#BSM (Black Stories Matter)

Black Stories Matter photo collage

#BlackStoriesMatter raises our social conscience about people, perspective, and life. Spearheaded by The TMI Project, we’re honored to partner on this collaborative effort, pulling together our regional narrative to expand our understanding of each other, our differences, but most importantly, about our commonalities.Black Stories matter photo collage promoting live performance, March 25, 2017

Read a few personal recollections from #BlackStoriesMatter storytellers here. Help spread the word and become a #BlackStoriesMatters partner (it’s free).

Attend the upcoming #BlackStoriesMatter performance on Saturday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Pointe of Praise Church, 243 Hurley Avenue, Kingston. Admission is free but RSVP here to guarantee yourself a seat.

Write your own story! Attend the upcoming writer’s workshops or submit your story online here. We’re hosting a writing workshop in the coming months at The Kirkland. Join our mailing list to find out when the next workshop is. In the meantime, let’s talk to each other, learn about each other, help each other…let’s tell stories because our stories matter.

 

RUPCO recognized as one of “Preservation’s Best of 2016”

National preservation societies recognize The Lace Mill’s use of Historic Tax Credits to help revitalize the City of Kingston.

From an accomplished list of Historic Preservation Projects carried out across the United States, RUPCO’s Lace Mill has been identified as one of six historic preservation projects recognized as one of “Preservation’s Best of 2016.”

This award, granted by Preservation Action, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Trust Community Investment Corporation, brings attention to RUPCO’s success in using the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit to transform The Lace Mill, a historically significant building that was underutilized with boarded windows and turning it into a viable community asset for the 21st century. The awards are intended to bring attention to the success of the Historic Tax Credit as a driver of economic development across the country. The awards will be handed out at the Preservation’s Best Congressional Reception to be held on March 15 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Members of the Congressional Historic Preservation Caucus as well as Preservation Action members, partners and preservationists from across the nation are expected to be in attendance.

 “Preservation Action is very pleased to host this reception and recognize these exemplary historic rehabilitation projects. At a time when the future of the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit is uncertain, projects like The Lace Mill in Kingston, NY help to highlight the benefits of the program,” said Robert Naylor from Preservation Action.

 “We are pleased to be singled out with just a handful of projects from around the nation as a truly transformative project that adaptively restored a historic gem into a great community asset – one that is now key to the creative placemaking magic that is occurring in midtown Kinston,” said Kevin O’Connor, RUPCO’s Chief Executive Officer. “We saw early on the potential of this boarded-up building to meet one of Kingston’s varied community needs and we are thrilled with the results.”

“Having studied architecture and urban planning, I knew at the outset, that the project would make a difference in the neighborhood,” notes Scott Dutton, the project’s architect. “However, what I completely underestimated is how much of a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization this project would become and how quickly that would happen. The number of people that have told us that they made the decision to either purchase property or establish their businesses/residences in Midtown because of what they saw happening at the Lace Mills Lofts continues to astound me.”

Preservation Action has been hosting National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week for over 30 years. By honoring exemplary rehabilitation projects, its annual reception helps to highlight the benefits of the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit. The HTC is the largest federal investment in historic preservation, responsible for redeveloping over 40,000 buildings, and contributing to the revitalization of cities and towns across the country. The Lace Mill investment was $18.7 million and fully one-third of the costs were paid for by private sector purchase of the Federal and New York State Historic Tax Credits. Morgan Stanley served as the investor.

RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal, said, “HCR is proud to be part of this impressive and critically important development. The Lace Mill is once again an anchor to midtown Kingston. The preservation of this historic building will contribute to a more economically vibrant community and will provide safe, affordable housing for local artists. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, HCR will continue to invest in the adaptive reuse of vacant, historic buildings so that we can revitalize our neighborhoods while preserving our most significant buildings.”

RUPCO is an affordable housing advocate and innovative community developer in the Hudson Valley, is a charter member of NeighborWorks America, a national network of 245 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 is currently working on $75-million worth of real estate development in the Hudson Valley, including Energy Square, Landmark Place, and The Metro in Kingston and the Newburgh Neighborhood CORe Revitalization. For more information, visit www.rupco.org

Preservation Action is a 501(c) 4 nonprofit organization created in 1974 to serve as the national grassroots lobby for historic preservation. Preservation Action seeks to make historic preservation a national priority by advocating to all branches of the federal government for sound preservation policy and programs through a grassroots constituency empowered with information and training and through direct contact with elected representatives.
 

