HHA DOES NOT SUPPORT LIBERTY DEVELOPMENT’S PROPOSAL AND SEEKS TO PROTECT THE 1927 SCHOOL BUILDING

Hudson Middle School - 1927 Building

 

In October 2020, the Hudson City School District (HCSD) announced its intention to work with Liberty Development to pursue the feasibility of converting the 1927 Hudson High School Building into condominiums and that open space on the property was being considered for eight carriage houses (at the rear of the site), along with the construction of two single-family homes on the front lawn facing Oviatt Street.

HHA’s board of directors met with a representative of Liberty Development to review the company’s plans for the property. While the HHA board was open to learning about Liberty’s plans and potentially giving tacit support to the project, it became clear that the board had serious reservations to the plan as presented at that time. HHA subsequently identified three conditions as prerequisites for any potential future HHA endorsement of the plan. These included:

  • Maintaining the historic streetscape of Oviatt Street (including the preservation of the old oak trees and lawn leading to the front of the building and the elimination of any plans for new construction of single‐family houses)
  • Preserving the historic exterior of the school building
  • Confirming a commitment to pursuing a preservation easement of the site and building which would permanently protect the building and site for the future.

Liberty Development’s plan for the 1927 Middle School Building and surrounding property.

Unfortunately, when Liberty and HCSD presented an update to the community on February 1, its plan was unchanged. The project appears to be moving forward with no consideration for the enormous impact it will have on one of the town’s most significant structures and for the very heart of the town’s Historic District in which it sits.

Since it was founded in 1962, the mission of the Hudson Heritage Association has been to promote local history and advance the critical work of preserving the town’s invaluable architectural assets for the benefit of current and future generations. As such, the HHA cannot in good conscience lend its support to this plan for development and we are asking you to join us in our efforts to prevent one of the town’s most important public buildings from either ill‐ considered commercial development or possible demolition.

We hope HCSD will consider alternative uses for this building and the land on which it sits. This is a building that has long served a valuable role in our community and, following the execution of a plan for thoughtful repurposing, could continue to do so for another century and beyond with the RIGHT plan. It features a level of detail, craftsmanship and materials one rarely sees in newer construction today. And given the many generations to have passed through its doors, the building is engraved in Hudson’s collective consciousness. Now, over 90 years later, the idea of preserving the building, restoring it to its former grandeur and renovating it for the 21st century is an extraordinarily exciting and viable proposition.

The adaptive reuse of the 1927 High School Building goes far beyond the preservation and repurposing of a single historic structure. It is one of Hudson’s last opportunities to retain a significant civic building within the historic center/Village core, one that could bring renewed interest, activity and life to the surrounding neighborhood, community, and Main Street businesses, if it’s done right.

While we appreciate that there are many in the community who would like to see increased options for housing in Hudson, the current plan of the Liberty Development Company is neither right for the neighborhood in question nor appropriate for the long‐term needs of the city as a whole. We hope you will join us in communicating this idea to those in charge of deciding the fate of this public facility that was originally built with community funds and has since been maintained with taxpayer support. YOUR VOICE MUST BE HEARD. Please write to the Hudson leaders listed below to voice your opposition to Liberty’s plan and to support HHA’s position.

Board of Directors
Hudson Heritage Association

ACT NOW, if you agree that the 1927 High School Building deserves a better fate than conversion into condominiums, with carriage houses behind and blocked from view on Oviatt Street by pseudo century houses. JOIN US in expressing your opinion to Superintendent Phil Herman, members of the HCSD Board of Education, Hudson’s City leaders, and members of Hudson City Council can be contacted at:

Hudson School District Administrator
Phillip Herman, Superintendent
hermanp@hudson.edu

HCSD Board of Education members:
David Zuro, President
zurod@hudson.edu

Steve DiMauro, Vice president
dimauros@hudson.edu

James Field, Member
fieldj@hudson.edu

Alisa Wright, Member
wrighta@hudson.edu

Tom Tobin, Member
tobint@hudson.edu

Hudson City Manager
Jane Howington
jhowington@hudson.oh.us

Hudson Mayor
Craig A. Shubert
cshubert@hudson.oh.us

Hudson Economic Development, Director
Jim Stifler
jstifler@hudson.oh.us

Hudson City Council members:
Beth Bigham, Ward 4
bbigham@hudson.oh.us

Hal DeSaussure, At Large
hdesaussure@hudson.oh.us

Nicole Kowalski, At Large
nkowalski@hudson.oh.us

Chris Foster, Ward 2
cfoster@hudson.oh.us

Kate Schlademan, Ward 1
kschlademan@hudson.oh.us

Skylar Sutton, Ward 3
ssutton@hudson.oh.us

William Wooldredge, At Large (Council President)
wwooldredge@hudson.oh.us