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City plans to buy NMC building

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The Hudson City Council emerged from an hour-long closed session Monday night and voted unanimously to approve an agreement that could lead to the city's purchase of the Nuclear Management Co. building at the corner of First and Vine streets.

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The terms of the agreement, including the purchase price, weren't disclosed.

City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick said the council had agreed with NMC to keep the terms confidential, except for those subject to the state's open records law.

The Star-Observer has submitted a formal request for a copy of the purchase agreement and is waiting for it to be made available.

A report on the content of the agreement will be posted on the Star-Observer's Web site, www.starobserver.com, when the agreement is received.

The purchase of the building still isn't a done deal, Mayor Dean Knudson said in returning a phone call from the Star-Observer Tuesday afternoon.

"We're still in the exploratory phase, even though we have reached a purchase agreement," Knudson said. "There will be a period between now and any closing when we are still investigating the property. And once that is over, the actual purchase would take place."

In 2008, the Hudson Area Library Foundation proposed moving the Hudson library to the former corporate headquarters building. That proposal, however, failed to receive the needed support from all four municipal partners of the library in a November 2008 referendum.

Knudson resurrected the idea of the building being used for public purposes after a study by Frisbie Architects found the city's public safety departments - and the police department in particular - to be in need of additional space.

The mayor proposed moving the police department and the library into the building.

In Tuesday's phone call, he said he envisions a two-stage plan for the building. During the initial five-year period, the police and library would share the building. Then the library would buy the NMC building and the police would move into a new public safety building built by the city.

"The details of this will be something we will be continuing to work on, but it involves some shuffling around of office space within City Hall," Knudson added.

St. Croix EMS would likely move into the lower level of City Hall when that space is vacated by the police.

Knudson said the city would sell the Hudson Municipal Building at 911 Fourth St. if the Hudson Area Joint Library moves into the NMC building.

"The library (board) has some decisions to make formally as far as the feasibility for them, and we've got further inspection and evaluation of the building to be done," he said, re-emphasizing that the purchase isn't a sure thing yet.

"The key thing, if we go forward with this, is that it is not an additional city building," Knudson added. "The plan is to trade up from an older, smaller building to a newer, larger building, and try to better utilize the space that we have here at City Hall. And by doing so, we should be able to solve some urgent space needs in a very cost-effective manner."

He said the plan is "well within our means" and wouldn't require a tax increase.

"It's my hope that the library supporters can really rally and get behind the concept," he said.

He's also hoping they raise a lot of money in private donations for a new library.

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Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
(715) 426-1066
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