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January 26th, 2020 Workshop - Pickle ball, Pedestrians & Rec Centers

I think council is still going through the Master Plan itself. It is a big document and will take some time to fully digest. Not a lot of direct comments on that plan itself. The pullouts were the pickle-ball and tennis courts, and the dog park.

1: Park Board Master Plan and recommendations.

I think council is still going through the Master Plan itself. It is a big document and will take some time to fully digest. Not a lot of direct comments on that plan itself. The pullouts were the pickleball and tennis courts, and the dog park.

Tennis/Pickle ball: 5 Tennis courts, 12 pickle ball courts. Estimated between $1 and $1.5 Million. Not currently in the park budget. Parks will have $1 million in their fund at the end of this year and the 5 year plan shows about $3.5 million in their fund in 2025. It sounds like there should be enough to fund this if council chooses to move forward. It seems big to me. I remember when we had 2 tennis courts at the elementary school and they were never used, but there is some merit to having a dedicated area for both and it is my understanding that Pickle Ball has become fairly popular. I have never played it myself, though I do play tennis. I would love to hear input on the size. One issue that was brought up several times was the need for 5 courts to provide for a middle school tennis team need. These are park-board monies, so the main use would be for residents. If the schools need courts, they can also build courts. I am not trying to be harsh – and if they are built, surely, they can be used for both. I just do not want to be in a position of building this with parks money and then handing it to the schools for primary use.

The Dog Park at Colony Park Field Area: up to 2.65 acres of unused land available. The park is rarely reserved for events… it would remain of course, but it is not often reserved and thus having a dog park in the field side may provide added benefit. Ample parking, access to water supply, restrooms on site. I don’t have a dog in this fight (pun intended). Its not a lot of money, it is in a residential area, I am probably not the intended user but I know a lot of people who might bring their dogs. I have seen them in many towns and they appear to be well used spaces. Any thoughts would be appreciated on this as well.

2: The City of Hudson Pedestrian Safety Discussion

Staff presented crash history and areas of concern in town along with estimated costs for studies in various areas. I also provided staff with a list of residents who wanted to be additionally contacted as studies were conducted and results presented to the public.

Staff provided council with a matrix showing areas they have been evaluating. The document is below

Along with a 5 year history and map of pedestrian vs vehicle crash reports

Hudson does have policies in regard to traffic control and signage. It’s a lengthy document but if you would like to review it, it is linked below

We agreed that we would like to see studies in many areas move forward. Additionally, I asked that we review vehicle counts and safety records for Walters Rd & Hines Hill. It does not relate to pedestrian safety, but staff adds intersections and roads to their list for evaluation based on resident input. Walters & Hines Hill is a bad. blind intersection where vehicles move fast. I would like them to see what could be changed if change is needed.

3: Short Term Rentals

I’ll just touch on this since we have seemingly been reviewing this forever. We agreed that the business regulations on short term rentals likely accomplishes most of what we want to see. It allows for them to operate, but adds some regulations to public notice, the number of occupants and vehicles, and annual licensing requirements. It gives us the ability to revoke a permit if a location breaks those rules. It is not a zoning regulation change thus if a home is sold to someone, and the new owner wishes to have a rental, the new owner would need to apply for a new permit.

4: Rec Center

Councilwoman Kowalski recently went out to discuss the possibility of purchasing LifeCenter Plus and converting it to a rec center – because residents told her they wanted a rec center.

I will make a few points first. A single council person cannot negotiate on behalf of the city without the authority of the council body. In fact, if any assurances are made on behalf of the city, an individual council member could be in legal hot water.

Three Payment/Purchase options were offered to council in the proposal. The initial proposal itself is linked below

I read on social media that she heard enough input and that we should select between option 2 and 3 to seal the deal. Yet last night she said she doubted Hudson would go for a levy, which was one of the financing methods suggested. So, in the end I am left wondering why this was brought up at all. You don’t bring forward items you don’t believe in, as a rule, because it is disrespectful of other members time and the public's.

Several of us pointed out that we do intend on asking the public, in the form of a survey, what they want to see in both a downtown development and in other town services/benefits. We selected the market research company just last week and it will be on our council agenda this coming week. That was based on a meeting held October 13th, 2020. References were made by myself to a conjoint study matrix, which refers to all sorts of town benefits (including a rec center). Skylar Sutton and Beth Bigham referred rec centers directly in their discussion on the research. It was agreed at that meeting that Kate Schlademan, Skylar Sutton and myself work with staff on the RFP and survey methodology.

We all met individually with Thomas Sheridan and talked about the design process in late October. I know Skylar and I included similar ideas on the complexity of the study in that were it too much, we would need to break it out into 2 studies. 1 for Phase 2 (the primary reason) and 1 for town benefits (if a rec center, where, how much, what accoutrements, etc). I do not know what Kate’s meeting involved but I know she provided input. In short – research into this has been planned since October 13th last year. Hal told us we should bring it forward to council… it’s coming Hal! Cities move like battleships. It just takes a while.

I think we all agree a rec center should be discussed and researched, obviously for months. This proposal was simply the wrong way to go about it. And proposing a property tax levy after 3 council meetings? I’m sorry. I still believe the town deserves more benefits for the tax dollars they current invest in Hudson. I don’t think anyone wants a levy right now given Summit County is showing average property tax increases in Hudson of nearly 10% this year.

Lastly – Mrs Kowalski noted that the intended research was not being done with the inclusion of the comprehensive plan in mind. That, too, was intentional. In that same meeting October 13th, even Hal stated that the advisory vote on Phase 2 failed, which additionally meant the comprehensive plan itself is likely flawed. If so, we should go back to revise the plan because clearly it no longer reflected what the residents value. I said that I did not want to bias a market research company. They should survey the community to determine its values and desires. And that will allow us to see where the plan is right or wrong, and come up with better options more reflective of the community’s vision.

The comprehensive Plan is not a law. It is a suggested road map. And apparently the roadmap needs revision.

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