M.A. Ferguson-Rich
Ohio.com correspondent

This year was filled with new beginnings for Hudson.

Buildings were demolished and new ones were planned for the city. Veteran school Superintendent Steve Farnsworth retired and the district looked from within to promote Phil Herman to the job. Incumbent city council members and school board members were once again approved for their respective jobs. TECHudson, the city's venture into a business incubator, struggled and then announced its closing at the end of the year. In November, City Manager Anthony Bales left his employment.

Here is a list of the top stories for 2013 compiled by Ohio.com correspondent M.A. Ferguson-Rich.


Former YDC Buildings Demolished

The fate of the 14 buildings on the city-acquired Youth Development Center Property on Hines Hill Road was finally decided in 2013 with a $1.4 million demolition completed in the fall.

The city bought the 428-acre property in 2009 for $6.9 million from Cuyahoga County to preserve it from development and for the majority of the property to be used as parkland.

For the past three years, council considered numerous proposals for use of the buildings in the developed portion of the site but ultimately decided that renovation and maintenance of the aging buildings was not cost-efficient.

Clearance of the site eliminates maintenance and utility costs and makes it more appealing as a potential commercial site.

By the terms of the purchase agreement, the city must wait two more years before allowing such a use.

Council has not yet decided what that use will be, although one member, Dennis Hanink, has said he considers the site ideal for a future corporate headquarters.


Malson Athletic Center project proceeding

The Malson Athletic Center project at the high school looks for a groundbreaking by April 2014.

In June, business manager for the district Derek Cluse presented a revised plan to the Board of Education for a $2 million athletic facility to be located at the high school.

It will contain locker rooms for male and female teams, coaching space, a Hall of Fame and a second-floor community meeting room with windows overlooking the playing field.

The district launched a fundraising campaign in August allowing individuals and corporate sponsors to get recognition and/or naming rights for donations ranging from a few hundred dollars to $150,000.

As of late summer, $944,000 had been raised. The Malson family donated $469,000, the district contributed $375,000 and an anonymous donor provided an additional $100,000.

Dick Malson pledged a further $500,000 if the district could match that amount from fundraising by the end of this year.

In December, the Board of Education entered into a compensation agreement with the Village of Boston Heights. If this agreement is approved by the village council in early January, the district will receive compensatory funds, in lieu of property taxes, from a new corporate headquarters to be built by Arhaus in Boston Heights. That agreement provides for an initial $500,000 payment by June of 2015, which would make it likely that that they will be in a position to go ahead with groundbreaking and complete the facility by the fall of 2014, according to District Treasurer Kathryn Sines.


District hires new superintendent

Superintendent Steve Farnsworth retired from the district at the close of the 2013 school year and the district tapped Assistant Superintendent Phil Herman as his replacement.

"When they began the process of searching for his replacement," said Farnsworth, he felt that "the best candidate was right there in the system."

Herman has been with the district for eight years and spent the last five as Assistant Superintendent.

His contract, which was effective Aug. 1, will run for three years. Herman will receive $134,400 annually.

He resides in Stow with his wife and children.

Incumbents return to council and school board

Hudson voters expressed satisfaction with their current leaders running for office in 2013 by returning all of them to their positions.

At-large incumbents Hal DeSaussure, William Wooldredge and Dan Williams were all voted back into office in November. DeSaussure has since been elected as Council President, replacing David Basil who was term-limited from continuing as president.

Attorney Sarah Hulburt was unsuccessful in her attempt to gain a seat on council.

Ward 4 council member Keith Smith was elected for a full term after being appointed to fill the remainder of John Jeffers' term. Jeffers retired from council in December 2012.

Three members of the school board sought re-election in November and all were successful, including board President David Zuro, Patricia Engelman and Steve DiMauro. Attorney Sarah Norman was unsuccessful in her attempt to gain a seat on the board.

TECHudson to close

The city's venture into creating a business incubator will close at the end of the year.

TECHudson, which sought to nurture new entrepreneurs and create high-tech jobs, received $174,000 in 2011 and $200,000 in 2012 from the city.

This year, council was only willing to allocate $50,000 to the organization, citing budget concerns and the need for the organization to become self-funding.

Executive Director George Buzzy said they needed about $150,000 per year to continue to operate and "it became clear early on that the original model of a stand-alone entrepreneurial center without alliances with an academic institution would make it difficult to raise operating funds from outside organizations."

City Manager leaves position

City Manager Anthony Bales left his position with the city in November.

According to the terms of a separation agreement, he will receive a severance payment totaling eight months of his $122,000 annual salary. The city has also agreed to pay the majority of the cost of his continued health insurance for up to seven months and to provide a letter of recommendation if requested.

Assistant City Manager Scott Schroyer has been appointed interim city manager while a search is conducted for Bales' replacement.