RUPCO Receives Ulster County Executive Arts Awards

RUPCO 1 of 9 Honorees of Ulster County Executive's Arts AwardsOn Tuesday, June 6, Arts Mid-Hudson will present RUPCO with an Ulster County Executive’s Arts Award in the “Business/Corporation” category at its annual fundraiser to be held at the Saugerties Performing Arts Factory.

“To share a night of recognition with the creative community — especially our partners Center for Creative Education and Lynne Wood and Stephen Blauweiss, documentary producers of “Lost Rondout,” — is a true testament to what we can achieve together,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer. “To be recognized for our contribution to the arts community with a nod from County Executive Mike Hein and AMH is fantastic, and we celebrate RUPCO’s high and low-profile work to expand Ulster County’s cultural vitality.”

RUPCO’s higher profile engagement on behalf of the arts community includes:

  • Creative placemaking through historic preservation of the once-vacant curtain-factory-factory-turned Lace Mill, a nationally recognized award-winning effort in community development complete with three gallery spaces, community offerings, and affordable living in 55 apartments with a preference for artists
  • Host site for Kingston Sculpture Biennial in 2015 where nine large-format pieces shared indoor and outdoor space, including “Big Boy” a 15-foot steel rocking horse at The Lace Mill entrance
  • Integrating the arts community with seniors and working families at the intergenerational campus, Woodstock Commons which preferences seven apartments for artists exploring their talent

Some of RUPCO’s lesser know affiliations with the regional cultural exchange include:

  • Hosting the annual Kingston High School Student Exhibit in conjunctions with the Women’s Studio Workshop held each year at The Kirkland
  • Serving as a nonprofit partner/grant partner for individual artists applying to AMH and other artist-work grants
  • Supporting the production of “Lost Rondout: A Story of Urban Removal” as one of its executive producers
  • Spearheading the new construction Energy Square in midtown Kingston and future home of Center for Creative Education and Hudson Valley Tech Meet Up
  • Collaborating with StockadeWorks to bring TV/film sound stages, production studio and training center to The Metro; The Metro will also offer Maker’s Spaces for creative manufacturing, light industry and large-format artistry.

RUPCO is one of nine honorees including:

  • Woodstock Film Festival (Art Organization)
  • Center for Creative Education (Arts in Education)
  • Jane Bloodgood Abrams (Individual Artist)
  • Norm Magnusson (Art in Public Places)
  • Katharine L. McKenna (Patron)
  • Lynn Woods & Stephen Blauweiss for “Lost Rondout: A Story of Urban Removal” (Special Citation)
  • Barbara Bravo (Volunteer)
  • Niaya DeLisi (Student with Exceptional Promise in the Arts)

“We see Kingston’s new economy steeped in The Arts, from manufacturing hard goods used in creating them to establishing new space for creative talents to thrive,” adds O’Connor. “In the process, RUPCO’s vision – to create strong, diverse and vibrant communities with opportunity and a home for everyone – supports the work and homelife of creative people looking to call Kingston ‘Home.'”

Open Letter to the Community

In 2016, RUPCO celebrated its 35th anniversary as a not-for-profit, community development corporation. Led by a volunteer board of directors, our mission is to create homes, support people and improve communities. Our vision is for strong, vibrant and diverse communities with opportunity and a home for everyone.

RUPCO works broadly in the area of housing and community development. Last year, we helped 81 families purchase their first homes in Ulster County. We proudly administer the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) in Ulster and Greene Counties, serving nearly 2,000 working families. We market NYSERDA’s Green Jobs/Green New York program in 10 counties including Westchester. This program encourages homeowners to have energy audits performed and then to make energy retrofits that save energy and money while creating jobs for local contractors.

RUPCO has long served as the administrative consultant for Ulster County’s Continuum of Care approach to homelessness. Over the past decade, our role has guided the Continuum’s receipt of over $11 Million to support an array of nonprofits serving the County’s homeless; in turn, these partners provide homes and support services while saving local taxpayers significant dollars.

Our real estate development work has included Buttermilk Falls in the Village of Ellenville where we built and sold 15 townhomes to first-time homebuyers. We also constructed the innovative Woodstock Commons, an intergenerational campus of 53 homes for seniors, working families and artists. In developing Woodstock Commons, RUPCO overcame significant NIMBY opposition. Now that the campus is built and a demonstrated viable part of community, its acceptance is universal. We are very proud of our award-winning work at The Lace Mill that transformed an old boarded-up factory building and created 55 spectacular rental homes with preference for artists.

