HUDSON — City leaders are pursuing a vision of a community equipped to step into the future.
“This is a forward-looking year,” City Manager Jane Howington told about 80 people gathered Wednesday for a State of the City luncheon hosted by the Hudson Chamber of Commerce at the Jo-Ann Fabric Conference Center.
She opened the presentation by highlighting some trends that the city and society overall will need to tackle in the coming years, including:
• The rise of online shopping and how it affects brick-and-mortar stores.
• The rise of telemedicine and how it will affect medical and dental offices.
• The aging population and its impact on businesses, housing and recreational programs.
• Development of a strategy to attract young people to live and work in Hudson.
“Those trends are going to impact every one of us, and we need to solve them together,” she said.
She emphasized that the city is using data and working with the business and academic worlds to solve problems.
The city has added 1,850 jobs over the last three years and income tax collection increased by 11 percent in 2018, compared to 2017, said Jim Stifler, chief economic development director.
“We are seeing future-friendly businesses here,” said Stifler. “We are seeing businesses that are going to support this town well into the future.”
Examples include cybersecurity, homeland security, financial forensics, polymers, and medical technology companies. Stifler noted these businesses are either “fiber dependent” or at least “fiber friendly.” He said the average income earned by an employee at many of these firms ranges from $80,000 to $110,000.
Paul Leedham, the city's chief innovation officer, said smart LED street lights are being tested around town.
“If there’s a problem in an area or there’s a safety issue, we can make them brighter,” Howington said. “If there’s really nothing going on, we can make them dimmer and save a lot of electricity and power.”
Rhonda Kadish, a community relations and special events staffer, said efforts to boost vocational training have evolved into helping students become problem solvers and fill workforce needs.
She said fourth-graders are using problem-solving, design thinking and entrepreneurship to build race cars and to market sponsorship of the vehicles. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. engineers will teach students about tire design and those same students will work with older students to design tires.