Landmark Place- Proposal for Building


RUPCO’s CEO, Kevin O’Connor gives a proposal for the building of Landmark Place. Integrated into the former Alms House, this campus will offer senior and supportive living. This is the first new affordable housing option for seniors to be offered to the city of Kingston in over 16 years.

For additional details on this project, visit the Landmark Place page.

New homebuyers invited to orientation workshop

Homebuyer education classesHomeownership is a fundamental facet of the American dream. Yet, many people feel that homeownership is unattainable to them, in part because they lack the necessary tools to navigate the process of becoming a homeowner. At RUPCO, we think homeownership can be a reality. Eighty-one families became homeowners in 2016 thanks to RUPCO’s homebuyer education program.

RUPCO provides first-time homebuyer education starting with a free homebuyer orientation workshop. This workshop allows future homebuyers to learn about grants, tools, savings programs and the overall benefits of homeownership.

Ultimately, these workshops answer the essential question that many people who aspire to homeownership ask themselves: “Is homeownership right for me?”

RUPCO’s next homeowner orientation workshops are scheduled for: Wednesday, February 22nd, Monday, March 6th, and Wednesday, March 22nd. They are held twice a month at The Kirkland building, located at 2 Main Street, Kingston, from 6-7pm.

Those interested in attending a free homebuyer orientation session can enroll via our website,  watch an online video orientation series, or call RUPCO’s NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center (845) 331-9860 to sign up for an orientation class.

AmeriCorps VISTA Member Opening

RUPCO searches for full-time, one-year AmeriCorps VISTA MemberRUPCO was awarded a one-year VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) member allocation in collaboration with New York State Rural Housing Coalition (RHC). RUPCO is one of 10 housing nonprofits statewide to serve as a subsite host for a valued AmeriCorps VISTA applicant. RUPCO is a member of NYS RHS which is coordinating the VISTA effort among rural housing nonprofits from Albany, Stamford, and Rochester.

“Our VISTA position is for one year and will assist RUPCO’s Communications Department with behind-the-scene capacity-building support,” notes Tara Collins, Director of Communications and Resource Development. “This is a Jack/Jill-of-all-trades position. We will look to our VISTA to help with getting our new data management solution up and running; assisting with event coordination for Celebrate Community and Community Lunch; and providing a wide variety of communications skills sets from social media campaigns to story writing. This position is perfect for the recent graduate or person looking to gain more experience in the field of communications while making an impact on poverty in our community. VISTAs don’t have to know how to do everything, but they will certainly learn a lot about poverty, affordable housing, community wealth building, creative placemaking and communications in the process. ”

Similar to the PeaceCorps, the VISTA experience is designed to place skilled workers with United States-based nonprofits in need of support. AmeriCorps is one of three programs managed by Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCC). The AmeriCorps is a yearlong residential program for 18-24 year olds that focuses on team-based direct service. Nationally, VISTAs tend to be female (81% ), born in 1982 or later (82%), are experienced volunteers (93%), and come from around the country (62% local recruits vs. 38% national).

The RUPCO VISTA member works full time, commits to one year, and must be 18 or older. A VISTA receives a monthly living allowance of $990 per month and qualifies for VISTA health and child care benefits, student loan forgiveness, mileage reimbursement, relocation assistance, personal and sick leave. Interested candidates should sign up through the VISTA website, https://www.vistacampus.gov/how-apply-americorps-vista . The first-round application deadline is February 17, however RUPCO will take resume submissions through March 10 at tcollins@rupco.org. The official VISTA posting for RUPCO can be found online here.

Public Invited to Informal Open House February 18

Landmark Place: a dron'e aerial view of the campusWe’re opening the doors at 300 Flatbush Avenue, Kingston. You’re invited to a free, informal open house on Saturday, February 18 between 10 a.m. and noon.

“People have asked us if they can visit the building,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO. “Many have fond memories of working here for the County. We want to show people the potential this site has to carry forward the vision of Kingston’s forefathers, the vision of caring for the most vulnerable populations in our midst. Pending the rezoning to “multifamily,” Landmark Place — an integrated campus of affordable senior and supportive rental housing – is a strategic benefit for both area taxpayers and future residents.”

