Briefly noted in Kingston (12/15/21)

Joe Cotter, head of National Resources. (Photo by Dion Ogust)

Welcome, iPark 87

“We weren’t looking for love,” said Joe Cotter, head of National Resources, a development company that may spend as much as $200 million in the next decade to create 1,000 jobs or more at the former TechCity in the Town of Ulster, now rechristened iPark 87, “but we found it.”

On a chilly morning the day after the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Cotter stood underneath the big clock at the main entrance of the former IBM facility, with his senior colleague Lynn Ward. About 60 hardy individuals stood waiting to hear what the new owner would have to say.

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National Resources wasn’t looking for a development site when he was contacted by Ulster County executive Pat Ryan earlier this year. But Cotter was willing to meet with them.

Ryan led a small group with county economic development director Tim Wiedemann, whom Ryan described as the quarterback of the Ulster County team, to a meeting in East Fishkill, where National Resources has a big investment in another ex-IBM plant. Cotter liked their spirit, he said, and agreed to come to Kingston.

Unlike other sites the company owned, TechCity had virtually no tenants. And it had severe environmental problems. It was a challenge for any developer. “We had to exhume the body,” said Cotter. “The body had no pulse.”

Cotter had no delusions about the difficulty of revival. But he was drawn to the site anyway. Ulster County provided him with all the details, all the connections, all the encouragement that could be mustered. Cotter and his vice-president, Lynn Ward, became intrigued with the challenge. And the unlikely, complex deal finally came together.

It was a grey morning, and Pat Ryan noticed that there were no shadows. But after Cotter talked, Ryan noted that there was now a ray of sunshine in the sky.

A bevy of little angels sang holiday songs.

Joshua Bundo, Adam Millington and Dave Hollar as the three wise men.

Erin and Brandon Godfrey as Mary and Joseph.

Living nativity in Lake Katrine

On Saturday night, December 11 over 400 people witnessed a dramatization of Christ’s birth at the Grace Community Evangelical Free Church in Lake Katrine.  Due to Covid, this year families drove by more than ten stations where church members volunteered to reenact the reason for Christmas.  From the prophet Isaiah, played by Ted Suttmeier, to the innkeeper, played by 15-year-old Isabella Shaw, to Mary and Joseph, played by Brandon and Erin Godfrey, visitors could hear the retelling of the Nativity on their radio. A donkey and a llama were on the grounds near the stable and were kept in check by Church member Donna Albright. Refreshments of cocoa and cookies were distributed.

Gertie, a 2 1/2-year-old pug, owned by Jessica and Adam LaFera of Hurley.

Pet photos with Santa

The annual Ulster County SPCA’s Photos with Santa fundraiser was held Sunday, December 12 at its shelter on Weidy Road in Kingston.  People brought in their pets to have a photo taken with Santa, volunteer Roy Zeeb.

City of Kingston offers free two-hour holiday parking

Kingston mayor Steven Noble has announced that from now through Saturday, January 1, the City of Kingston will offer free two-hour holiday parking. Parking in lots and at meters across the City will be free for up to two hours.

“To help our residents celebrate the holiday season, Kingston will offer free two-hour parking in the lots and at meters across the City,” said Mayor Noble. “We are opening up the free parking one week earlier than in years past, to encourage all residents who are able to visit our wonderful shops and restaurants. This year in particular, I feel it’s so important to support our local businesses. As always, we hope you will do so safely and follow appropriate COVID recommendations – and I hope the extended free parking helps to bring holiday cheer to you and your family.”

During this time, City parking staff will focus on meter repair and routine maintenance, but will be issuing safety violations such as blocking fire hydrants, parking in handicapped spots, double-parking and expired inspections. Vehicle owners must observe all traffic and parking rules and park in legal spots. Regular enforcement of parking meter expiration will resume on January 3.

Parking permits for 2022 will be available for purchase in the next few weeks. There will be an announcement on the City’s website once they are up for sale. The permit fee is $100 and permits are valid from January 1 to December 31, 2022.