Landmark Place, drone view, rendering of both buildingsRUPCO has proposed Landmark Place to return the Alms House to its original purpose of providing affordable and stable housing to Kingston’s most vulnerable people. The concept, which involves the historic restoration of the existing building and construction of a new building, came about as a direct response to the need we see every day at RUPCO. Indeed, when the phone rings today, as it does every day, from people in need of an affordable housing solution, we have no resources. None! There are rarely vacancies at the affordable housing complexes. The Section 8 wait list is closed for the foreseeable future, and more than a thousand people are stalled on our wait-list for rental assistance or an affordable home. In our wok with the County’s Continuum of Care, we count a daily average of 160 single homeless people – many of them seniors – being ill-housed in costly motel rooms. The idea for Landmark Place is a response to our observation of the area’s boarding homes that have little choice but to inadequately crowd four people to a room. This type of treatment has consequences and costs as Health Alliance CEO David Scarpino recently reported:

When we look at people who have had four or more hospitalizations in the last 12 months, it comes down to two populations, people with respiratory problems and people with behavioral health problems – mostly the elderly – and we’ve chosen to focus on the issue of behavioral health because it is so profound in our community. Last year we had one person come to the hospital 64 times. When you have people living in shelters, single rooms, flop houses and hotels, they feel insecure, they have no social contact and they are lonely.”

He’s right. Surely, we can do better.

Last summer, we responded to Governor Cuomo’s call to create 6,000 units of supportive housing across New York State and applied to the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI). This program saves local taxpayer dollars in several ways. First, by providing stable and supportive housing, vulnerable seniors stay out of the emergency rooms, and have less interface with our local law enforcement and court systems. Secondly, this state funding provided by ESSHI, will pay for rent and support services at Landmark Place and will replace local dollars that are now contributing towards the daily costs of shelters and motel rooms of nearly $100 per day.

RUPCO Paid $215K in 2016 Kingston taxes We are putting the Alms House property onto the tax roll for the first time in its history and we expect to pay property taxes of nearly $70,000 per year. Although a non-profit, RUPCO believes strongly in contributing to the tax base and is proud of its record as a taxpayer. In 2016, RUPCO and its affiliates paid over $215,000 in property taxes in the City of Kingston. Current New York State law requires local assessors to strictly value affordable housing by the income approach, recognizing that lower rents produce far less income than market units to pay for operating expenses including taxes. New York State also authorizes local taxing jurisdictions to enter into Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTS) to both for-profits and non-profits for economic and community benefits including job creation and affordable housing. Landmark Place – with its proposed property tax contribution coupled with the aforementioned savings to local taxpayers – makes for a truly wise economic investment.

Landmark Place will offer the first new, affordable senior housing in the City of Kingston since 2001 when Brigham Senior Housing was created on O’Neill Street. In sum, Landmark Place will offer 66 rental homes for seniors, including 35 supportive homes for seniors who are experiencing, or are threatened by, homelessness. The campus is designed with health and safety in mind, so that our seniors can thrive. Health and safety measures include a 24-hour-7-day-a-week security detail plus on-site staff including a full-time LPN, a Supportive Care Manager, and a live-in maintenance supervisor. Landmark Place will also offer van transportation to its seniors without cars.

Landmark Place offers a unique opportunity for our community to come together and provide an oasis for our seniors for the next century. To provide a home for vulnerable elders who are frail or have a disabling condition. To hand a set of apartment keys back to a veteran who served our country during the Vietnam War. Or to help a loved one that is in need of a safe, accessible and affordable apartment – one that is nearby to you and your family – to grow old. This type of opportunity comes along once in a generation – to lock in place a community asset akin to that which our forefathers did over 140 years ago – a home for our elders.

To those who live nearby and have expressed concern – we hope that you recognize the recent shift that we have made in our proposal for Landmark Place to make it an age-restricted senior campus where everyone must be age 55 or over. We believe this should lessen any fears or concerns regarding safety for your neighborhood. We also intend to invite a few neighbors, if interested, to join a neighborhood committee for Landmark Place to monitor the process during construction, lease-up, and operation and offer a forum to discuss issues and concerns. We hope a few will take us up on this offer.

