NYS Awards Kingston $10 Million For Revitalization Plans
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Kingston Wednesday, announcing that the city is a winner of the second round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The award of $10 million in funding and investments will go toward invigorating the city’s Stockade District.
Kingston is the winner from the Mid-Hudson Valley region, joining nine other municipalities from the state’s 10 regional economic development regions. Cuomo delivered the news in Keegan Ales, a location where his late-day announcement began with some jesting.
“This is going to be a very quick program, and then we get to drinking,” Cuomo said. “It's got to be five o'clock somewhere. It’s almost 5 o’clock here. It’s close enough.”
More than close enough was Kingston’s plan for economic development. It was on the mark.
“You came up with a great downtown revitalization plan. High marks from everyone, using the Stockade district with the history with the restaurants and the cafes that are already growing. Commercial, mixed-use development. Bringing residential into the downtown area,” said Cuomo. “It was a brilliant, brilliant plan.”
Mayor Steve Noble says in applying for the grant, the city included a number of potential projects with the hope of building the economic hub of Ulster County in uptown Kingston.
“One is the redevelopment of our former parking garage site in uptown Kingston as well as the continued redevelopment of Dietz Stadium, the implementation of our Stockade transportation plan that we created a few years ago that has yet to be implemented,” Noble says.
And though the Stockade District is uptown, it met the requirements of applying for a grant for a downtown initiative.
“This application process was really for a compact business district and we feel that the Stockade district is our compact business district and it’s one where we felt we could really make the case for continued growth for our city and for the county and for the region,” says Noble.
Noble says all those working on the plan in Kingston will embark on a process with the state to refine the proposed plans. Plans for DRI second-round winners will be complete in early 2018. Joe Czajka is senior vice president with policy, planning and research nonprofit Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress. He says Kingston will now undergo a visioning process, prioritizing initiative components. Pattern is working with first-round Mid-Hudson DRI winner Middletown on a number of projects including components of the city’s DRI.
“In the case of Middletown, the six priority areas were based a lot on feedback from the community,” says Czajka. “So the key is really examining what the community needs, what the community wants and what’s going to work well with all of the participating collaborating partners.”
Kale Kaposhilin works on a number of private-public partnerships in the Kingston area. He says the projects for uptown Kingston will deliver economic and community impact and the DRI grant is significant because it recognizes a group of community members who work on these projects.
“All of these projects in uptown Kingston are for the benefit of all people in the community,” Kaposhilin says. “And I’m particularly proud because I feel we’re being recognized for that.”
Ulster County Executive Mike Hein was on hand for the announcement.
“Here in Ulster County, the collaboration of business, civic and academic leaders working along with the state has driven positive change and a serious uptick in our local economy.”
The second round of DRI winners marks another overall state goal to target $100 million in funding and investments to help communities identify catalytic downtown projects to boost the local economy.