Downtown Phase II
This controversial project continues to consume the time, talent, and treasure of Hudson residents, city staff, and members of council with no end in sight.
Nearly 5,000 Hudson voters expressed their "opinion" on whether city leaders should move forward with its plans for the Downtown Phase II development in a May 7 advisory election. The outcome was 52% voting 'No' and 48% voting 'Yes'.
The images above illustrate what our mayor, city council, city manager and staff had envisioned for the property in the area of Owen Brown St and Morse Rd; to date, predominantly a government-backed luxury housing development north of Owen Brown and Class A professional office space and retail / commercial development to the south.
The city allocated $75,000 of your money to convince you to vote "Yes" in this non-binding referendum, which cost an additional $23,000 to conduct. A political action committee (PAC), named "Informed Citizens of Hudson", supported by some current and former members of city council, aggressively promoted the project. A second PAC, named "Hudson's Voice", opposed the plan.
Housing density and traffic concerns remain significant issues for area residents. They say there are simply too many unknowns and the project remains too fluid:
- The city has not seen a single blueprint of the proposed housing, yet it wants to break ground on construction in 2019.
The city has not seen a single floor plan for the commercial / office space nor does it have any tenants committed to leasing space.
- The cost of the project has mushroomed to more than $10 million of taxpayer money and the city still does not own the Windstream building which it will need to work around nor does it have a developer agreement in place after 5 years.
The city has learned the developer (Testa) will focus on the housing portion of the project, but may not complete the commercial / office space for years to come, if ever.
Concerns about the developer's financial wherewithal to complete the project have come to light, but City Hall is not talking which means residents could be on the hook to finish this project.
The city is estimating $1 million in new income tax revenue from the project. That means 500 people working in the Phase II development will need to earn $100,000 annually. That's not a realistic expectation.
Even though residents "advised" city council not to proceed with its plan, after three workshops and hearing further resident input, the mayor, city council, and the city manager are moving forward with a "tweaked" version of their plan which still focuses heavily on upscale housing for seniors and the elusive, wealthy millennial professionals they hope to attract.
In contrast to the city's plan, many residents said they would prefer to have something that brings greater, long-lasting value to all residents; not just a few, such as:
- Recreation Center
- Senior Citizen Center
- Community Swimming Pool or Water Park
- Outdoor Amphitheater
- Art Museum
- Botanical Garden
- Food Hall
- Old Fashion Saloon
- Ferris Wheel
There are development options, but it will require a change in leadership this Fall. Let's get back to listening to residents. Let's get back to basics with common sense governance.
Elect Craig Shubert, Hudson Mayor
Tuesday, November 5