By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – As Hudson updates its master plan for the first time since 1964, about 45 residents offered input at the third public forum Jan. 14 at the Town Hall auditorium. The topics discussed were open space and recreation, and historic and cultural preservation.
A group survey of the attendees revealed 54 percent had lived in Hudson over 20 years. When asked the most common activity they did while visiting a town park or open space area, 58 percent replied they enjoyed walking or hiking, and 59 percent got to those locations by driving. Maintenance was named the most important issue regarding the recreation and natural open spaces.
An overview of open space and recreation was given by Linda Ghiloni, the director of recreation. She spoke about state funding sources including the Community Preservation Act (CPA), state legislation that allows cities and towns to raise up to a 3 percent tax surcharge and dedicate those funds for open space and recreation, historic preservation and affordable housing.
“A change in CPA legislation this summer now allows the use of funds for renovation and rehabilitation of existing recreation facilities,” Ghiloni said. “The new CPA legislation will assist in renovating older areas with new state-of-the-art equipment.”
The forum attendees were given a packet, which included a written survey. Ghiloni said she will use information gathered from those surveys while beginning the process of updating the open space plan.
Michelle Ciccolo, the director of community development, presented an overview of historic and cultural preservation. She cited defining characteristics that make Hudson unique, including historic buildings, structures and landscapes, as well as several arts organizations and an active Portuguese and Brazilian population.
Offering a reminder that Hudson will celebrate its 150th anniversary in three years, Ciccolo encouraged residents to observe the landmark by incorporating the town's cultural and historic resources.
The residents were divided into three groups to share ideas about the evening's topics. First, they discussed how the town can make the public more aware of the open space, recreation, historic and cultural resources.
Several residents suggested partnering with the schools to distribute flyers. Some recommended information booths at annual events such as the Hudson Community Fest and Pumpkin Fest. Others would like to explore sponsorship by a nonprofit organization for a new annual event such as a road race, scavenger hunt or neighborhood block party.
Among other suggestions to spread the word were a Facebook page, additional signage around town, and an interactive map of all recreational facilities.
When the topic of discussion turned to what should be the town's main priority over the next few years, once again the importance of maintenance was voiced. Examples ranged from graffiti removal at Cellucci Park to the need for better lighting at Moulton Field. Also discussed was more and improved access for canoes and boats on the Assabet River and Fort Meadow Reservoir.
Several people felt priority should be given to existing parks and facilities, rather than adding new ones. Among ideas from those who want a new facility was to convert the former Hudson Catholic High building, which more recently housed St. Michael School, into a community center and charge membership. It was noted that the building is equipped with a recently refurbished gym. Located at 198 Main St., the building is currently for sale.
When discussing cultural and historical districts, many agreed with a resident who suggested to “capitalize on what Hudson already has,” citing Wood Square and historical buildings downtown.
The next public forum is scheduled for Monday, March 4, when the topic will be transportation.
For more information, visit townofhudson.org/Public_Documents/HudsonMA_BComm/masterplan.