HUDSON — The ball is back in city council’s court on the Downtown Phase II project.
During a seven-day period, council hosted three work sessions to solicit ideas from the public on how they would like to see the downtown project modified. About 100 people attended the first session on May 28, while about 50 came to the second meeting on June 1 and approximately 40 were at the third meeting on Tuesday night at the Barlow Community Center.
Council decided to host these meetings following the defeat of a May 7 advisory vote on the plan to develop 20 acres of land west of Morse Road. Testa Companies is the project developer.
Council will discuss Downtown Phase II during its workshop meeting on Tuesday, June 11. City Manager Jane Howington said there will be a video presentation showing the smart traffic signal technology that city officials are interested in installing as part of the downtown project.
"We will have staff with the list of all the comments that [residents have] made," said Howington. "Some of the major comments and suggestions, we’ll have analyzed some of that as far as traffic impact … fiscal impact and economic impact. We’ll be able to give council that information. After that, that is where council dialogues and determines where they go next."
Communications Manager Jody Roberts said council on June 11 "will be reviewing all the comments and begin discussions on what modifications they may want to further investigate."
"It is council's desire to examine all the comments and discuss what a modified plan might include before bringing [developer Joel] Testa into the discussion," stated Roberts, who noted that Testa will not attend the June 11 meeting.
Input from work sessions listed on city website
The city’s website now has a 31-page document listing the input that was provided by residents at all three work sessions.
That information can be accessed by visiting the city’s website at www.hudson.oh.us, clicking on the Downtown Phase II link and then clicking on a link that says "View Comments from Work Sessions." They can also access it directly by going to https://www.hudson.oh.us/DocumentCenter/View/7747/DT-Phase-II-05-28-19-Work-Session-Comments-Slides?.
Everyone who signed in at the work sessions and provided their email address will receive this information via email.
Howington added the website also includes a rundown on the next steps that must happen if council decides to move forward with the project. The planning commission, council and the Architectural and Historic Board of Review all still would need to review and approve the plan, according to information provided by the city.
Council member Alex Kelemen (Ward 3) on Tuesday said he had some residents ask him "Where do we go from here? How do we incorporate all of this? How soon does council act on it? Anything we can do to help get that information out to the public and council … would be appreciated."
Summary of feedback collected
The 31-page document on the city’s website lists the feedback that residents provided during the three meetings. It is broken into categories such as: housing; commercial; traffic, access and parking; project ideas and concerns; and the timeline and plan. Under the timeline and plan, feedback ranges from liking the overall plan to feeling like the plans needs some modifications to disliking the overall plan and wanting to start over.
Suggestions ranged from scaling down housing and office plans, to eliminating the offices, eliminating a proposed parking garage, and even moving city hall downtown and closing Owen Brown Street at Morse Road. Other suggestions included adding more shared green space and more public spaces, a community garden, a community/recreation center, more one-story housing units, and using renewable sources of energy.
In preparation for construction in the area, the city’s salt shed and school district’s bus garage are being relocated. The plan currently calls for construction of 138,000 square feet of office space, 63 town homes, 50 condominium flats above businesses and a 250- to 300-space parking structure.
Council’s workshop meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11, at Town Hall, 27 E. Main St.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.