Community Lunch 2017: November 8

Invitation-Community Lunch-2017Community Lunch brings friends, family and supporters around the table for an annual discussion. This year, we’re talking about community wealth-building, creating pathways to equity and opportunity, with housing for everyone thrown into the mix.

Keynote speaker Maurice Jones, President & CEO of LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), will share his perspective on how our communities can change and revitalize neighborhoods through a local approach to housing, health, safety, and job creation. With deep experience in both the public and private sectors, Maurice Jones took the helm as LISC’s fourth president & CEO in September 2016. Immediately prior to joining LISC, he served as the secretary of commerce for the Commonwealth of Virginia, where he managed 13 state agencies focused on statewide economic needs. He previously served as deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) overseeing operations for the agency and its 8,900 staff members. The depth and breadth of his experience in policy making, social services and legal arenas give him a unique perspective on how communities thrive when they work together closest to home. And he’s here to share that insight with you on November 8.

RUPCO is also honoring
Community Partner Award: Madeline Fletcher, Executive Director at Newburgh Community Land Bank
Community Inspiration Award: Harold Renzo, Stuyvesant resident and community member

Lunch tickets cost $35. Bring a friend or colleague. Pay for your tickets online now or mail your check to Community Lunch, 289 Fair Street, Kingston, NY 12401. 

Take your RSVP to the next level by sponsoring Community Lunch at one of five levels between $100 to $2500. All sponsorships include lunch RSVPs. Pay online or download these sponsorship forms and mail in a check. You too can join these local businesses who believe that Home Matters:

Premier Sponsor:

 

 M&T Bank green logo

Community Sponsor:

Sustainability Sponsor:
Benchmark Title Agency
Dutton Architecture, PLLC
SVN Deegan-Collins Commercial Realty
The Community Preservation Corporation
Ulster Savings Bank

Partner Sponsor:
Central Hudson
Mid-Hudson VIP
Motivity Partnerships
Sawyer Savings
U.W. Marx Construction

Supporting Sponsor:
Affordable Housing Concepts
Bailey Pottery Equipment
Cannon Heyman & Weiss, LLP
Catherine A. Maloney
Catskill Hudson Bank
Coldwell Banker Village Green
Courtney Strong Inc.
Daniel D. Gagnon CPA PC
EFPR Group, CPAs, PLLC
Gateway Communities
Glasco Abstract
Richard Gerentine
Hamaspik Choice
Herzog’s Home & Paint Center
Kingston Plaza
Libolt & Sons
Murphy Realty Group
Naccarato Insurance Agency
Regions First Sterling
Rondout Savings Bank
Ryan & Ryan Insurance Brokers
Safe Harbors of the Hudson
Sanzi Associates
TrustCo Bank
Valley Courier
Valley National Bank Home Mortgage
Valuation Consultants
Williams Lumber & Home Centers

Community Lunch 2017 word cloud

RUPCO Purchases Midtown Commercial Property for Community Wealth-building Development

aerial view of The Metro site mapRUPCO completed the next step in bringing community wealth-building to midtown. RUPCO closed on the former MetLife Hall of Records building last week, a 70,000-square-foot underutilized factory/warehouse at 2 South Prospect Street. RUPCO is proposing The Metro, a film & technology hub including Maker Spaces and other creative uses. Community wealth-building focuses on creating jobs while producing materials and value-added products/services within a community, instead of outsourcing those same products and sending hard-earned local dollars out of the region. RUPCO has entered a strategic partnership with Stockade Works, a nonprofit specializing in media attraction, production, and training based in the Hudson Valley and spearheaded by actor-producer Mary Stuart Masterson.

“The opportunity to once again repurpose a fallow, vacant building — this time through a community wealth-building approach to bring a mix of creative uses, all with the purpose of creating local jobs and capturing local wealth — is very exciting. This project is about creating opportunity for everyone,” says Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO. “The Metro is perhaps the last vacant factory building in Kingston. We’re combing our expertise in rehabilitating and managing old buildings with Stockade Works’ creative vison and drive. This is a new venture for all of us and we are not sure what the final mix of creative uses will be. The goal is to work collaboratively to build and keep the wealth, local. Already, the phone is ringing from Makers and small businesses who want to be a part of the scene at The Metro!”