Kevin O'Connor, Chief Executive Officer, RUPCOWe hope that the entire community will voice their support for this opportunity to return a vacant property to historic and productive use that will provide our seniors with a remarkable living campus for the next century. Landmark Place, a place to call home.

Sincerely, 

Kevin O’Connor
Chief Executive Officer, RUPCO

Dorms and Domiciles

Stephanie A. Lopez, the authorMy relationship with home hasn’t changed much in my twenty years of living. Born in what was once called St. Vincent’s Hospital (now Richmond Memorial Hospital), my parents raised me in a small, modest apartment by the Staten Island Mall. The apartment occupies the lower level of a two-story home, the upper level of which my aunt and landlady occupies. My parents, who were born and raised in Manhattan, elected to raise their children in Staten Island twenty-two years ago, and it was then that they settled down in my now-Home.

My Home is nothing like my dorm room, or what my relatives affectionately call my “home.” Often, when I am returning to school after a long break, my mother will kiss me goodbye and say in a sing-song voice, “Have a safe trip home!” Moments like this stick out in my mind, times when my mother could not be more wrong.

Don’t get me wrong.  I do love my residence hall and the SUNY New Paltz campus as a whole. Nonetheless, that is not my home; that is my school, the rock that grounds my studies and the work that I tirelessly undertake everyday. But the dorm, that is not my home. Home is where my mother makes arroz con gandules, or rice with beans, and pernil, or roast pork, around the holidays. Home is where my siblings and I poorly play Mario Kart 8 then swear that we will come in first place next time. Home is where I hang up the hand-drawn Marvel’s Avengers poster my dad drew for me last year.

Still, I know I am very fortunate to readily conjure a vision of home. Some people, like the same man who drew me my Avengers poster, are not so lucky. For the past three years, my dad’s been couch-surfing after a less-than-civil separation from my mother rendered him homeless. My siblings and I watched helplessly as our father migrated across Staten Island, exhausting his reserve of friends and relatives who could afford to house him. Currently, he is residing with one of my uncles and his family, but there is no telling where he will end up next.

RUPCO’s daily work helps people like my father secure safe and affordable housing. Their initiatives have touched countless lives in the city of Kingston and beyond. Because of my work at RUPCO, I’ve facilitated important conversations with my father about his future and finding the help he needs to secure that future. Every day, when I see the faces of those who have benefitted from RUPCO’s mission, I think of my father. It is my pleasure to assist in RUPCO’s efforts and to be a part of their goal of creating homes, building communities, and impacting lives.

Stephanie A. Lopez is a graduating senior from SUNY New Paltz and is currently the Editorial Assistant in RUPCO’s Communications and Resource Development Department.

 

“Those People” are People Like My Parents

Welcome signAfter attending the public hearing on February 28, 2017 (held by Kingston City Planning Department on proposed rezoning in the area of 300 Flatbush Avenue), I feel compelled to voice my concern for one argument, in particular, raised in opposition. I find it incredibly offensive that some project opponents would characterize potential residents of Landmark Place as aggressive criminals, waiting to attack our children and seniors. Those characterizations are without any valid basis, and reflect those speakers’ ignorance of the people within our community who need stable, supportive and dignified homes. I hope that the members of the Planning Board will reject this fearmongering as the transparent scare tactic that it is.

To counter that scare tactic, I’d like to share with you a portrait of who I see as potential residents of Landmark Place, by way of the example of my own family’s story. My parents do not live locally, and will not be applying to live in Landmark Place. I use them only to demonstrate the population that Landmark Place hopes to serve.

My parents are both college educated, tax-paying citizens, with no criminal histories. My father was a successful banking executive and my mother was a special needs teacher. In 2006, my father decided to start a leasing/financing business with a couple of partners, in which he invested almost all of the personal wealth he had amassed over his professional career.  In late 2007/early 2008 when the economy collapsed, he lost everything. For the next several years, he worked when he could, but depleted the remaining savings he had left, attempting to pay-down creditors, their mortgage and other bills. Ultimately, my parents lost their home to foreclosure and filed for bankruptcy.

Their financial troubles took a toll on their relationship, and after 44 years of marriage, my parents then got divorced.

My father now lives in an apartment that he can’t afford. He is diagnosed as clinically depressed and requires medication and treatment. At times, he is forced to decide between paying rent or paying copays for treatment and medications. He has been actively looking for a more affordable living situation for the past year, with no success.

