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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