Stockade Works is dedicated to fostering the further potential of film and technology in the Hudson Valley to increase economic growth and support local communities. As a driver of economic development in the region, Stockade Works attracts outside production and technology startups, connects regional media professionals, and trains the local workforce to create local crew and tech professionals. “Stockade Works is excited to partner with RUPCO to realize our vision for a community media hub to further education and innovation to ready the local workforce for jobs in film, television, and technology,” said Mary Stuart Masterson, Stockade Works Founder and Board President. “Stockade Works is dedicated to fostering the further potential of film and technology in the Hudson Valley to increase economic growth and support local communities. As a driver of economic development in the region, Stockade Works attracts outside production and technology start-ups, connects regional media professionals, and trains the local workforce to create local crew and tech professionals.”

It is our core belief that every individual should have access to fruitful economic opportunities, which includes access to well-paying jobs with avenues for growth. We believe in providing paths of entry to industries that suffer from a lack of diversity in order to transform the faces of entertainment and technology.

The $14-million development will generate a short-term, local economic impact during construction and long-term economic impact through job creation. RUPCO purchased the property with a private mortgage through the Leviticus Fund.

The Metro was named a 2016 “signature priority project” by the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council (MHREDC). Renovation, upgrades, and historic preservation will utilize a variety of funding sources including the federal dollars through New Market Tax Credits (NMTC). The project is also eligible for state and federal historic tax credits; RUPCO nominated the property for both state and federal historic registers. Empire State Development is supporting the development of The Metro with a grant of up to $1 million, which was recommended by the MHREDC in Round VI of the REDC initiative. “The Metro will be home to two of New York’s premier industries – manufacturing and film/TV,” said ESD President, CEO, and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “This project highlights the strength and success of New York State’s community-based approach to economic development, by recognizing and responding to a growing need in the Mid-Hudson region for exactly this kind of innovative workspace. The Metro will generate local jobs for local residents and Empire State Development is proud to support this project’s growth and success.”

The Metro property includes the warehouse, parking area, and Barmann Park, which will continue serving the local community’s recreational needs. RUPCO honors the name tradition, Metro, a nickname local children have called the Barmann Park area for years. Along with Stockade Works, The Metro’s immediate tenant roll includes private, local enterprises Chronogram and Steintex.

 “My administration fought long and hard to bring the Upstate Film Tax Credit Program to Ulster County, and we have already seen tremendous results with several multi-million dollar films being shot across our county.  We are extremely excited about the future of the film industry in Ulster County and our many partners including Mary Stuart Masterson who is an integral part of this project. By locating Stockade Works at this sight, there is the potential to deliver meaningful high-quality jobs for our community, as well as industry-specific job training,” said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein.

“This is an exciting step forward for RUPCO, Stockade Works and for our community at large,” said City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble. “This building in the heart of Midtown will no longer sit vacant. Instead, it will be bustling with innovation and purpose, empowering our local residents to access training, employment, and entrepreneurship. This isn’t just job creation, it’s community revitalization.”

Real Facts: 34 Things You May Not Know About Landmark Place

Real Facts: Landmark PlaceTime for the “Real Facts.” To counter “alternative facts” presented by some as “the truth,” we’re sharing 34 Real Facts you might not have known about RUPCO. These cover our nonprofit status, real estate development in general, Landmark Place in particular, and facts about creating community through housing. Print this PDF and share with a friend or misinformed neighbor.

RUPCO the Nonprofit

1. RUPCO, Inc., is a 501 (c) 3, non-profit organization. It is tax-exempt, and like thousands of other non-profit organizations, it does not pay income tax.

2. We are celebrating our 36th year of doing business. We are led by a volunteer board of directors and an advisory council.

3. RUPCO’s 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.

4. As a tax-exempt organization, RUPCO is exempt from property taxes but generally needs to apply for local property tax exemption on a case by case basis. Nevertheless, all of RUPCO-owned or controlled property pays taxes or PILOTS because we believe in contributing to our community.

