Hudson seeks state funding for redevelopment of old police station

556

Site plan changes announced after public feedback

 

By Justin Roshak, Contributing writer

Hudson’s former police station is located on Packard Street.   Photo/Laura Hayes
Hudson’s former police station is located on Packard Street.
(Photo/Laura Hayes)

HUDSON – The Affordable Housing Trust and MetroWest Collaborative Development have kicked off the process of seeking state support to redevelop Hudson’s old police station at 62 Packard St. as an affordable housing complex. 

A site visit by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) was expected last week.

The pandemic, however, limited that. 

“In the good old days before [COVID-19], you’d go meet them on site,” said MetroWest Executive Director Jennifer Van Campen in a presentation to the Affordable Housing Trust Board last week. “Now, DHCD literally drives up, takes a few pictures, and goes back to their office.”

 

State decision on funding expected soon

The town is expecting a response at some point this month, after which local review by the Zoning Board of Appeals would begin.

The state receives about thirty affordable housing project applications each year and invites about half back, Van Campen said. 

The odds that Packard Street will be one of those chosen might be especially good this year, as money from the American Rescue Plan is expected to bolster the state’s willingness to fund projects.

Still, Van Campen cautioned the Affordable Housing Trust Board that a rejection in the first round of the first year was not uncommon. A delay to the next opportunity for funding would push the project into 2023. 

Plans for demolishing the site’s existing structures have been paused now that the application is underway, Van Campen said. 

 

Community input prompts site plan changes

The site plan has shifted slightly in response to community input. 

Seven new parking spaces were added for a new total of 47 spots. The parking lot will now also be broken up by landscape islands, softening what had been, in Van Campen’s words, “a sea of concrete”. 

Van Campen said her top priority was keeping costs down.

“Every time I hear, let’s add this, I hear ‘cha-ching, that’s another fifty thousand dollars we have to raise and, more importantly, maintain over time,’” she said.

“It also adds to the community,” said Board Member Darryl Filippi, who urged Van Campen to “Be strategic in your articulation, still being sensible to durable materials.”

“I don’t want to go down the road of building cheap buildings just because it’s affordable housing,” Filippi added.

Hudson had originally planned to convey the parcel to the Trust for an entirely symbolic sum, such as $1 or $100. However, according to discussion among the Trust board, town council has recently suggested Hudson request a more substantial price. Both $5,000 and $10,000 were discussed at last week’s Trust meeting. 

Van Campen, though, said it was important to the state funding application that the conveyance be seen as a gift. 

“I’m very, very hesitant to go back to the state and say, I didn’t mean $100, I meant $5000,” she said. “We’ve already told this story and they’re already expecting that it’s a gift.”

 

Open house to showcase new plans

The Trust is planning an open house to share the most recent plans with the community. 

Unlike the first such event, this open house is expected to be held in person with masks mandatory. There will be no official program, but posters and volunteers will help explain aspects of the project. 

Interested residents should look for an event in the first two weeks of October. It is possible the event could transition to be held online via Zoom if COVID-19 cases continue to be elevated.

No posts to display