June 16, 2010 —
Earlier this year Hudson National Honor Society students cooperated with the University of Michigan to survey what young people ages 14-18 thought about Hudson — and the results were surprising in a few ways, and not in others.
“Bring [the] bigger city to [the] small town,” said one student whose opinion seemed to reflect the general consensus of survey participants. While students largely had good things to say about Hudson, especially appreciating its small town atmosphere, sense of community and people, students also felt that the city lacked opportunities and activities for teenagers. Shopping and restaurants were of primary concern to participants, as were jobs. Over 1/3 of students reported that they were actively looking for work.
The other primary theme to emerge from the survey was the need to clean up Hudson. A full 80% of students felt this was critical to attracting new residents.
A total of 86 valid surveys were collected during the high school portion of the 2010 Hudson City Survey. Students ranged from 14-18 years old. Over 70% of respondents were between the ages of 16 and 18.
Over 1/3 (32, 37.2%) of participants had moved to Hudson at some point during their childhood, mainly from a larger city. Most of these students came from out of state (10, 31.3%) or from Adrian (8, 25%). Others came from Jonseville, Houghton Lake, Addison, East Pointe, Taylor, Soughtgate, McBain, Dearborn Heights, Coldwater, Palmyra, Morenci, and Onsted. Also, most students seemed to come from families with some roots in Hudson—only 1/3 (28, 33%) reported that no previous generations of their family had ever lived in the city.
Students were fairly evenly divided between those that were employed (30; 34.8%), unemployed and not looking for work (24; 27.9%), and unemployed but looking for work (32; 37.2%). A number of barriers were noted by those attempting to find a job:
• Shortage of positions/no call back (13 students);
• Age (9 students);
• School or sports schedule (6 students);
• Transportation (2 students).
Four students reported that they were looking for work but didn’t feel they had encountered any barriers, and one felt their only barrier was laziness.
Employed students reported doing a variety of jobs. The most popular positions were McDonald’s (4 students), childcare (3 students), Eagle Funeral Home (2 students), Bobbye’s (2 students), Ten Pin Pizza (2 students), and Addison Lumber (2 students). Other students were employed at:
Only seven students reported being undecided about their future plans. Among students who were decided, the most popular career choices were health/medicine (23 students), education (9 students), and criminal justice/forensics (6 students). In decreasing order, students also planned to pursue athletics, technology and engineering, cosmetology, business, science, human services, art, the military, construction, mechanics, veterinary medicine, culinary arts, film/theater, mortuary science, and government.
For most respondents, their future plans involved leaving Hudson. Only seventeen (19.8%) reported planning to stay after graduation or to return after college. Two students reported that they “probably” would leave. For the 67 students planning to leave, their primary reason was to attend college (33 students). Other students mentioned:
• Town too small/boring (15 students);
• Want more opportunities (8 students);
• Negative feelings toward Hudson (school, city, don’t want kids growing up there) (7 students);
• Adventure/travel (6 students);
• Military (3 students);
• To be with boyfriend (1 student).
Schooling in Hudson
When asked about their experience in high school, the majority (55, 64%) reported being satisfied with their schooling. A full 60% (33) considered teachers and staff the best thing about their educational experience. Of their teachers, students said:
• “The teachers push you to do your best, while they make things fun.”
• “The teachers are very helpful to your own needs.”
• “Teachers teach instead of lecture”
• “Teachers care about student’ opportunities.”
• “The teachers are always willing to lend a helping hand!”
• The teachers take their job seriously and raise the bar.”
• “The teachers and staff are good people to work with.”
The small school setting at Hudson was mentioned by 7 (12.7%) students; friends, athletics, courses (both advanced and easy), community support, and lunch were also named as the best thing about school.
While the majority of students were happy with their experience at Hudson, close to 1/3 (27, 31.4%) reported dissatisfaction with some aspect of their schooling. Participants were mainly frustrated with reduced class offerings (12; 44.4%) and requested increased electives/class options, AP courses and art classes. Others felt that classes were too easy (4; 14.8%). For 8 students (29.6%), their biggest frustration centered around teacher shortages and perceived changes needed in the teaching staff. Only 3 students (11.1%) cited inadequate facilities, reporting that bathrooms needed fixed, more money was needed for janitorial staff, and that the school overall was not in good shape.
Four students (7.3%) considered their schooling to be “ok” or were somewhat satisfied with their education. These students mentioned being close to teachers but feeling the quality of students was sometimes poor, requested increased course options, and generally felt that there was “room for improvement.”
Life in Hudson
When asked to provide an overall impression of living in Hudson, students were generally positive. Of the 62 students who provided an opinion, 41 (66%) stated that they liked the town. They called Hudson:
• “A great small town.”
• “Great community.”
•”Good place to live.”
•”An overall friendly community; supportive.”
•”A good town to grow up in.”
• “Family friendly.”
