New plan for old middle school will be presented March 10, 11

Developer has refined residential project proposal after hearing residents' feedback

Phil Keren
Kent Weeklies
The Hudson City School District is reviewing a proposal to repurpose the portion of the old Hudson Middle School that was built in 1927. Liberty Development Co. presented a revised version of their plan at community webinars on  March 10 and 11. The plan was scaled back from about 35-36 residential units to 14 units. The front lawn and old oak trees will be preserved, and a proposal to build two new homes along Oviatt Street has been dropped from the plan. In Liberty's plan, about one-third of the 1927 building will be preserved and the remaining two-thirds will be demolished.

HUDSON — Community members will have a chance this week to hear about changes made to a plan to repurpose the 1927 section of the old Hudson Middle School, 77 Oviatt St.

The Hudson City School District has scheduled community webinar meetings for Wednesday, March 10, at 7 p.m. and Thursday, March 11, at 11:30 a.m. to present a revised proposal from Liberty Development Co.

Both Phil Herman, the district's superintendent, and Dru Siley, vice president of development and lead project coordinator for Liberty, will offer presentations.

About a month ago, Liberty proposed constructing approximately 20 condominiums in the part of the former middle school that was built in 1927. Liberty also proposed building eight carriage houses east of the building site, putting in two single-family homes along Oviatt Street and renovating a third structure on Oviatt.

When Liberty shared this proposal at a community webinar on Feb. 1, some residents supported the idea, saying it fit the neighborhood and offered housing to empytnesters. Others raised concerns about the two homes on Oviatt blocking the view of the historic building, the auditorium being removed, and believed the project would not fit in with the neighborhood. The concern about the view of the structure being blocked by the two new homes was the most common objection.

"We have listened carefully to feedback provided over the recent weeks, and the plan for the building and property have been significantly modified based on community feedback and the recent building assessments completed by Liberty Development," stated an announcement on the school district's website.

Siley said his company's approach was to present a concept and then work with residents "to refine the project so that it fits the neighborhood."

"The comments we received included points such as the number of units (density), traffic and parking, the need for rezoning, streetscape preservation and respecting the character of the 1927 building," stated Siley. "We are presenting an updated plan that attempts to successfully address as many of these items as possible. Notably, the new strategy will preserve the lawn area and 100-year oak trees in front of the school."

The link to watch the webinar on March 10 is: https://hudson-k12-oh.zoom.us/j/96604719010 and the link to view the webinar on March 11 is https://hudson-k12-oh.zoom.us/j/99870103696.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@thebeaconjournal.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.