A few years ago, Hudson’s Historic Middle School, built in 1927, was slated for demolition. It was viewed by some as a liability.
Today, the historic building on North Oviatt Street is on the verge of a new life. The school district is seeking proposals for its future, and there’s a movement underway to turn the building into an arts and cultural center.
Roger Bliss, an infill site specialist and expert on urban revitalization, sees the 93-year-old school as exactly the opposite of a liability.
“The school is a civic asset that can be repurposed,” says Bliss, who will speak Thursday, March 12, at Hudson Heritage Association’s March Program.
Bliss’ presentation, “Revitalizing Our Civic Assets and Rediscovering Walkable Urban Design,” will focus on the importance of preserving the urban fabric of towns like Hudson.
“Urban fabric is not just about preserving historic structures,” says Bliss. “It is about preserving the space between and around them, the block, the street and the building framework. It is everything that makes our older neighborhoods so special.”
In the late 20th century, automobile-focused development of new residential and commercial neighborhoods usually meant the removal of older structures and the construction of cul-de-sacs and strip malls, Bliss says. As a result, the importance of urban fabric was lost.
Today, we are seeing a reawakening to the value of walkable, mixed-use urban spaces. The success of Hudson’s First & Main is a good example, Bliss says.
During his presentation, Bliss will highlight projects he’s worked on and discuss Hudson and the potential future of the Historic Middle School.
“We are excited to welcome Roger to our March program,” says Hudson Heritage Association President Chris Bach. “He sees the bigger picture of how preservation and revitalization of our entire urban fabric equates to a better and more sustainable quality of life for everyone.”
Bliss, who has extensive experience as a developer, planner and builder, is a founder of Bliss Partners. He focuses on designing, renovating, building, and redeveloping pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods.
Bliss’ presentation on civic assets will highlight Hudson Heritage Association’s March program on Thursday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Barlow Community Center. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.