Around the time of my parents’ divorce, my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer that had metastasized to her lung. She had the lung tumor surgically removed this past December, and is currently in the middle of six-months of chemotherapy. She would like to work, but can’t, because the chemo has made her too weak, and because her compromised immune system makes it too dangerous for her to be around children, or people in general. Her paid leave runs out in April 2017, when she will no longer be able to afford the apartment she is currently living in.

Obviously, neither of my parents will be living in Landmark Place.  However, they are both appropriate examples of good people, who despite their best efforts, still need assistance by way of affordable, stable housing. Most of us are just a financial crisis, or a divorce, or a serious illness away from needing this help.

To vilify and dehumanize the people whom Landmark Place could potentially help, in an attempt to incite opposition to this project, is disgraceful.

Adam T. Mandell headshot, RUPCO board memberThis post was adapted from a letter to the Kingston Planning Department and entered into public record in support of rezoning proposed at 300 Flatbush Avenue. The former City of Kingston Almshouse currently sits vacant at this location, the proposed new home of Landmark Place, am affordable senior and supportive housing solution.

Adam Mandell is a RUPCO Board member since 2016. He is also a partner at Maynard, O’Connor, Smith & Catalinotto, LLP.

Gimme Roots

Gimme roots, ivy creeping on brick walkwayShe opens the door to a Lace Mill gallery. She reminds me of every favorite Art and English teacher I’ve ever had. She’s an accomplished writer, poet and Mom. A part of Ulster County and its thriving artist community for her entire life, Holly is one of the people that makes our area the amazing place it is.

As we sit on soft leather couches in the gallery, other residents stop in and out, asking for an opinion on an art project or quick feedback on an inspiration. I ask her if she knows her neighbors, really knows her neighbors. Is The Lace Mill a social building? Her eyes light up.  Residents of The Lace Mill bond over everything: their families, growing up, religion, even politics. At this point in time, almost everyone in the building seems to love the Netflix show, The Adventures of Kimmy Schmidt.

“I do know my neighbors, and I love my neighbors!” extolls Holly. “I was thinking just today that it would be weird for me to move away and not see them anymore. And that’s after less than a year.”  In that time, Holly’s life has changed for the better. Within a place she calls Home, she embraces her true self: a comforting, welcoming, and happy woman. With great shoes.

Holly at The Lace Mill

Holly dressed as Queen Bee for Sinterklaas, outside The Lace Mill

“It’s been a hard few years in these parts,” Holly says.  “Because the apartments are subsidized, my rent is lower than average local rents, and that’s changed my life substantially.  I had been fighting for a while the idea of having to leave Ulster County, which has been home all my life, to find some place more affordable. Since being here, I’ve applied for artist residencies (where you go and just write for an entire month), and I am leading a poetry workshop in Missouri this summer, at an academic conference about Laura Ingalls Wilder. She wrote The Little House on the Prairie books, which are important historical documents about pioneer life.  Maybe even more exciting, I am going to have an article in the local paper, which I have wanted to do since High School. Lace Mill has let me focus on creating the life I want, rather than imagining it to be somewhere else, in some imaginary future.”

 

She’s realized what a role being safely housed plays in much mental illness, something she spoke about at a recent public hearing in support of Landmark Place. She’s seen first-hand how housing stability plays a huge role in productivity, and what a difference secure housing makes in a person’s life.

Because she’s got a solid place to live, Holly can now open herself to new writing opportunities and collaborations. She plans to hold poetry workshops and finish her new book. Since moving in to The Lace Mill, she’s coordinated several group shows, called Samplers, and gave a public reading of A Christmas Carol in December. Seeing people excited to create new work is what makes the time putting together things like The Spring Sampler worth it, and she loves brainstorming with other creative spirits in The Lace Mill.

She and I agree that having a secure place to live makes you a happier person. Life is hard enough. There are lots of people suffering from all sorts of different things. “I think that when you chronically don’t know where you’re going to live in a year, mental wellness suffers. Everybody needs a place to regroup and ‘just be.’ Moving around a lot, or not having a place to land — it definitely makes a hard situation worse.”

Holly knows what Home means to her. She happily and knowingly appreciates her neighbors, and newfound opportunities. Having roots for the first time, Holly thrives, more and more every day.

This interview has been updated, reflecting a few of Holly’s more current artistic activities.