5. RUPCO had a $1.4M profit in 2015. RUPCO had a loss of $176,000 in 2016. Over the past 5 years, RUPCO has averaged a profit of $410,000 against an annual budget of $7.5M, considered prudent at 5.5%. Here are the last 5 years of profit or loss as reported in our 990 filings:RUPCO Profit-Loss Table 2012-2016

6. Today, RUPCO has 63 employees, most live in Kingston or Ulster County.

7. In 2015, RUPCO’s fund balance of $11.7 million dollars, accumulated since the agency’s inception in 1981, consisted of $5.3M in properties, $6.5M in long-term receivables and $3.7 million in cash and current receivables. $1.8 million of the cash is restricted and there was also $2.2 million in current liabilities. RUPCO’s current ratio for this 2015 snapshot was 1.69 where 1.5 – 2 is considered healthy in the industry.

8. RUPCO has had no income qualifying as ‘unrelated business income’ (UBI) for 2015 or any other year as all income was directly related to RUPCO’s tax-exempt mission as registered with the IRS and NYS Charities Bureau.

9. RUPCO consistently maintains a Certificate of Good Standing with the New York Department of State.

The Development Process

10. The IRS administers the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program that was created by the tax reform act of 1986 under President Ronald Reagan. The LIHTC program is the largest producer of affordable rental housing in the country. The IRS requires the investors (any entity that purchases the federal and/or state tax credits) to own the real estate for a minimum period of 15 years. Thus, the nation-wide, industry standard is to create limited partnerships to admit the investors as limited partners. The for-profit or nonprofit developer, usually in the form of a subsidiary, serves as the general partner. The developer is then given the right of first refusal to buy out the investors at the end of 15 years. To illustrate:

  • For our Lace Mill project, Morgan Stanley purchased the LIHTC and historic tax credits making a private equity investment of over $10M in the project. They are the limited partners in the Lace Mill Limited Partnership that owns the Lace Mill. RUPCO created a subsidiary corporation, Lace Mill Housing Development Fund Company to manage the limited partnership and RUPCO has the right of first refusal to purchase the property from the investors, dissolving the limited partnership, at the end of 15 years.
  • RUPCO has recently bought out the investors in the Park Heights Senior Housing in Rosendale which had been in a limited partnership. The property is now owned by RUPCO.

The Need for Senior & Supportive Housing

11. The critical need for affordable housing including senior and supportive housing is well documented:

a. Harvard Joint Center for Housing State of the Nations’ Housing
b. National Low Income Housing Coalition Out of Reach
c. A Three County Regional Housing Needs Assessment for Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Counties from 2006 to 2020
d. United Way ALICE Study of Financial Hardship

12. Recognizing the critical need for supportive housing, Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature created the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI) in 2016 and are funding 6,000 units of supportive housing across New York State.

13. The City of Kingston has 39% of Ulster County’s affordable housing – not 61% as has been claimed. New Paltz has 186 affordable housing units – not zero as has been claimed.

14. The City of Kingston has only 26% of the senior affordable housing units in Ulster County. The last senior housing built in the City of Kingston was 40 units at Brigham Charter on O’Neil Street back in 2001. Since then, the rest of Ulster County towns have built 469 senior units while Kingston has built zero. So, for senior affordable housing, the scorecard since 2001 reads: Ulster County Towns 469 – City of Kingston 0  
For a detailed analysis of affordable housing units in Kingston and Ulster County, refer to this chart. 

15. RUPCO currently has over 700 senior applicants on its waitlists for affordable housing in Ulster County.

16. On average, there are well over 150 homeless adults on any given day. In New York State, fully half of the homeless single population is over the age of 50.

17. Today, given the very low vacancy rate and long waiting lists, there is not one affordable housing unit for seniors available anywhere in Ulster County!

18. David Scarpino, President and CEO, Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley, 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.”

19. Harold Renzo, who served his Country in the U.S. Marine Corp, has lived in an apartment in RUPCO’s Stuyvesant for over 20 years. Harold suffers from multiple sclerosis and uses a wheel chair for his mobility. At a recent public hearing regarding the proposed zoning change, Harold said this: “And I just want you to know that one of the hardest things in life is not being disabled and it’s not having a disability, the hardest thing is not being accepted by the community. We want to support the community and we want the community to support us.”

