It was year of decisions made, and dreams brought to reality for Hudson in 2012.
HUDSON MEMORIAL STADIUM
It was "the single largest community philanthropic effort in the City of Hudson," according to Mayor William Currin.
The $5.5 million dollar stadium was completed in August, in time for the Hudson Explorers' first football game against Kenston, which Hudson won, 17-14.
It was funded entirely with private donations, an unprecedented occurence in the area.
"I can't think of another stadium that was built this way," said Superintendent Steven Farnsworth, at the dedication. Usually, Farnsworth said, a district has to put a bond issue on the ballot and voters must approve the funding for such a project.
"We knew," said Ed Sogan recently, "that under current economic conditions, we would not be able to pass a levy."
Sogan, the former head football coach and athletic director, spearheaded the project, whose main backer was the Tom and Joy Murdough Foundation.
The foundation contributed $3 million toward completion.
Memorial Stadium has seating for 3,000 on the home side, and 2,000 for the visitors. It has state-of-the-art turf, and a press box 78-feet-long. There is a 2,300-square-foot building, which houses concessions and restrooms on the home side, and a 1,200-square-foot building on the visitor's side.
The facility was named to honor Hudson residents who lost their lives while serving in America's military forces. This was done at the request of the Murdough family.
It is still a work in progress. Plans are underway for a field house which will contain a training facility, first-aid area, changing rooms and shower facilities.
The field house will also be built with private funding, and donations continue to be accepted by the Hudson Community Foundation.
Is Steven Farnsworth optimistic about raising future funding for the project?
"I don't know if there is anything not possible in Hudson," he said.
HUDSON STREAM RESTORATION PROJECT
A second major construction project was completed in Hudson, and it too was located on the grounds of the high school.
It began as a fifty dollar grant for a land lab, on portion of the Tinker's Creek sub-watershed area located just west of the high school building.
The project and ecology studies program began in 2000, with the dream of two science teachers at the high school, Christine DiCato-Thaxton and Matthew Kearns. They began teaching ecology, and according to DiCato-Thaxton, the program started with about 15 students.
What was once, she says, basically a drainage ditch corridor used occasionally by some biology teachers, has evolved into an outdoor learning center for five advanced placement classes, accomodating several hundred students a year.
From that modest start-up, the teachers have united the City of Hudson, the US and Ohio EPA, the school district, and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health to raise over $680,000 for stream restoration.
The project was substantially completed by its November dedication, and will create a land lab for student use, a habitat for fish and macro-invertebrates, and will meet the city's goal of potentially storing up to 2 million gallons of storm water to prevent flooding.
COUNCIL DECIDES FATE OF YDC BUILDINGS
Through much discussion in the past six months, an outline for the future of the former Youth Development Facility on Hines Hill Road is taking shape.
The city bought the closed youth facility in 2009 for $6.9 million. It sits on 428 acres of land, and the original intent was to convert much of it into a park. The sale was conditioned on using the property for public purposes for a period of five years. While it is still the intention to use much of the land for nature conservation, council is still considering ultimate use of the 135 acres where the buildings are located. In two years, the land will be available for commercial development.
Council President David Basil says that he considers the YDC property "a catalyst for economic development."
Member-at-Large Wiilliam Wooldredge said that he envisions "a beautiful headquarters for a company."
Studies have been done since the time of purchase, to determine condition and potential uses for the 14 buildings, some of which date back to 1903. No viable proposals were accepted for use of any of the buildings since that time.
In May of 2012, council finalized the removal of historical status on two of the buildings, Washington Hall and Cooley Hall.
This step was necessary to free the way for possible demolition of the buildings.
In December, council passed a resolution supporting the demolition of all of the buildings. The estimated cost of the demolition is approximately $1.2 million, and the city has budgeted for the costs of demolition, over a period of ten years.
Bids will be taken for the demolition, which should begin some time in the first three months of 2013.
The city has not entirely ruled out salvaging one or more buildings for future use. At the December 19 meeting, a representative from Great Lakes Biomimicry spoke after viewing the property. Although the organization was not in an immediate position to make an offer, it did express interest during the coming two years, in establishing its headquarters at a building on the site.
OIL AND GAS WELL STIRS CONTROVERSY/NIXED BY SUPERINTENDENT
In May, a proposal for drilling a new gas and oil well at Evamere Elementary School generated a spirited response from numerous Hudson residents at a board meeting.
"Wells have a history of lowering property values," said Larry Schmidt, a Hudson resident. "Banks have refused financing for properties located next to wells."
Schmidt said "heavy truck traffic, foul odors, noise and diesel fumes are consequences of a well."
Representatives of Summit Petroleum and BEN Energy, the companies making the proposal, estimated that earnings from the well could range from $71,000-117,000 for the school district for the first year, and cumulative earnings of $217,000 to $369,000 were likely by the tenth year.
In June, Superintendent Steven Farnsworth declined to recommend the drilling proposal to the Board of Education.
"The fields around Evamere are used extensively by students and adults," he said, describing those fields as "the backyards of many, many people."
Both he and the board, he said, had spoken to neighbors, and the community at large for their opinions and insight.
Farnsworth said Hudson schools pride themselves on being "a good neighbor" and that the potential location of the well made it undesirable.
He stressed that the district continues to look for alternative methods of raising revenue other than levies, and future proposals for well-drilling would be considered.
INDUSTRIAL LAND PARTNERS TO INVEST 10 MILLION
Industrial Land Partners, LLC, got the go-ahead in September to construct a 220,000 square foot commercial/industrial building at Hudson Crossing Business Park.
The building will house Universal Screen Arts, an internet retailer that has been headquartered in Hudson for approximately nine years, and has outgrown its current location.
The Hudson Board of Education approved an abatement of 85 percent of the taxes on its total investment in the project, for 15 years.
In return for the tax abatement, 119 Universal Screen Arts employees will move to the new facility; 18 workers will transfer from a Twinsburg location, and a minimum of 15 new employees will be added within five years. The facility will eventually generate a $6.9 million annual payroll, in addition to the real property tax.
Chuck Wiedie, the economic development director for Hudson, said that he believed Universal Screen Arts, "had been courted by other communities" in northeast Ohio, and that this agreement "will cement the fact that they will stay in Hudson."
Superintendent Steven Farnsworth said that this agreement is a hardship in the short term for the district, but "we need a vibrant, business sector of the community, and then we'll all benefit."
US BANK ON NORTH MAIN ROBBED
The US Bank at 126 N. Main was robbed on October 1 at 2:58 in the afternoon. A robber with a gun, escaped through the rear door of the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash.
No one was injured in the robbery and Hudson police and the FBI are looking for a heavyset white male, approximately five foot seven.
Jody Roberts, Communications Manager for the City said that there have been no other bank robberies in Hudson in recent memory.
Roberts said that the suspect attempted a robbery in Chagrin Falls the day before the Hudson robbery, and no one has been apprehended for the crime as of this week.