Rachel Barnett headshotFreelance writer Rachel Barnett wrote this interview while serving as Editorial Assistant in RUPCO’s Communications Department (Fall 2016) as part of the SUNY-Ulster Internship Program. Rachel too knows the important connection between housing and mental wellness; her brother strives for mental wellness, too. Rachel has seen the benefits of stable housing and its affect on his life, and hers. A lover of all things avante garde, Rachel too appreciates fabulous glasses and great shoes.  

 

 

WIMBY: Welcome in My Backyard

WIMBY: Welcome in My BackyardTwo words I believe are very dangerous together, though benign alone: Us. Them.

Uttered in singularity, neither word brings much to mind except perhaps a grade school spelling test or two. Uttered together in virtually any context, and the speaker has just created a dichotomy that truly does not have to exist.

Yet we do this. We speak like this daily.

“Why are they so much different than us?” “Why are they taking what belongs to us”?

And when we consider our neighborhoods, our villages and cities, we pit “us” vs. “them,” and we create the phenomenon called NIMBY. Not In My Back Yard.

Let’s be honest. When we say “Why do they have to live here with us?” that is exactly what we are saying.  We are saying that “they” don’t belong. But we do. Do we stop and think what gives us the right to make this determination? Do we stop to consider who has helped each of us along the way? Do we consider that at any moment “us” can become “them”? In fact, each of one of us is a “they” to someone else.

No. We don’t consider those questions. We move forward. We close our eyes to our neighbors who have come on hard times. We close our eyes as we walk in Kingston, focusing on the new shiny renovated spaces, the blue sky, the historic district. We close our eyes to our community. We miss the beauty that can be found in need. We miss the opportunity to be more than ourselves.

We, as individual members of our community, cannot do many things on our own. We cannot individually make the opioid drug epidemic go away. We can’t stop people from developing terminal illnesses. We cannot individually hide on our porches, behind our picture windows, behind our fear hoping that someday we will go for a walk in Kingston and all of the people who make us uncomfortable — just because they are them and not us — have been cared for by someone else because we don’t want to do it.

But, a community that decides to do right by everyone who is a member of that community, can collectively do anything.

It starts with admitting to ourselves that we all know right from wrong. We were all taught this at some point. And, even if we weren’t, we know right from wrong because we are human.

We share this community, but we do not get to choose who our community members are. Learn about the community, love the community, enjoy your neighborhoods, parks and restaurants.

But never forget that this community is our community, collectively. Beautiful, ugly, new, old, rich, poor, homeowners and homeless. No matter how hard we try to separate “us” from “them,” it is impossible because it is not reality, nor should it be.

I offer WIMBY. Welcome In My Back Yard. Let’s change the conversation. Let’s open ourselves up to the opportunities that come when we avail ourselves to them.

Let’s be WE.

And most of all, let us do what is right.

Eliza Bozenski, RUPCO Advisory CouncilEliza Bozenski is a member of RUPCO’s Advisory Council since 2017. She also works as Director of Anderson Foundation for Autism, and has been with that organization since 2006.

UNITY: Artists’ Corridor Partners in Collaborative Exhibit

Election Night March 2017 by Leslie Bender

The UNITY show is a partnership of artists from along the Cornell Street corridor — the Shirt Factory, Pajama Factory, Brush Factory, Cornell Street Studios and The Lace Mill — whose works will be exhibited at The Lace Mill’s East Gallery and West Gallery, 165 Cornell Street, Kingston.  The show’s opening reception will be held Saturday, May 6 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Disciplines include painting, sculpture, ceramics, performance, installation, music, and dance, video, puppetry for kids, and sonic meditation. Artwork, like Election Night March 2017 by Leslie Bender, at right will be featured.

A closing reception the following on Saturday, May 13 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., features live performance-based art such as dance, video and music.

Inspired by the newly launched Midtown Arts District (MAD) last year, Lace Mill community arts liaison Sarah Carlson and Shirt Factory events coordinator Lisa Kelley started discussing the possibilities of joining forces to create a dynamic group show of the buildings’ artists while also supporting the mission and initiatives of MAD.

American Flag by Sarah Carlson

American Flag by Sarah Carlson

Carlson explains, “I wanted to do a show that was about what we have in common, rather than what divides us, and to have that conversation as a community. It seemed sweet to open that dialogue to the arts corridor right here and a nice way for us to dialogue about what’s happening on the local national stage. As artists, that’s what we do.”