The Fiscal Impacts

20. RUPCO will propose a PILOT of $66,000 per year at Landmark Place. This is calculated at $1,000 per unit annually compared to other housing developments that have secured PILOTS that range from $150 to $400 per unit, per year. It is important to note that PILOTS are not given solely for job creation. NYS law provides PILOTS for affordable housing production as well.

21. In addition, RUPCO will pay a one-time recreation fee of $132,000 ($2,000 per unit) to the City of Kingston. Commercial projects DO NOT pay recreation fees, ONLY housing projects pay recreation fees. RUPCO paid $110,000 for the Lace Mill and when added to Landmark Place and Energy Square, RUPCO will have paid $356,000 in recreation fees to the City of Kingston which are dedicated to fund the development or improvement of City parks.

22. The economic impacts of a $20M development project are substantial. According to the 2017 study: The Economic Impacts of Affordable Housing on New York State’s Economy, the economic impact of a typical 50 unit project in NYS is included below. At 66 units, the economic impact of Landmark Place is expected to be 30% higher than these figures:
a. One-time Construction Impacts
i. $16.6 million in total economic spending
ii. 100 total one-time jobs. This includes 46 direct jobs in construction-elated activities, 30 indirect jobs in related industries supporting construction and 24 induced jobs from household spending
iii. $6.43 million in total employee compensation
b. Ongoing Annual Impacts
i. $2 million in annual economic spending
ii. 14 total jobs
iii. $0.7 million in annual compensation

23. Not doing Landmark Place will not save any taxpayer dollars. The funding proposed for Landmark Place has already been appropriated at the federal and state levels with bi-partisan support. If money is not spent at Landmark Place, it will be spent elsewhere in NYS or around the country.

24. According to the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), supportive housing saves local taxpayers up to $15,000 per year when compared to shelter/hotel costs of nearly $100 per day, hospital, police and court costs.

The Alternative

25. The property at 300 Flatbush Avenue, Kingston was determined surplus by Ulster County and has been known to be available since 2012 and it has been actively marketed to developers since 2013 by SVN Deegan-Collins Commercial Realty. Click here to read the SVN that letter outining the extensive marketing effort conducted to showcase this property.

Kirchhoff Companies looked at the site in 2015 and declined to pursue it for commercial purposes. Click here to read why Kirchhoff believes this site is not suitable for commercial use.

26. According to industry experts we talked with, most commercial tenants would likely need to eliminate the mature tree line along Flatbush Avenue and the Route 9W, introduce more curb cuts and bring in truckloads of fill to raise the site. RUPCO’s proposal will do none of that.

27. The Alms House was not listed on the historic register prior to RUPCO’s recent steps to have the property listed. Therefore it is inaccurate to assert that the building’s historic status was a deterrent to other potential developers.

28. The site location is far from the central commercial district along Route 9W in the Town of Ulster where today there are numerous vacant commercial pads and storefronts. The City of Kingston has other commercial districts including Midtown, Downtown and Uptown that are more advantageous for commercial development.

29. RUPCO’s proposal to historically treat the Alms House and build a new, attractively-designed senior building is an example of QUIMBY: QUality Investment in My Back Yard! The design by Dutton Architecture offers high quality that meets high standards, marries old and new, and is sensitive to the existing site’s natural features:

  • The two primary structures on the site each present unique opportunities to enhance the community with quality design. By listing the Alms House on the National Register of Historic Places, the project is guaranteed to be designed and renovated to the highest standards in the nation for preservation. The building will be designed to comply with the standards of the Secretary of the Interior. According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “Historic places create connections to our heritage that help us understand our past, appreciate our triumphs, and learn from our mistakes. Historic places help define and distinguish our communities by building a strong sense of identity.”
  • The second primary structure on the site will be new construction and designed to exceed EnergyStar® standards. EnergyStar® standards address the health of building occupants with an emphasis on reduction of energy consumption. The building design strategies for the senior residence focus on
    • access to natural light,
    • community spaces for congregating, eating and activities both inside and outside the building, and
    • encouraging ACTIVE participation by the residents who otherwise find themselves in isolation.
    • Our award winning landscape architect has designed a landscape plan that is rich with variety of spaces and experiences.
    • Fully accessible walking paths to encourage active lifestyles and healthy living are a focal point of the landscape design.