The day’s agenda includes:

  • Question & Answer rooms about
    • 1st floor: senior and supportive housing with RUPCO Program Services Supervisor Kim Mapes and Senior Care Coordinator Robert Budreau
    • 1st floor: history with SUNY-New Paltz professor Bill Rhoades
    • 3rd floor: development plans with local architect Scott Dutton, Dutton Associates
  • Architectural renderings of the proposed historical building renovation, new construction and campus landscaping
  • Informal guided tours with key RUPCO staff Guy Kempe, Joe Eriole, and Michael D’Arcy
  • Light refreshments served
  • Visitors should park in designated areas in the lower lot
  • The open house will be held rain, snow or shine

“We want our neighbors and curious residents to visit the property in advance of the February 28 public hearing, to ask questions about what Landmark Place proposes,” adds O’Connor. “We’re here to give people an opportunity to hear what RUPCO envisions for the property, to see the architectural renderings created by Dutton Associates, and to tour the building and grounds.” A print piece, The Case for Landmark Place, Landmark Place factsheet, and other supporting materials will be on hand.

“At the request of the City of Kingston Planning Department, and as a courtesy to the public, we are making all relevant materials available on our website, www.rupco.org,” says O’Connor. “We look to put another vacant, underutilized building back on the tax rolls. We’re adding depth to the community by adding services and solutions to City and County residents. The Almshouse has stood strong throughout its history, it will stand stronger as Landmark Place, continuing to fulfill its original mandate – to care for the most at-risk populations in our community.”

RUPCO currently holds an option to purchase the building from Ulster County, pending a rezoning decision by the Kingston Planning Department. A site plan review public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, February 28 at 6 p.m. at Kingston City Hall, 420 Broadway.

SHNNY Salutes RUPCO’s Supportive Housing Efforts

Rebecca Sauer, Supportive Housing Network of New York | SHNNY.orgRebecca Sauer, Director of Policy and Planning at Supportive Housing Network of New York, issued this statement for the Landmark Place press conference held on February 13, 2017.

Along with the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing, the Supportive Housing Network of New York has been working for three years to ensure that there are sufficient resources to house the most vulnerable New Yorkers, at a time when more than 80,000 are homeless statewide. We have applauded Governor Cuomo’s commitment to develop 20,000 units of supportive housing over the next 15 years and were pleased when his budget last year included resources to develop the first 6,000 over five years through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI). However, the requirement that the appropriation be subject to a Memorandum of Understanding between him, the speaker of the Assembly, and the leader of the Senate, led to unsuccessful negotiations. The full pot of money has not yet been released. Nevertheless, as a result of the tireless advocacy of our partners and members, we were able to secure funding in the amount of $150 million in last year’s budget cycle to fund the first 1,200 units of supportive housing.

RUPCO’s Landmark Place will contain 35 ESSHI units, among the first in the state to be part of this monumental commitment. The historic property will be rehabbed to house seniors, including those that are medically frail, veterans, the chronically homeless and those with mental illness and substance abuse disorders. This development will allow these people the opportunity to rebuild their lives and regain stability. The Network salutes RUPCO on innovative and critically essential work.

Meanwhile, back in Albany we are prepared for another season of budget negotiations. The governor has included $2.5 billion in his budget for an affordable housing plan, including $1 billion for supportive housing over the next five years. While this budget removes the requirement for the MOU, the proposal is still subject to negotiations in the legislature. Along with our partners, we are continuing to push for the release of much-needed funds for supportive housing, be it through the signing of last year’s MOU or through the appropriation of funds in this year’s budget. Organizations like RUPCO, with the buildings they develop and tenants they serve, remind us of why these government policies are so important. We look forward to the successful construction and opening of Landmark Place and the shared work ahead.

RUPCO Pays Taxes

RUPCO pays taxesPaying our fair share is part of the deal. We direct public monies to transform communities and, in return, we pay property taxes on those we own. We are part of the communities we serve, at all levels of interaction. So to answer the question…

Yes, RUPCO pays taxes.

Below is a table outlining taxes paid through 2016:

RUPCO pays taxes

 

In a snapshot, The Kirkland, located at 2 Main Street Kingston has paid over $573,000 in taxes between 2005-2016. In 2015 alone, The Kirkland tax bill is over $55,000 in school, city and county.

The Backstory of The Kirkland article
The Kirkland, corner of Clinton & Main, #KingstonNYThe Daily Freeman recently published an article about The Kirkland. We feel it  helpful for you to have all the facts and access to our original responses which we forwarded to reporter Paul Kirby last Tuesday. We feel the real story about The Kirkland is our delivery of jobs, taxes, community space, and synergistic influences percolating inside one of Kingston’s historic gems. The larger story, of course, is how this small project jumpstarted a transformation that began Uptown and is now seeing it’s way to Midtown.