Kelley adds, “I love Sarah’s idea for bringing our artists together with the theme of unity.  Over the last year, the Midtown Arts District and Mike Piazza’s artist factory buildings have supported this kind of collaboration between artists.  I believe we’re planting some fertile seeds for exciting partnerships in the future.”

High Water Mark by Nicholas Kahn & Richard Selesnick

High Water Mark by Nicholas Kahn & Richard Selesnick

Nearly two dozen artists will participate in UNITY including:

Leslie Bender
Micah Blumenthal
Stephanie Bonavito
Tania Canteli
Sarah Carlson
Amy Cote
Ray Curran
Joan Ellis
Alexis Feldheim
Rosalie Frankel
Green Palette Community Center
Patrice Heber
Nina Isabelle
Susanna Kearney
Lisa B Kelley
Maki Kurokawa
James Martin
Dan McManus
Diana Seiler
Charlotte Tusch
Frank Waters
Eli Winograd

For more information:
Sarah Carlson at The Lace Mill 917-428-3297
Lisa Barnard Kelley at The Shirt Factory  845-901-0244

Regional Economic Development Finds Local Pulse of Latino/Hispanic Business Needs

First local meeting of Regional Initiative exploring Latino/Hispanic Economic Development

Earlier this week, a small group met at The Kirkland to lay groundwork for a larger conversation around economic access and business building in our Spanish-speaking communities.

Community Capital NY (CCNY) and Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress (Pattern) are collaborating on an initiative to establish a road map for additional business resources and access to credit for new and existing Latino/Hispanic enterprise. The initiative focuses on the cities of Beacon, Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Newburgh, Middletown and Port Jervis.

“Pattern & CCNY asked for our help in gathering the local perspective. We’ll hold business forums to collect community input. We invite Latino/Hispanic community members to come forward and share what business owners and entrepreneurs need to be successful. We’re asking simple questions like what’s needed, how’s credit working (or not), and what resources are out there to build opportunity,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO. “In the three relevant communities we serve — Newburgh, Kingston and Middletown — the Hispanic/Latino population is strong. Jobs and new business creation are top of mind for everyone, no matter color, race or culture. But we know access to resources is not equal. This initiative spearheaded by CCNY and Pattern will explore the current situation and make recommendations for our communities moving forward.” Community Capital and Pattern, with guidance from local advisory committees, will conduct local outreach to determine needs and barriers within the Latino/Hispanic business community. Based on this fact-finding research, the team will recommend best practices and develop a guide of local and regional resources available to the Latino/Hispanic business community.

Present at the Economic Development for Hispanic and Latino Businesses meet-up (pictured above) were Emily Hamilton (Deputy Director of Housing at Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress), David Sosa Rosa (Kingston business owner of La Roca Floral), Simone Obermaier (Senior Vice President of Lending at Community Capital New York), Hugo Jule (outreach coordinator at RUPCO’s Green Jobs | Green New York Program), Maru Gonzalez (Executive Assistant to the CEO) and Kevin O’Connor, both of RUPCO. The group identified first steps in gauging the climate of local Latino/Hispanic business, its networks and resource access. “We’ll hold a few more meetings here at The Kirkland, talk with more people with the help of pastors and the church community, to make people aware that this conversation is happening,” adds Maru Gonzalez. “To be a part of this local conversation, contact me at (845) 331-2140 and I’ll put you on our email list.” If you have questions about the broader Community Capital NY-Pattern for Progress initiative, contact Kim Jacobs (CCNY) at (914) 747-8020 or Joe Czajka (Pattern) at (845) 565-4900.

MyKingstonKids Fest2017 at The Lace Mill

Kids Festival at The Lace Mill

The Lace Mill is the place to be for MyKingstonKids Fest2017, a free indoor/outdoor event created for local children. Your child will enjoy an eclectic experience of  interactive educational tools; engaging, fun-loving events; and age-appropriate entertainment. MyKingstonKids Fest2017 includes a children’s art show, music, performances, dance classes, arts & crafts, games, and more. MyKingstonKids Fest 2017 is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Lace Mill, 165 Cornell Street, Kingston.

For early-bird, get-up-and-go kids, MyKingstonKids Fest offers a Yoga Fun Class at 10:30 a.m.;  for parents and those young-at-heart, an adult beginners yoga class runs at the same time.