Senior and Supportive Housing

30. The project will provide 66 residential apartments:

  • 35 apartments for formerly or temporally un-domiciled homeless adults, age 55 and over. Most are anticipated to be frail and disabled seniors. Others will include Vietnam- era veterans, and other persons with disabilities.
  • 31 apartments will provide affordable housing to 1 or 2 person households comprised of persons age 55 and over.
  • The income limits for persons living in these affordable apartments will be up to 50% and 60% of the area median income (AMI):

Income eligibility at Landmark Place and Rents
31. Everyone residing at Landmark Place will be age 55 and over.

32. The median income in Ulster County is $78,500 for a family of four. This means that half the households in Ulster County earn more than $78,500 and half the households earn less.

33. The ESSHI funding allows RUPCO to provide robust services and staffing at Landmark Place that will include:
a. 24/7 front desk clerk security
b. 2 full-time care providers including and LPN and a Case Manager
c. 1 live-in Maintenance Superintendent
d. 1 part-time Property Manager
e. 1 van with regular transportation service

34. Questions have been raised about the impact to the value of single-family homes when low-income housing is nearby. According to the National Association of REALTORS® Field Guide to Effects of Low-Income Housing on Property Values (Updated May 2017) “most studies indicate that affordable housing has no long-term negative impact on surrounding home values. In fact, some research indicates the opposite.”  Additional studies on the effects of affordable housing on neighboring property values:

Last updated 7/7/17

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.

Ask Governor Cuomo to Sign the Empire State Film Production Tax Credit Legislation

man-hand-signature-legislation-adobestock_116737673-500x167Call 518-474-8390 or email Governor Cuomo TODAY, encouraging him to sign the bill to expand the Empire State Film Production Tax Credit Program to the Hudson Valley (A.9415 -Gunther / S.6987 -Amedore) to promote new economic opportunity.

This legislation will directly benefit the work we’re doing with Stockade Works at the MetLife Building to bring TV/film production studios and a post-production & training center to Kingston. On a larger scale, the Hudson Valley benefits from the influx of people looking to work, live and create in our region. It will impact economic development and community wealth building in news ways that improve our neighborhoods. Here are  a few talking points on this initiative:

  • The New York State Film Tax Credit Program is designed to increase the film production and post-production industry presence and overall positive impact on the State’s economy.
  • New York’s film tax credit applies to all 62 counties of the state. But to stimulate production in counties outside of New York City, state officials in 2014 increased the 30% fully refundable tax credit to 40% for shows and films with budgets over $500,000 that are made in 40 upstate counties. In 2015, Albany and Schenectady counties were added.
  • Companies producing films or television shows in New York State are currently refunded between 30% and 55% of their costs, depending on where in the state they film and the credit programs for which they qualify. The bill would expand the geographic area in which film companies will qualify for the 40% credit.
  • The purpose of this bill is to expand to 40% for the Catskills and the Hudson Valley (north of Westchester and Rockland counties) and Suffolk County, which are close enough to the city to draw the kinds of productions that generate jobs and economic vitality.

Help us drive this legislation across the finish line. Call 518-474-8390 or email Governor Cuomo TODAY. Then ask a friend to call or write, too.

“The expansion of the Film Tax Credit means that the entertainment industry can expand and create a new segment within our growing creative economy and has the potential to become a major driving economic force locally, as well as throughout the Hudson Valley,” said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein. “My administration has been highlighting the disparity in the current program that is negatively impacting Ulster County and, as a result, there was a groundswell of grassroots support for this amendment. I want to commend and thank Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther for her leadership on this issue and for sponsoring the bill in the Assembly, as well as Senators Larkin and Amedore for their sponsorship in the Senate. If this bill is ultimately signed into law, our area would be poised to experience a potentially huge economic boost from not only the on-site production of films, but also the siting of studios and post-production facilities as well. This may prove to be some of the most important legislation our area has seen over the past ten years.”

