Hudson Select Board approves ‘due diligence’ contract for Armory project

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By Justin Roshak, Contributing Writer

Hudson’s old National Guard Armory sits near downtown. Local arts advocates are expecting their purchase of the building will be finalized this year. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)
The Select Board okayed a contract on Oct. 18 for due diligence work on plans to purchase and renovate Hudson’s old National Guard Armory as a performing arts center. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

HUDSON – The Select Board OK’d a contract on Oct. 18 for due diligence work on plans to purchase and renovate Hudson’s old National Guard Armory as a performing arts center. 

The initial cost of $24,000 was entirely raised by the nonprofit Hudson Cultural Alliance. The work will be completed by engineering firm Woodard and Curran. 

The due diligence work will support the planned transfer from ownership by the Commonwealth to the Alliance. 

“All the funds to pay for this are coming from the alliance,” said Select Board Chair Scott Duplisea. 

The Cultural Alliance has promised that the town will not be on the hook financially for this project. 

“We’re already on the slippery slope to ownership,” said Select Board member Fred Lucy, however. 

The Cultural Alliance has estimated that annual upkeep for a renovated armory in the role of a performing arts center would cost between $50,000 and $100,000. That assumes the venue is used for events such as theater, concerts, artist studios, gallery space, and community events. 

Plans have also included space for the Hudson Historical Society, which is looking for a permanent home after recently relocating for a fourth time in just over 20 years.

The alliance already secured $230,000 in state budget earmarks to buy the armory. A separate grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council allocated $200,000 towards an estimated $1-2 million price tag for renovations to be completed in either 2023 or 2024. 

The Select Board’s vote on this recent due diligence contract was 4-1, with Lucy voting in opposition.

“This is one more step to eventually the town buying the property with no idea whether or not the funds are going to be raised to both pay all the expenses during those two to three years and build it out and fulfill the vision,” Lucy said. 

He added, “It’s a wonderful vision, but I’m not sure whether it’ll be fulfilled or not. Tonight’s the night to start saying no.”

Board member Shawn Sadowski said he shared some of Lucy’s concerns. But he voted to take the next step. 

“I’d like to give them a chance,” he said of the alliance. “What we’ve asked for, they’ve given us.”

“Town Meeting voted unanimously to pursue this,” said Select Board member James Quinn. “There were over 200 people there. The will of the people of the Town of Hudson at Town Meeting was to pursue this.”

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