And who doesn’t love a Wonderland Tea Party? Tea Party-ers dress up, enjoy “tea & snacks,” parlor games and entertainment; choose from one of two age groups, ages 4-6 and 7-9. Register in advance as space is limited by visiting MyKingstonKids Fest2017.

Follow the latest updates on the MyKingston Kids Fest2017 Facebook page, too.

Collaboration Transforms Newburgh’s Historic East End

Newburgh Rebuilding Community One Home at a TimeCollaboration is key to the renewal of downtown Newburgh. To celebrate that collective vision, regional housing & community developer RUPCO, of Kingston, hosts a groundbreaking ceremony TODAY, Friday, April 7 at Safe Harbors Lobby at The Ritz, 107 Broadway, from 11a.m. to 1 p.m.

The groundbreaking ceremony officially recognizes the groundwork laid by the Newburgh Neighborhood CORe Revitalization community redevelopment discussions. The free, public event marks the construction launch at several properties, a scattered-site development symbolizing teamwork among RUPCO, NYS Homes & Community Renewal, Newburgh Community Land Bank, Safe Harbors of the Hudson, and other state and local partners. In the next 18 months, RUPCO plans to bring 45 affordable apartments online on five city blocks just off Broadway. The 15 buildings under historic redevelopment include homes located on Lander, South Miller, First, Johnston  and DuBois Streets. Click here for the walking tour map.

Ayanna Martine, a local singer and SUNY-Orange graduate, will kick off the festivities at 11 a.m. Representatives from partner agencies, as well as dignitaries from the NYS Assembly, NYS Attorney General’s Office, City of Newburgh, and NeighborWorks America will take the podium at 11:20 a.m. Light refreshments and a walking tour of the neighborhood round out the day’s events. The program outlines the many partners participating:
Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer, RUPCO
Catherine A. Maloney, Chairperson, RUPCO Board of Directors
Madeline Fletcher, Executive Director, Newburgh Community Land Bank
Lisa Silverstone, Executive Director, Safe Harbors of the Hudson
Darren Scott, Upstate East Director of Development, NYS Homes & Community Renewal
Chris Wheaton, on behalf of Frank Skartados, NYS Assemblyman, 10th District
Jill Faber, Assistant District Attorney in Charge, NYS Attorney General’s Office-Poughkeepsie
K. James Dittbrenner, Managing Director, Sterling National Bank
Judy Kennedy, Mayor, City of Newburgh
Michael Ciaravino, City Manager, City of Newburgh
Richard Carron, Chief of Police, City of Newburgh
Joe Donat, on behalf of Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney
Karen Mejia, Councilmember, City of Newburgh
Joan Straussman, Regional Vice President, NeighborWorks America

39a Johnston Street, Newburgh

39a Johnston Street, Newburgh

“Reviving the City of Newburgh has to be a collaborative approach,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO (Kingston). “Newburgh’s time is now. We’re here to rebuild community one home at a time. With the help of our partners and local homeowners, together we can turn things around with housing as the keystone. Through this restoration work, we’re preserving the historic value of this neighborhood’s past and investing in this city’s future. These homes are proof of the momentum and imagination of what can be NEW-burgh.”

RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal said, “The Newburgh CORe Neighborhood Revitalization Project is an important part of Governor Cuomo’s commitment to investing in projects that breathe new life into distressed communities. We are excited about the potential this development has for revitalizing Newburgh, preserving pieces of the city’s history, and providing 45 quality homes for people who need them. Thank you to RUPCO and all the partners who are coming together to make this new development a reality.” For more on low income tax credits, check out this infographic.
 
“Safe Harbors of the Hudson is very excited to be part of the further development of Newburgh’s downtown and the revitalization its neighborhoods,” notes Lisa Silverstone, Executive Director at Safe Harbors of the Hudson, Newburgh. “We look forward to our partnership with RUPCO and expanding our innovative model of property management beyond the Cornerstone Residence.”

“Newburgh Community Land Bank is thrilled with the opportunities the RUPCO project will bring to the neighborhood and its residents,” says Madeline Fletcher, Executive Director at Newburgh Community Land Bank. “In collaboration with the other homeowners, Habitat for Humanity and other property purchasers, we are confident that this neighborhood will continue its transformation into a community of choice.”