Survey Teams Canvas Midtown Kingston for Community Impact Measurement Study
Map of area to be surveyed in midtown KingstonCollaborative effort collects resident perspective and photo documentation of neighborhood changes, marking a moment in time for future comparison.
Over the next two weeks, neighborhood youth are capturing a moment in time throughout two Census tracts in midtown Kingston. Local students and residents have been hired to conduct a Community Impact Measurement survey, or CIM, designed to capture the experience of neighborhood residents. The CIM is a collaborative effort among RUPCO, City of Kingston, Family of Woodstock, Midtown Rising and Hone Strategic to scientifically document the neighborhood revitalization taking place in Kingston. The survey will provide valuable input for the City and inform future community and economic development.
“This collaborative approach to gathering community input is an effective way to ensure our local Midtown residents are heard,” says City of Kingston Mayor, Steve Noble. “This survey is an important step towards addressing the needs of our community and measuring the impact of these efforts. I look forward to working with our community partners to review the results of the survey and identify areas of progress and opportunities for change.”
“Over this past week, we trained 20 young people and residents in the survey-taking methodology at the Everett Hodge Center on Franklin Street,” notes Guy Kempe, Vice President of Community Development at RUPCO. “In teams of two, they will take these techniques out to their neighborhoods, engaging City of Kingston residents for their take on what’s happening in Kingston. The confidential survey has 33 questions and will take about five minutes. We hope residents will give these young people from our community
the time they need to collect this valuable data and community perspective.”
“My firm is very pleased to be coordinating these surveys, which will help us support and guide planning and development in Midtown Kingston,” says Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Ulster County Legislator and Principal of Hone Strategic, a Kingston-based urban planning firm.  “Our pro-bono work with the great organizations involved in Midtown is intended to engage many residents and stakeholders in this process. We look forward to helping Kingston plan for an inclusive, thriving future in this beautiful part of the city.”
As an incentive to participate in the survey, residents will receive complimentary tickets to an Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) film screening. “We’re thankful to UPAC for their generous ticket donations to “The Birds” on October 28 and “A Christmas Story” on December 16,” adds Kempe. “Additionally, all survey participants will be entered into a raffle to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Masters of Illusion: Believe the Impossible! on October 2.” Surveyors will conduct door-to-door interviews between August 15 and 26 across 17 segmented areas between Clinton, Foxhall, Albany and Greenkill Avenues and Cornell Street. (See map)
“The information that this project will collect is invaluable to our efforts to address fair housing, ensure safe and healthy neighborhoods and keep our focus on what is important to the citizens of Midtown,” says Brenna Robinson, director at the City of Kingston’s Office of Economic & Community Development. “It will greatly inform our upcoming Assessment of Fair Housing Plan to be submitted to the US Department of Housing & Urban Development in 2018 and will help us to continue to allocate our annual Community Development Block Grant Entitlement awards effectively, as well as help the City to be successful in accessing other funding opportunities to support our community development efforts.”
To further document Kingston’s change, the CIM survey is followed by a photo study of the two neighborhoods, documenting buildings, properties, vacant lots and historic structures. “This part of the study holds enormous impact because of the visual comparison made after data collection,” continues Kempe. “A photo is worth a thousand words. When you see where Kingston neighborhoods were two years ago, and the improvement that has happened since our last study, you can’t deny that change is happening here in Kingston. The proof is in the pictures.” For more information on the survey project, contact CIM Team Leader Michaela Sweeney, at (845) 443-1172, 9am to 7pm.
The current Community Impact Measurement survey compliments a baseline CIM conducted in August 2013. Then and now, funding to conduct the residential surveys and photo documentation was provided by NeighborWorks America. Since 2013, RUPCO, the Hudson Valley’s premier developer and operator of affordable housing, has targeted its community development focus on Midtown Kingston with the factory-to-rental-apartments conversion of The Lace Mill on Cornell Street, a successful example of creative placemaking. RUPCO then followed with a proposal to develop a mixed-income, mixed-use newly constructed building, E2: Energy Square at the shuttered Midtown Bowling on the corner of Iwo Jima and Cedar Streets. A third initiative in midtown – to transform the MetLife building on South Prospect Street toward the arts and small, local manufacturing of specialty and entrepreneurial products – furthers RUPCO’s vison for strong vibrant and diverse communities with a home and opportunity for everyone through community wealth building.
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