Only 14.5% (9) of students considered Hudson “ok” or “alright,” and just under 20% (12; 19.4%) had an overall negative impression of the city.
Students expanded on their views of the city by offering their favorite and least favorite things about Hudson.
Top Favorite Things
Top Least Favorite Things
• Sense of community/know everyone (22 responses); Nothing to do (37 responses)
• Small town (21 responses); Everyone knows your business (6 responses)
• People (17 responses); Too small/not enough businesses/town too cliquey (4 responses each)
Sports, good tradition, school, The Market House, the movie theater, Bobbye’s, activities, safety, and summers were also listed as student favorites.
Buildings and houses needing cleanup, rural location, bullying, taxes, the police force, cutting of summer recreation programs, winter, and not being “country” enough were students’ other least favorite things about Hudson.
Participants were asked not only what changes they’d like to see in Hudson, but also what improvements to things already in Hudson could make the town a better place to live. Their top suggestions were:
• Clean up and improve parks (14; 16.3%);
• Paint/fix up buildings (10; 11.5%);
• Improve the movie theater (10; 11.5%);
• Use empty buildings (7; 8.1%);
• Clean, especially downtown (7; 8.1%);
• Use vacant land for houses and other buildings (6; 7%).
Other suggestions included improving the school, replacing failing/junk/obscure businesses, improving sports offerings (bike path, bowling alley, tennis courts, baseball field, golf), fixing up Radio Shack, improving roads, fixing up the community center, and making Bean Creek look nicer.
Students suggested a wide variety of entertainment options they felt would make life in Hudson more enjoyable. The top suggestions were:
• Mall/shopping (19; 22.1%);
• Ice or roller skating rink (16; 18.6%);
• Community pool (11; 12.8%);
• Bigger movie theater or a movie store (10; 11.6%).
Other suggestions included a teen club, amusement park, skate park, arcade, increased sports options, more musical events, Taco Bell, putt-putt golf, fairs and carnivals, and community theater.
Seven students mentioned the need for places that teens could hang out, while one student wanted a “variety of things to do so that we don’t have to figure things out for ourselves.”
The vast majority of students (65, 75.6%), wanted to see the number of restaurants increased in Hudson. Of this number, 42 (64.6%) requested Taco Bell. Other fast food requests included Wendy’s, Arby’s, Rally’s, KFC, Burger King, Chick-Fil-A and A & W. Several students wanted to see Starbucks or a coffee shop. Twelve students (18.5%) suggested increasing the number of sit down restaurants, with specific requests for Applebee’s, Olive Garden, Mongolian BBQ, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Red Lobster.
Other students suggested increasing retail businesses (21; 24.4%), primarily by adding clothing stores or a Wal-Mart. Hunting stores, Guitar Center, and Tractor Supply were also mentioned.
Bringing People to Hudson
When asked what businesses or entertainment would draw people to Hudson, students’ answers strongly mirrored their answers in the previous section. Over 40% (39, 45.3%) reported the need for more restaurants, both fast food and sit down. Again, Taco Bell, at 53.8% (21) of those requesting more restaurants, was the most popular choice. Among sit down restaurants, Old Country Buffet and Applebee’s were mentioned specifically, as was the general need for bigger name, franchise restaurants.
The second most popular answer was the need for more stores (33; 38.4%). A mall, Wal-Mart, larger supermarket, and clothing stores were the primary things participants felt would increase traffic to Hudson.
Other suggestions including increasing factories and jobs, an ice rink, roller skating, water park, skate park, fairground, better schools, movie theaters, teen clubs, sports, a casino, parks and a public pool.
Students felt that several things could make Hudson a more attractive place for people to live or move to. While improving the schools, attracting more jobs, energy efficiency, increasing home ownership, and creating more things to do were mentioned, the majority of students (69, 80%) believed that physical clean up of the town was critical. In order, participants mentioned a need to:
• Clean up/renovate buildings, both downtown and uptown (32, 46.3%);
• Plant more trees and flowers (11; 15.9%);
• Clean up houses (9; 13%);
• Clean and fix streets (9, 13%)
• Clean up in general – no specifics mentioned (5, 7.2%);
• Clean up or create more parks (3, 4.3%)
At the end of the interview, students were asked if they had any additional comments. Listed below are their final suggestions/thoughts;
• I love the way our town comes together during football season.
• I love Taco Bell and so do plenty of other students. Open one and everyone would love you.
• I think Hudson would be better if there was a Wal-mart and Taco Bell
• Have the police make sure people stop at stop on West St. and Tiger Dr. And drive 25 mph. Very dangerous for the kids.
• We need more jobs and job opportunities.
• We need a Taco Bell.
• We need a Taco Bell or KFC
• Hudson has potential but needs to be open to broader ideas.
• It’s a nice place to live and grow up, but there’s not much yet to keep people here.
• Hockey at Will Carleton is epic.
• It’s so boring!
• It is a good place to be raised.
• Better town if we cleaned it up and made it nicer.