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New police HQ, court building passes style review


HUDSON–The Historic Preservation Commission for the City of Hudson voted Friday, February 27 to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for the new Hudson City Police and Court Center planned for 701 Union Street.

The center will require reconstructing the current building on the site, which is not historic but stands near historic buildings, some of them residential. The commission’s vote expresses its decision that the design and materials planned for the reconstruction will fit in with the neighborhood.

The current Hudson City Police headquarters is on the 400 block of Warren Street in a line of other buildings. The Union Street site will be larger and stand further from other buildings. Police officials believe that after reconstruction it will be more comfortable for their officers and more appropriate for contemporary police and court functions.

The existing building last housed Finnish Line Fitness and still bears the gym’s sign. Built in 1980, the building first housed an auto parts store.

The reconstruction will use the existing metal frame. Its features will include new metal paneling, an addition on the back, and a sheltered passage to protect people from the elements as they line up to go through security to enter the court, said architect Richard Franklin. He participated in designing the building and is with the Sabir, Richardson, and Weisberg engineering firm of Sicklerville, NJ.

“This is a very interesting project. [It’s] one of the key projects we really enjoy,” Mr. Franklin said at the public hearing preceding the vote.

Hudson Alderman Sarah Sterling (D-1st Ward) told Mr. Franklin, “I would like to congratulate you. You’ve done a great job.” She said she realized that building something that would serve the needs of the police and courts was complex. “I do like the design,” she said.

One unresolved issue involves the signs that will be on the building, and Ms. Sterling inquired about them. In response Rick Rector, chairman of the commission, said, “We’ve been told that they’ll come back with a separate application for signage.”

Nicole Vidor of Hudson, the only other public commenter besides Ms. Sterling, said of the intended result, “I think it’s a handsome building compared to what Finnish Line looks like now.”

Commission member Peggy Polenberg asked how lighting would affect the surrounding area, particularly because a city police headquarters must stay open and lit 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Mr. Franklin explained that the lighting “will be directed to the building, not the street.” The walkways to the entrance will be lit. Meanwhile, the City of Hudson will take care of lighting in the parking lot.

Commission member David Voorhees asked about the roof during snow. Mr. Franklin answered that the existing roof will remain, but there will be a gutter around the building for snow and rain.

Commission member Miranda Barry said, “I live in the neighborhood, and I want to commend the designer of the building. Buildings should reflect the era in which they were built. It’s not important that new buildings look like old buildings.”

Within a few minutes, the commission voted to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness. This was one of several requirements that must be met before the center is built.

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