ABOUT THE REDEVELOPMENT
Newburgh Community Land Bank facilitated the property transaction with assistance from NYS Homes & Community Renewal and the NYS Attorney General’s Office. RUPCO’s scatter-site development includes 15 buildings with a mix of 1 studio, 25 one-bedroom, 10 two-bedroom and 9 three-bedroom apartments for income-eligible individuals and working families. Apartments range in size from 482-1348 square feet. A Community policing sub-station will occupy 39B Johnston Street. Upon completion, Safe Harbors will serve as property manager. Seven apartments will be available to middle-income families. Seven apartments will be set-aside for persons, including veterans, who are homeless, and will include supportive services provided by RUPCO. Additionally, the project will provide a preference in renting apartments to up to twelve tenants who are involved in artistic and literary activities.

ABOUT THE PARTNERS

RUPCO, affordable housing advocate and innovative community developer in the Hudson Valley, is a charter member of NeighborWorks America, a national network of 240 housing and community development change agents. RUPCO affects the lives of over 8,000 people through its work with homelessness, rental assistance, foreclosure prevention, first-time homebuyers, home rehabilitation and energy efficiency and real estate development. RUPCO currently owns/manages 16 properties with 411 apartments providing homes to over 560 people. The majority of those residents represent our community’s most vulnerable populations: the elderly, seniors, disabled and working class families. Through its NeighborWorks America HomeOwnership Center, RUPCO helped 30 first-time homebuyers since January 1, 81 in 2016, and another 75 in 2015, to achieve their dreams of homeownership. Through its subsidiary, RDAC assists Orange County homeowners with a variety of homeownership, foreclosure and weatherization services. Over the last five years, RUPCO’s energy efficiency and weatherization program, Green Jobs | Green New York, has helped 2,409 homeowners complete energy audits; 523 of those families have conducted energy retrofits worth $5.8 million to the local economy, saving money and energy throughout its 10-county reach. With 65 employees working in five offices, RUPCO is spearheading $71-million worth of real estate development in the Hudson Valley, including Energy Square, Landmark Place, and The Metro in Kingston and the 15-property Newburgh effort. RUPCO most recently received Preservation Action’s “Best of 2016” award for its historic preservation work at The Lace Mill, a long-vacant curtain factory transformed into 55 apartments preferenced for artists in midtown Kingston. For more information, visit www.rupco.org.

NEWBURGH COMMUNITY LAND BANK (NCLB)
is a leader in New York State on the forefront of land banking strategies. The NCLB implements innovative strategies designed to return vacant and abandoned property to productive use and the City’s tax rolls. The Land Bank holds, maintains, rehabilitates, and disposes of these parcels in order to ensure that they help revitalize Newburgh’s neighborhoods and increase the City’s taxable property base. While NCLB works in all areas of the city, its initial work has focused on the East End Historic District north of Broadway with the highest concentration of vacant and abandoned properties (Liberty, Chambers, Lander, Johnston, South Miller, and Dubois Streets).
For more information, visit www.newburghcommunitylandbank.org.

SAFE HARBORS OF THE HUDSON
is a mixed-use, non-profit housing, arts and community building redevelopment project in the City of Newburgh. Safe Harbors purchased the Hotel Newburgh in 2002 and in 2004 was awarded $21 million in state, county and federal funds to create a vibrant affordable, supportive housing complex. Most recently, Safe Harbors has established two vibrant commercial spaces and a half-acre urban park along Broadway. Work began in early 2017 on the first phase of the redevelopment of Safe Harbors’ historic Ritz Theater into community performing arts space where the groundbreaking ceremony will take place. For more information, visit www.safe-harbors.org.

NEW YORK STATE HOMES AND COMMUNICTY RENEWAL’S (HCR) housing and community development agencies work to create, preserve and improve affordable homes and vibrant communities, in keeping with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s vision of a more inclusive, affordable, sustainable, and resilient New York. In 2016, HCR set a record for the third year in a row, financing the creation or preservation of more than 17,000 affordable homes and apartments, creating nearly 2,000 homeownership opportunities for first-time homebuyers, and was once again the #1 affordable housing bond issuer in the nation with $2.8 billion issued. HCR stands ready to make good on the Governor’s $10 billion 100,000 affordable units House NY 2020 commitment. For more information on HCR agencies, programs and initiatives, please visit www.nyshcr.org/.

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