In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Some big dreams of urban revitalization are more easily realized than others. When it comes to schemes for the Rondout neighborhood of Kingston, Rob Iannucci’s dreams have been 15 years in the hatching. Some people who shared his dreams have become disillusioned. Patience has been required. That patience may yet pay off.
Iannucci, owner of the bulk of the land between the East Strand and the Rondout Creek, is as ebullient and optimistic as ever. His plans continue to move forward, he said this week before he gathered the local media for an update.
His message was that all the governmental ducks were now lined up. City, county, state and federal political support was in place for a boardwalk along the Rondout waterfront from the 9W bridge to the path to the lighthouse. Some state Department of State funding is earmarked. All is in accordance with the state-sanctified Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.
The presence of toxic industrial pollution has long hindered Rondout waterfront revitalization. Iannucci has come to agreement with the state Department of Environmental Conservation on a “cap-and-contain” remediation plan to allow development of much of the polluted acreage.
Once constructed, the uninterrupted pedestrian walkway along the waterfront and accompanying bulkheads would be the connecting attraction along the waterfront tying together historic, maritime, recreational, commercial and residential elements. Green spaces between appropriate commercial enterprises would be provided on Iannucci’s land to allow convenient public access from the Strand. Altogether two and a half acres of Iannucci’s property would be devoted to green space.
“It’s a civic-oriented project,” Iannucci explained this week. A draft generic environmental impact statement for the plan will make environmental approval of certain projects easier. Was the construction of the boardwalk likely within the next year? Well, it might be.
Would building take place within the next year on the 17 acres Iannucci owns along the waterfront or on other parcels contiguous to it? He wouldn’t rule the possibility out. He has had meetings with prospective developers, including local ones.
Some 192 acres, including as far west as Island Dock, is included in the waterfront plan.