, I recently learned that the Hudson School Board may vote soon on selling the historic 1927 school building and its land. I feel this seems rushed, especially selling to a developer. Are there no other options to consider?
In an honest question to the Board, are there good reasons for making this decision now? It is my understanding that the property was deeded to the schools and that the deed calls for the property to be used for educational purposes. How is the School Board honoring this by selling to a developer whose plan is to build town homes on the site?
Respectfully, please consider waiting to make a decision on this important property. We must consider its historical significance—especially considering its proximity to our historic downtown neighborhoods. With more time, I truly believe the board can come to a good decision.
Thank you for considering my request,
Hudson Resident Name
Beyond contacting them directly, the School Board does hold in-person meetings the second and fourth Mondays of each month. You can use these materials, including the form letter, to create a statement to be read on the record at an upcoming meeting.
School board members contact info:
Dave Zuro: email@example.com
Steve DiMauro: firstname.lastname@example.org
James Field: email@example.com
Alisa Wright: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Tobin: email@example.com
Hudson City School District Board of Education
2400 Hudson Aurora Rd
Hudson, OH 44236
The history behind the 1927 Building and the property in general
The term ‘built to last’ is fitting when discussing the 1927 Building. It’s a special term that is typically reserved for something that has stood the test of time.
Almost 100 years later, the 1927 Building is doing today exactly what it was built to originally do—remind us of our historical/educational legacy and continue to inspire those around it to never stop learning.
In fact, when the property was gifted to the Hudson City School District, it was specified that it should be used solely for public school purposes. This deed guided the use and the preservation of the school through its early days as the town’s high school, all the way into the 21st century as a middle school.
But that’s just the building itself. Beyond the school, the three acres of property it sits on are an important part of the deed’s original intent. Regardless of the building, the property or both, this is the last remaining tie to the historical legacy of Hudson’s School District. An historical legacy that is still being written by the students of today.
- The building served as Hudson’s first high school building after the Bing Act of 1921 was passed that mandated compulsory attendance for children age 7 to 18 in Ohio.
- The school was designed by Miller & Son Architects from Youngstown, which constructed a wide variety of schools, churches, businesses and homes that survive today, using materials and craftsmanship rarely seen today.
- Originally designated as ‘Memorial School, it honored and commemorated Hudson’s sons and daughters who served in World War I.
The 1927 Building has such a long, rich heritage. You can read the full history of the building and what’s at stake here.