Thursday, April 17, 2008


The Trans-ART Cultural Center is a GO!

Most of the Council was pleased at the Finance Committee where the decision was made to release the reverter clause attached to the Henry St property. What we had seen from the recent past, where Greer Smith has really taken the process by the horns, is a much more promising result of an otherwise unfortunate set of events.

The building is at the center of contention because of the lack of repair and weatherization by the last three owners. What we have set to do now, is release the reverter clause to allow the current owner to seek Grants to achieve what all of us want; the restoration of a historic building.

Trans-ART paid the taxes that were due, as a final request by the Council in March. Greer and associates stepped up and paid the amount owed by the previous owner and the members were more than satisfied. The last hurtle was the symbol of trust that we offered the group.

The reverter clause is an attachment placed on any property that the City sells for back taxes or just wants to offer to the public. This sets a process in motion to insure that the new owners, with a bargain city property, adhere to the wishes of the council. Meaning; you have to work on the property, invest in it and get a building to up to code. We have taken properties back in the past.

Sometimes starting the reverter causes the owner to act swiftly on a property they may have failed to attend, like 672 Broadway. (pictured right) Our reverter clause was enacted and the owner showed life at the property. However, this time…we are taking a leap of faith.

The grants required to make this Cultural Center a reality are impeded by any financial restrictions on the property, so here we are, at this late date, we finally plan to free up the restraints and see where Trans-ART will take it. Charles Landi (pictured left) was the only NO vote; citing concerns of the city’s loss of control.

This will come up at the May Council meeting at City Hall for the full vote.


Anonymous said...

What was the latest assessment of the property? Did GAR Associates include this building in the Reval as a source of tax revenue?
It wont be a tax revenue source when this is done.

The PILOT is a nice offering, but the fully refurbished building will be all the incentive this neighborhood needs for an upgrade.

Well worth the "leap-of-faith" by the council.

Anonymous said...

We so need this property fixed up. Im not far from this corner and it pains me to see this thing rot off the foundation. If this action hurries this repair work along, then lets make this happen. Theres not enough time in the day.

rebbytunes said...


Thanks for your support of this project. It shows very good leadership on the part of all council members involved.

I also wish to relay as a reminder to some and perhaps new information for most that Jennifer Schwartz Berky who last owned the property came up with the idea of bringing TRANSART into the city of Kingston when she realized that updating it herself was not financially sound. She has worked tirelessly to see that the property was transferred, secured an impressive grant to get the project underway - and is dedicated to the revival of this city. Jennifer continues to act as a consultant for TRANSART as they move forward. With her experience and expertise (as a county deputy planner and more), it is quite fortunate for us all. It makes her ownership and responsibility different from the other two - and these facts are not reported on and need to be better known - as she has been raked over the coals when her misfortune in the eyes of some has ultimately been of great fortune to the city.

It's a smart project, and well worth the effort in making it so.

Anonymous said...

I really have questions on this one, sincere questions. I'm sure I missed something, but what kind of a museum does Trans Art intend to put in the Community and why are they tax exempt?..smitty

rebbytunes said...