Queen’s Galley plots move … but to where?

Kingston has been jammed with commentary, confusion and chaos ever since a local daily newspaper erroneously announced in its headline that Queen’s Galley soup kitchen offered a plan for the redevelopment of the King’s Inn site. The paper went on to report that architects were drawing up plans for a new Queen’s Galley at the King’s Inn. However, according to Queen’s Galley Executive Director Diane Reeder, it’s premature to say those plans are definitively targeted for the Broadway motel, which is scheduled to be razed Nov. 5. In any event, Reeder said this week, no plans have been offered to the city, which took the site for taxes several years ago.

Reeder, armed with offers of free architectural services from Rick Alfandre of Alfandre and free contracting services from Hearthstone Contracting of Orange County, which recently did the construction work on the local project taken on by the TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” is looking for a new site for the soup kitchen, which offers three meals a day to anyone seeking them.

The soup kitchen, located on Washington Avenue in the same facility with the Washington Manor boarding house, which Reeder also directs, is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization funded by donations and grants. Reeder said she is currently laser-focused on moving the soup kitchen, but not the boarding house, to an alternate location. The Stockade Group, comprised of four partners, owns the Washington Manor complex. “The ‘Stockade Foundation’ [not to be confused with the Stockade Group] is the organization that rents the property from the landlord and assists with securing safe, sober and secure housing for people at risk of being homeless,” explained Reeder. “That entity is funded by the income of the building, whether it be from [social services], self-pay or barter in the case of an individual who is unable to pay anything. Again, the Queens Galley is moving … not the residents who live at Washington Manor,” said Reeder.


This summer, the Kingston Fire Department issued 17 code violation citations to Washington Manor’s landlords in August for its dilapidated conditions, including a leaking roof, and threatened to close it down unless addressed immediately. Landlords did not respond to the violations directly, nor have they completed the work; however, they have made enough repairs to satisfy the fire department. Next to the conditions, Reeder’s second biggest gripe is an annual $6,000 heating season cost due to inadequate insulation. She initially threatened to pull the plug on all operations right after Thanksgiving. However, she told the Kingston Times this week that she will be able to keep the doors open through the winter thanks to an anonymous donation of $50,000 worth of heating oil.

Mayor James Sotille did not return calls for comment, and though it was rumored he was planning to announce a possible agreement between Reeder and his office regarding the King’s Inn site at Sunday’s Italian festival where Reeder was fundraising live on WGHQ-FM, he was a no-show. Reeder said she generated less than $5,000 worth of donations in that drive.

It is Reeder’s envisioned goal to implement a restaurant-industry training program within the new soup kitchen to teach foundational job and life skills such as food preparation, food handling and sanitation, hosting and serving. A restaurant will also ideally co-occupy the building with the soup kitchen with separate entrances. The concept also includes a visible, hydroponic greenhouse to grow the organic produce to be served in both the restaurant and soup kitchen. The soup kitchen needs to be within walking or bus distance, she insists.

Slideshow photo – Diane Reeder. (Photo by Andy Uzzle)

There are 5 comments

  1. John

    There is nothing sober about the residents of the Washington Manor, period. They curse at the top of their lungs, throw cigarette butts with no regard of where they land, and terrorize the residents of that part of Main Street. We cannot even keep anything on our porches without the items being stolen within hours. I would love to see this place move to midtown where the animals belong.

    1. Diane


      There is everything sober about the residents at Washington Manor. The house has a non negotiable drug and alcohol policy that is strictly enforced.

      The residents are not animals. Neither are the guests of Queens Galley. Many are mentally ill. All need a meal. Many need much more.

      This is not the first time that you have erroneously stated negative things about the galley or residents at Washington Manor. You have been invited to come and see for yourself to meet exactly who lives there and you have always declined that invitation. They are ALL adults, mostly seniors living at or below the poverty line. Some are retired disabled veterans that made this very country a safer place for YOU to be and preserved your right to speak so harshly without validity about innocent people.

      There are 45 residents there now. Not a single one of them on parole or probation, not a single one of them having had a run in with the law for the time that they have lived there.

      If you hear or see something why are you not calling the police? Or why are you not calling the office at Washington Manor? (The number by the way is 338-3468).

      If you see/hear something and choose not to do anything to fix the problem you are as guilty of making the city a less comfortable place to live than the people doing the very things you stated.

