Collaborative 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.