By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Hudson – A long-standing fixture of the downtown Hudson landscape is gone after a fast-moving demolition process.
The H. LaRosee and Sons metal plating factory stood for 130 years at the intersection of Broad St. and South St. But it fell into disrepair, recently, prompting its eventual demolition to make room for a new parking lot.
“That’s a win,” Acting Planning and Community Development Director Kristina Johnson told selectmen, Oct. 19. “We need more parking downtown, especially in that area.”
Crews from J.R. Vinagro Corp. set to work, Oct. 20 on a nearly $300,000 town contract to tear down the old factory.
Three years after a notable chemical spill at H. LaRosee and Sons required hazmat teams to clean up, Johnson said town officials chose Vinagro Corp. in part because of a demonstrated record of work handling potentially hazardous properties.
“They specialize in these kinds of delicate demolitions,” she said. “…This is their wheelhouse.”
Hudson has been prepping for this demolition for close to a year. A $400,000 state grant first started the ball rolling, helping fund surveys of the LaRosee factory and, more recently, helping draft everything from erosion control plans, to security measures to support the demolition.
As work commenced, jersey barriers and police details blocked off vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the immediate “fall zone” nearby.
Johnson said her office had personally delivered flyers to 150 nearby properties informing owners and tenants of these traffic plans.
One set of residents directly abutting the LaRosee factory, she further indicated, said they planned to vacate their home during the peak of demolition activities.
Initially, Johnson predicted that work would take four weeks, with crews needing at least two weeks to bring the building below the height of nearby utility wires.
By midday Oct. 23, however, just four days into the demolition, Vinagro Corp. was already digging into the foundation and basement of the old structure, seemingly indicating work moving ahead of schedule.
As new space opens downtown, Johnson and other local leaders are celebrating the promise of badly needed parking near popular businesses.
Along the way, they say they’re proud of collaboration to tackle what Johnson has long described as a public safety hazard.
“This was a team effort,” she said of demolition planning. “It was all hands on deck to get this building down.”