Sustaining the Buzz at Kingston’s Core

2010-12-02 01.09.55

Ulster Performing Arts Center

Kingston is on the upswing, but we will need to keep the revitalization of the city’s core, Midtown, going strong if we are to sustain the good momentum we have seen over the last several years. What does this revitalization effort look like? Here’s a glimpse at the many hands behind this exciting project:

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Photo source: https://www.facebook.com/KingstonNYgov

The Mayor’s strategy focusing on “Businesses, Education, the Arts, and Technology” (BEAT) has helped us coordinate public resources and private investment. SUNY Ulster is moving in next to the KHS Campus. Kingston City Schools has embarked on a campaign for $137.5M in improvements over the next five years. A Midtown Arts District is forming, and a Kingston Arts Commission is being established by resolution of the Common Council. The Lace Mill project will provide fifty-two new housing units to artists; and the Ulster Performing Arts Center on Broadway is advancing a capital campaign that will vastly improve the facilities. The number of innovative businesses in arts manufacturing, digital media production, and internet-based technologies is on the rise.

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Photo credit: Rob Penner. Photo source: http://www.chronogram.com

Midtown feels safer. Community policing reform is having a positive impact on perceptions of the city’s core. Key properties are being renovated and placed back on the tax rolls, and the whole Broadway Corridor will soon have a makeover. Thanks to the “Building a Better Broadway” campaign and the Kingston connectivity project, Broadway will be transformed to accommodate bikes and pedestrians while smoothing the flow of traffic through a better lane configuration and new traffic signalization.

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Photo source: https://www.facebook.com/KingstonRailTrails

There will be new parks and open spaces available to the residents of Midtown. The Kingston Greenline Project, in partnership with the Kingston Land Trust and the County, will connect Midtown from Cornell Street to the Kingston Plaza via an unutilized rail corridor, and create new park space while removing barriers for pedestrians. There may be new access to the Esopus Creek. Buildings now vacant along this corridor will find new uses that will spur growth.

Meanwhile, City Hall is looking for ways to remove barriers, spur economic growth, and incentivize investment. Funding for brownfields assessment, façade grants, sidewalk improvements, and historical preservation projects are in the works. We are collaborating with groups like Midtown Rising and Citizen Action of New York (among others) to strengthen the community in every way possible. We are working regionally on putting our best face forward as the Governor rolls out his Opportunity Agenda.

And what is most exciting about Kingston at this moment is the number of people attracted here by the buzz, looking to make a mark and create a new paradigm!

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Photo source: https://www.facebook.com/KingstonNYgov

About Gregg Swanzey

Gregg Swanzey, a longtime advocate for the Hudson River and the Mid-Hudson Region, first moved to the Rondout neighborhood in Kingston with his family in 1986 fresh off several years as Captain of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. Since then, he has crossed the Atlantic three times, served as Executive Director for a gubernatorially appointed Commission in Massachusetts, and traveled to far-flung places such as St. Petersburg, Russia; Reykjavik, Iceland; and the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. After four years in City Hall as Director of Economic Development and Strategic Partnerships for the City of Kingston, he has recently come aboard as Executive Director for the Winnakee Land Trust based in Rhinebeck in Northern Dutchess County. On any given day you might see him out jogging on one of several rail trails that converge in Kingston, kayaking the Hudson over to Rhinecliff, biking Uptown to the Farmer’s Market, climbing to the top of Burger Hill in Winnakee's Drayton Grant Park, or hanging out at home in a classic 1920's Dutch Colonial overlooking the Hudson with his wife, Emma. His two daughters live and work in New York City but are regularly up the River for the weekend.

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