      I would rather have the poor disabled veteran as my neighbor any day of the week than live near someone who does nothing to fix a problem but just makes a wound fester and relishes spreading the disease of hatred. At least when that veteran had the chance to make the world a better place he wasn’t a coward, he was a hero. And,now that he is elderly and poor and has chosen to live at Washington Manor he must deal with a scourge like you. He sacrificed his life and safety for YOUR liberty and how do you treat him? By saying he is an animal.

      Shame on you for your bigotry. Shame on you for bringing down the city in which I live. Shame on you for nuturing hate, intolerance, ignorance and apathy. Shame on you for spreading antagonistic lies that in the end cause harm to innocent people.

      In a way I feel that I must thank God that you wrote what you did. It reminds me to be ever so grateful to be helping the very people that helped to protect your right be be nescient, iniquitous and morally repulsive. For them to have protected you it is obvious that they are the ones that are ethically superior.

      I am ashamed to call you neighbor.

  2. Aimee

    John, I regret that you’ve been subject to rude, coarse behavior. I agree no one should throw their cigarette butts anywhere (I smoke & I too am offended by the practice.)

    I take exception to your suggestion that they should “move to midtown where the animals belong.” First, the individuals you have issue with are human beings – their behavior doesn’t change that. Your choice of words are as rude and coarse as the behavior you condemn. Second, you have insulted all the residents of midtown. I chose to live in midtown over 20 years ago. I admit there are challenges here not found in all neighborhoods. I know that there are many decent, caring people, working hard to provide for themselves and their families living here in midtown. I know that attitudes like yours, shared by others have painted all of us with the same brush and have added to the issues we face.

    Rude and coarse behavior is not exclusive to those at Washington Manor or midtown. Theft is not exclusive to any single group.

    The Queen’s Galley provides a service needed in these unstable economic times. The Galley should be in midtown, because that is where the need is greater.

  3. matthew

    John and Amiee your both right I was involved with the QG for a number of years and yes John they can be rude, crude, and disrespectful. when you mix families with children with ex-cons and people who are out of work, with people on drugs or who have mental problems, remember a lot of these people live on the streets, some have just been released from prison, some are sex offenders and some are teen-age runaways with nowhere else to go for a meal.
    No it is not good to mix all these different groups together and expect them all to get along with each other, now mix them with home owners in a family neighborhood or on a busy Midtown city center with bussinesses with pedestrian traffic right next to the only draw to Midtown the performing arts center, we now have a receipe for disaster.

    On the other hand if we just close all the soup kitchens, the people in need will walk our streets, begging and panhandeling from downtown to uptown through all of our neighborhood streets, uncontained, causing havoc all over our city.

    Thus crime will surely climb robbery, theft, break ins, stealing, child abandonment, because people have to eat-so what is the right decision?.
    Should all social services be based in Midtown? and hasn’t Midtown homeowners and bussinesses already paid their fair share? and why should’t some of these services be placed in other areas of Kingston?.

    The REAL answer is nobody wants this on their block on their street or in their neighborhood, everyone wants it somewhere else but not where they live.
    But the other side of the coin is when you go into the QG and you see a 4-year old boy or girl sitting eating a meal are they considered an animal John?, aren’t they innocent? is it their fault their parents lost their jobs or are mentally ill or have fallin on hard times and the fact is that they probably won’t get a meal anywhere else doesn’t that child deserve the right not to starve after all we Americans pay for, and feed people all over the world, so how about right here at home in our own neighborhoods?.
    Now ask yourself how many of us want that 4 yr old on our concious?. see John that’s what seperates US from ALL the other animals… compassion.

  4. joseph

    It may help Diane Reeder to know that a church on Elmendorf and Tremper has recently had to close it’s doors and will soon be up for sale.
    As sad as this maybe it may have a silver lining for the Queens Galley it has a fully furnished kitchen in the basement with stove, oven, tables, silverware, dishwasher and is quite large with many rooms.
    It is in Midtown but not right on a busy City street in the center of town and it is easy to get to on the bus or on foot and it is already off the City tax rolls, I am not sure but it also use to own two homes on either side of it for rooming students for Diane’s vision of creating a restaurant training center and it’s already built and ready to move into-just a thought!.
    Sometimes god works in strange ways, but as the saying goes when he closes a door he opens a window!!.

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