New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Kingston Monday, announcing funding for projects in the city’s Stockade District. The money is part of the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The projects are intended to provide amenities for the community. They also aim to improve walkability and transportation access.
Kingston Mayor Steve Noble.
“It’s our time,” Noble said.
In September, Cuomo had announced that Kingston was one of 10 winners from 100 applicants statewide for the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative, or DRI, award. Noble, a Democrat, describes what has happened since.
“After we were awarded the $10 million back in September, we went through a six-month planning process with our community,” said Noble. “We identified 11 priority projects that we thought should be funded. And then today was the announcement on which projects would be funded and at what funding level.”
Cuomo and Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said six projects would be funded, with the largest amount of funding, $3.8 million, going toward the $48 million Kingstonian Development Public Plaza and Pedestrian Bridge. Bonura Hospitality Group, in partnership with the Herzog Supply Company, is on the private side of the mixed-use development, which will include housing, commercial space, a 34-room hotel and parking garage. It’s the Bonuras’ first foray into Kingston. Joseph Bonura, Jr. is partner at the group.
“What drew us? The Major came to see our project in Poughkeepsie and said, I would love to have something like this in Kingston, but here’s this problem we have to solve,” said Bonura. “We need more parking, and we need to figure out a way to do it.”
And about solving that parking problem…
“So we’re going to be building a new garage where the old garage was and under where part of the existing warehouse is,” Bonura said. “So there’ll be a 420 car garage built, of which 250 spaces will always be reserved to be used for hourly or monthly public parking. And the remaining parking will serve the needs of the new development.”
The six projects are investments in Kingston’s Stockade District, which actually is uptown. Other projects the state will help fund include upgrading Dietz Stadium and Andretta Pool and reconfiguring Schwenk Drive between Washington Avenue and Fair Street. Another project will create a public open space along historic Frog Alley, to serve as a gateway to the Stockade Business District, where Karen Clark Adin owns a store called Bop to Tottom.
“The Stockade has been languishing, actually, the City of Kingston has been languishing for decades,” says Clark Adin. “And it’s wonderful to see this recognition in an infusion of energy and money.”
Funding will also go to improving access to and getting around the Stockade District, both on foot and by car. And money will help support small businesses and property owners by offering small grants and loans for such things as façade improvements and rehabilitating residential properties. Governor Cuomo:
“The hard part you did. The hard part was changing the direction of the arrows, stopping that decline and turning it around where you start on the ascent,” Cuomo said. “And Kingston, you are on the ascent.”
Ulster County Executive Mike Hein is a fellow Democrat.
“I’m a firm believer that you cannot have a vibrant and strong county without an extraordinary city,” says Hein. “And so I look forward to partnering with the mayor, with the City of Kingston administration to be able to make sure that all of those things succeed,” said Hein. “We want the projects to succeed. We want the City of Kingston to thrive, and we know that that makes sure the entire county will benefit.”
After Kingston, Cuomo travelled to Rome to announce 11 projects there as part of the $10 million DRI award.