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.

Read more from Gregg Swanzey
  • Tyler Carelli

    Please note that he forgot to mention the Catskill Mountain Railroad. For details please visit: http://catskillmtrailroad.com and also http://savetherails.org/wordpress/

  • William F. House, M.D.

    My wife and I are very excited to be moving to Kingston this summer with our two daughters. I’m a family physician (completing my training at Kingston Hospital) and my wife is a high school math teacher. We love all that we see of Kingston so far.

  • PonckhockieCreekwoman

    Unutilized rail corridor, don’t think so. The CMRR uses it, thank you very much.

  • The CMRR doesn’t use any rail corridor connecting the Plaza to Cornell Street/midtown. It begins at the Plaza and heads out 2 miles in the other direction. It’s held a 25-year lease on the sections of corridor on which it operates (roughly 2 miles between the Plaza and the other side of 28? and west of Boiceville between Mt. Tremper and Phoenicia) and was in delinquency of its lease terms and had all but neglected the Kingston stretch until the last couple of years. Their lease expires next year, and their proposed business plan was also recently waylaid by the NYC DEP, who doesn’t want them operating on the corridor along the reservoir as they had intended. http://www.dailyfreeman.com/general-news/20150407/nyc-rules-out-train-operations-on-northern-edge-of-ashokan-reservoir-in-ulster-county

    The Greenline’s envisioned midtown hub, referred to in Gregg Swanzey’s piece above, includes a network of unused rail corridor and safely navigable “complete streets” *in midtown* for pedestrians and cyclists to get to and from every other section of the city (and beyond). I live further downtown, off of Broadway and within steps of the abandoned track that leads down to the waterfront and almost exactly where the midtown hub will connect to the Kingston Point Rail Trail. Can you guess how much I would *love* for this corridor to be maintained, safe, walkable for me and my son? Can you guess how much more I would love that than to be able to spend 20 minutes on the Polar Express once a year (even though one has very little to do with the other)?

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