‘Hudson is a town to turn to:’ Public officials celebrate as Hudson Riverwalk project nears completion

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A event at the side of the Hudson Riverwalk project last week featured public officials, including State Rep. Kate Hogan, State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, and US Rep. Lori Trahan, among many others. (Photo/via the Office of Kate Hogan)

HUDSON – Federal, state and local officials gathered at Cellucci Park in Hudson last week for the presentation of $400,000 in American Rescue Plan (ARPA) money to help fund the completion of Hudson’s Assabet Riverwalk Project.

Speaking before, during and after the event, those officials have continued to celebrate the riverwalk as a new step in much larger efforts to augment and strengthen Hudson’s downtown area. 

“Hudson is a town to turn to – purposefully bridging local leadership and state and federal investment to transform what is possible and build a downtown ready for the 21st century,” State Rep. Kate Hogan said in a recent press release.

Taking shape along the Assabet River, the multiphase Riverwalk Project aims to protect the riverbank while creating new outdoor space for community members.

Hogan, this week, lauded the project for improving accessibility and interconnectedness in this part of Hudson.

“I’m proud of the commitment and collaboration between municipal, state and federal governments that made these projects possible,” she continued.

Community celebrates revitalization

An initial portion of the project was funded via a Massachusetts Department of Transportation grant. That work involved building new walkways through part of Cellucci Park while adding new lighting and signs, among other things.

Further work has continued with ARPA funding focused on stabilizing and restoring the riverbank itself, which had been impacted by runoff from area roadways, overgrowth of invasive plants, and lingering factory waste, such as the leather soles of shoes that were once manufactured in town.

Speaking last Thursday afternoon, officials noted other projects in town, including the redesign of Hudson’s downtown rotary and South Street areas with pedestrian access, safety, and local businesses in mind. Officials further highlighted how these efforts have coincided with work by businesses themselves and Hudson’s Business Improvement District (BID) to bolster the local economy. 

Residents, public officials and business owners alike have long lauded Hudson’s Main Street growth. 

Along the Assabet River, where Industrial Revolution-era manufacturing facilities once drove Hudson’s economy, those same stakeholders have also noted particularly drastic results since the start of revitalization work.

“We’ve had swans, mergansers and wood ducks, all of that in the river,” said Joe Freeman of Manzo Freeman Development in a recent interview. “…We didn’t see that when we first came here.”

Freeman is the CEO and Director of Business Development at Manzo Freeman, which operates the Landing at Hudson Mills in one of Hudson’s remaining historic mill structures.

He credited public officials and the community at large for helping “clean up” the river while creating new spaces like the riverwalk.

His sentiments were recently echoed by State Sen. Jamie Eldridge in comments this month during the riverwalk’s recent ARPA event.

“The Hudson Riverwalk will allow more residents to be connected to the Assabet River flowing through downtown Hudson, highlighting its role in the Industrial Revolution in Hudson, and how the Assabet River has been cleaned up since,” Eldridge said.

Riverwalk work expected to be completed during summer

Last week’s ARPA event at the riverwalk was also attended by Congresswoman Lori Trahan, among other officials. 

Trahan highlighted broad health benefits of these kinds of facilities, thanking Hogan and Eldridge for their collaboration to help allocate ARPA funds initially sent to Massachusetts from the federal government.

“Projects like this are why, when we put the American Rescue Plan together last year, we also prioritized funding for states and towns to respond to the many effects of the pandemic, including its toll on our mental health,” Trahan said.

Work continues at the Riverwalk, with that work now expected to wrap up this summer, according to the Business Improvement District.

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