Uptown Kingston in line for $10 million in help from Albany

State Sen. George Amedore, County Executive Mike Hein and Gov. Cuomo enjoy a beer. (photo by Phyllis McCabe)

Kingston’s Stockade District is already seeing a surging real estate market and a cultural renaissance. Now, an infusion of state money is set to transform projects that have existed on paper for years into bricks-and-mortar reality. On Wednesday, Sept. 20, Gov. Andrew Cuomo arrived in Kingston to deliver the news that city had been selected as this year’s Mid-Hudson regional winner of the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

“You did it, you earned it, it’s a smart plan,” Cuomo told an overflow crowd of elected officials and community leaders jammed in among the brewing tanks at Keegan Ales on St. James Street.

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That plan was a 15-page application laying out the city’s goals for the Stockade District; Cuomo’s stamp of approval comes with a $10 million award that Mayor Steve Noble said had the potential to transform the neighborhood. Last year, Kingston narrowly missed the first round of DRI funding to Middletown. But Noble said that his team, comprised of planners, grant writers and community development experts, built on their experience to come back with new and better application that beat out dozens of competitors for the grant.

“For us, $10 million is a lot of money,” said Noble. “This really is transformative.”

Noble said he chose the Stockade District to be the focus of the city’s application based on the program’s preference for small, compact neighborhoods’ plans already in place for major innovations and upgrades. The application mentions the O+ Festival and Kingston Stockade FC soccer team as examples of “excitement” over the Stockade District and mentions the city’s desire to support “equitable development” and avoid the worst impacts of gentrification.

The heart of the application is a series of short pitches for projects that would enhance the district and build on existing strengths. Among the projects mentioned are the proposed redevelopment of the city’s Schwenk Drive parking lot, a food market and commercial kitchen planned on Wall Street and a revamped traffic network to bring visitors directly into the neighborhood via I-587 (see accompanying stories). Other projects included in the application include public broadband and Wi-Fi, improvements at Dietz Stadium and the creation of a community land trust to preserve affordability in the neighborhood.

According to Noble, the first $300,000 of the grant will pay for a planning team, provided by the state, which will spend nearly a year working alongside city officials to determine which projects to fund, and how they will be funded. The remaining $9.7 million will be spent directly on the projects themselves.

There are 9 comments

  1. mike

    its called welfare, dump cuomo money on a neighborhood and hope for the best, well guess what, just another cuomo idiot idea,, own property in the stockade? good luck,,

  2. mike

    think about it,,, cuomos idea that the first $300,000 will be spent on a planning team,,,,,,,,, provided by the state,, [special ,special , team] think about that,, 3000 1 hundred dollar bills ,, set aside for the payment to the cuomo experts to determine, if we can turn kingston stockade into a viable property for a final 10 million dollar investment, well guess what, he tried this in buffalo and it was a joke, just as NY is a joke in the eyes of 49 other states,, ,,, hes off to virgin islands, NY property or a state of? NO,, ,, no sense,,

  3. mike

    well ain’t this great, now if you got a restaurant in the stockade, you gotta charge $18 for a grilled cheese, cause of cuomos minimum wage of $15, notice how slow business is? how brilliant is that?
    it is a , out of control, endless, run of stupid ideas,, ,, nothing changes,, off to the virgin islands,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    1. endrun

      How brilliant is saying “if you got a restaurant in the stockade you gotta charge $18 for a grilled cheese”?? Did you ever go to the Market Basket to eat? Ever go to the taco place which is something else now, and ever go to Yum-Yum?
      You can charge a wide range depending on what the market will bear to keep you happy. And you also, if you have a very small operation, don’t have to hire help(it’s called working hard to make your dreams come true). You have no imagination but moreover you have Kingston Thought Malaise. You must be from Kingston, waiting for the trade of bluestone to save the day, or a speakeasy to come roaring out of the ’20’s on some sidestreet to strike up the Rudy Vallee band. Seriously, when you have adequate parking as well your volume of business goes up as a result, maybe you see more profit? You must be at least as bad a businessman as some guy bearing the name Trump was with the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City–you borrowed, profited, and then declared bankruptcy–and now manage to whine about how unfair life is while blaming everyone and everything else for your contributing nothing to the entire deal. Oh but go ahead, whine about it before it had a chance of revealing itself. How else could you advance your own narrow-minded political agenda which indeed does pile stupidity upon itself!! Declaring Kingston comparable to Buffalo? “You cannot be SERIOUSSS” as John McEnroe would say!! Totally different in every way so you have no comparison at all. Although, if you post four times or more, you HOPE you do…..

  4. Neil Millens

    I know what Kingston did to be awarded the DRI Grant, by what, if any, role did Ulster County play? Are Hein’s efforts to associate himself with the grant and claim the award was the result of joint City and County cooperation based in truth or are they politically fluffery?

    The same can be asked about Amedore. Was this merely a photo op or did he play a role in Kingston’s success?

  5. Paul

    The boy mayor playing second fiddle to mikey the republican was very telling…no wonder the city gets screwed in dealings with the county. Other than the wasteful consulting money not a dime of this money will be spent before the boy mayor pays back to the city the illegal sick time he was paid a day before he became boy mayor.

  6. JT

    Y’all are CRAZY. $10 million dollars is NOTHING to the state of NY. It’s substantial enough to make some marked improvements to uptown Kingston but those who think it’s some kind of hand out to city officials are seriously ignorant of the scale of the economies that surround them. This is GREAT for the city of Kingston, albeit in a neighborhood that’s already experienced an uptick in real estate values over the last few months. The frustration is understandable, mike, however misguided it may be – it would be nice to see some of the funds diverted to less fortunate parts of the city. But the idea that 300k is some kind of corporate slush fund for buddies of Cuomo’s in the Valley is laughable. 3000 $100 bills, as you put it, is at most three competent city planner’s salaries.

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