“It’s been 8 years since we completed the building” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer. “The rental units and the office space have been rented since Day One but as we all know, the market downturned in 2008. That’s the main reason a restaurant didn’t take hold at The Kirkland. In addition, the capital expense to outfit a commercial-grade kitchen and restaurant fit-up required a new tenant investment of $100k-$200k beyond our investment and that proved problematic. We started marketing the property in 2005 and showed it to several restaurateurs we even used commercial brokers but had no takers. At the time, the location was a little off the beaten path, parking limited, and many opportunities with established commercial kitchens already existed.

“When we started this project, we promised and delivered mixed use space. We cobbled together 17 different funding sources to complete the project including a $1.5M mortgage from Key Bank that RUPCO is paying. In 2010, when we converted our community space at the Stuyvesant, we invested more money to outfit The Kirkland’s Senate Room as new community space. Since 2008, RUPCO has grown from 28 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) to 65 FTE jobs, including 13 FTEs employees who now work at The Kirkland. Indeed, we’ve created more good paying jobs with benefits than what a restaurant would have delivered.” The Kirkland headquarters RUPCO’s Green Jobs | Green New York Program (GJGNY), a homeowner program designed to improve home energy efficiency through energy audits, weatherization and solar installations. GJGNY leads New York State in homeowner education, energy audits and retrofits, channeling over $5.3-million into the Hudson Valley economy; the program also saves homeowners money on their utility bills.

Originally built in 1899, the Kirkland Hotel fell into disrepair and remained derelict for over 30 years, a blight at uptown Kingston’s entryway. “We helped preserve history and put the 19th-century landmark doomed for demolition back on the tax rolls,” says O’Connor. “ Last year RUPCO paid over $55,000 in school, city and county taxes. Since we took ownership in 2005 and restored this building to its original grandeur – rebuilding the original domed cupola, installing an original wrap-around porch, improving the neighborhood – we’ve paid over $573,000 in taxes.” Winner of Best Historic Preservation Award from Friends of Historic Kingston, The Kirkland remains the gateway icon to Kingston’s Historic Stockade District.

“We hold homebuyer education classes in the Senate Room, which enabled 81 people achieve their dream of homeownership last year,” continues O’Connor. “Another 300 Housing Choice Voucher Program recipients learned about how the program works and what it takes to be good tenant. We also invested $58,000 this past fall, hiring local contractors to rehab and paint the exterior to keep it looking top notch this fall. This building has provided value to Kingston for over 100 years; we continue to do the same into the next 100.” The Kirkland is also home to eight mixed-income rental apartments providing much needed rental housing uptown.

Circle of Friends for the Dying, Ulster County Continuum of Care, twelve-step groups, Friends of Historic Kingston and O+ Festival hold monthly meetings, annual gatherings and diversity workshops here. “Once the central site the Kingston Clinic, Healthcare is a Human Right used the first floor for many years until they switched locations to The Lace Mill to meet the community demand there,” says O’Connor. “Women’s Studio Workshop and Kingston High School art students, NYC-based Center for the Study of White American Culture, Hudson Valley Tech Meet Up and local citizens have also used the space for their events. The Kirkland has consistently met the needs of our neighbors and we’re proud to adapt in ways that benefit our community as times change.”

RUPCO most recently invested in a high-tech audio/visual configuration to answer the community’s call for meeting presentation capabilities. “We continue to reinvest in the building,” says O’Connor. “We are good stewards, pay big taxes and create a large number of jobs! The Kirkland is just one spark to the economic fuel that is driving community wealth building in the Hudson Valley.”

Note: Also misreported in this article were Energy Square facts as well. As of today, possible tenants for the commercial space include Center for Creative Education and Hudson Valley Tech Meet-up; while we would have loved for them to join us on Cedar Street, Ulster County Community Action is not a potential tenant for this space.
Landmark Place Planning Department Materials

Landmark Place aerial site map

On this page, you will find the materials relevant to Landmark Place, as requested by the City of Kingston’s Planning Department for ongoing conversations at City Hall, 420 Broadway, Kingston. Submit information requests and questions through the form below. (Last updated 3/17/17)

Presentation Materials

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