Friday, January 23, 2009

MAIN STREET MANAGER: CDBG 2009


As many of you are aware, the City of Kingston is in a category of continued financial stress and high population of low income population which makes Kingston permanently eligible for Federal help. Not the kind of status you wish for, but it eliminates the competitive nature of the petition process that the Community Development department used to crunch for every year.

The amount has changed as well. Kingston used to get well over a million dollars annually. In recent years that was diminished quite a bit and thus limited our ability to repair infrastructure and upgrade quality of life issues around the city.

That may have changed. I hear the amount may rise to it's former grand total once again and the opportunity to redirect some of the additional funds toward better managing our mid and uptown business districts. This would be an ideal situation.

A smaller newly formed interest group has formed in the Ward Nine area with the hopes of helping the KMBA Kingston Midtown Business Association find quality retail for part of the Broadway corridor.

Having such a position provided through the Entitlement Program funds will enhance the efforts of KMBA and KUBA to promote the city’s Uptown and Midtown business districts, plan events in the two areas and possibly help create a Business Improvement District.

I believe all nine of us Aldermen and the Mayor approve of this fund shift to create the position of "Main Street Manager" this one time. But the business districts, if they feel the position helps in the needed way, will have to decide on future funding, because we don't have the option to fund the position yearly through the same federal grant process.

In the Freeman: Michael Murphy, the Community Development director said "It will be up to the Common Council to [reprogram] the funding as part of this year’s allocation of federal money from the Entitlement Program. Last year, the city’s total award from the program was $802,574."

There has been a continual dialog regarding a liason between City Hall and the three business districts, but funding has always been an issue. To oversee public relations, conduct fund-raisers, coordinate events, supervise storefront renovations and place advertising, among other things would part of the job descripion.

One of the many jobs that were eliminated through this tough budget process for 2009, was a part time position for the promotion of Kingston. The public knows that City Hall is willing to pump up the awareness of the qualities of the city, when funding is available. This time next year, we may have a dynamic individual steaming away at reinventing "Main Street".

We can only hope.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

You already have an economic director that makes well over $100,000 that should be doing this as his job is economic development.

Jeremiah said...

I am not a taxpayer in the City so I don't know what their feeling is. But I think that a position like this if used right could greatly benefit the Kingston Business Districts.

Anonymous said...

Do we really need to hire somebody to tell us what we already know.show me one sign that indicates that the new uptown parking area is for the public,it looks like it belongs to the nearby office complex,forget about development there,build around it,get rid of the chain link fence on n.front st.and put up a nice wrought iron one that gives it character,the views are wonderful,take the rotting pike plan down so the buildings can be seen,get rid of the falling apart planters,somehow change the traffic flow to make it more user friendly,check the sign on the thruway that says attraction this exit,there ain't a whole lot on it,we have tons of real estate agents,somehow make them part of the rebuilding,that's enough for now,let me know when you want some more ideas,there free,thank you

Anonymous said...

The 50k was supposed to be used to develop a comprehensive plan for the entire city. I think the money should be used for just that purpose. The Mayor's current plan is just Pharmacy after Pharmacy. Some plan that is.

Anonymous said...

Ditto to 11;17 AM. Let's start getting some productivity from the people we already have on the payroll!!!smitty

Peter Mack said...

4:17 is right. Uptown has been faltering for years for the same reasons. Poorly planned businesses, one landlord holding exorbitant rents on his properties and being unfriendly to tenants, NO PARKING, a worthless and unsightly Pike Plan to name a few.

Tear down the Pike Plan--it is not historically accurate nor structurally sound. Give every business an awning instead which is easier to maintain. Get rid of the planters. Reduce the size of the sidewalks by half (they only serve as a haven for smokers), place diagonal parking spots on both sides of Wall street between John and North Front streets and triple your parking. Use a couple of well-placed parking kiosks rather than all the unsightly meters (it will make the parking attendants jobs easier, more efficient, and better serve the public by accepting bills and credit cards). Make employees, business owners, and residents park in the lower parking lot rather than take up customer parking.

How about getting a group of citizens together to come up with a REAL plan for uptown business--not the ineffectual KUBA. Uptown could use a Trader Joe's market, a small movie theater (like Upstate Films across the river), a couple of outlet shops like the ones you see in Woodbury Commons. Don't we have way too many insurance companies, mortgage brokers, and banks in Uptown? How many times are you going to visit your mortgage broker or insurance agent?

We need someone to breathe life into Uptown-not the same old politicians and business leaders saying the same things and accomplishing nothing as the buildings sit vacant and everyone heads to the mall.

Create a niche not found in the mall and you will bring the people back. Look at how successful the Farmers Market is!

It is time for a change--not the same old tired excuses.

Anonymous said...

Thank you peter mack,you echoed my comment of 4:37.You are right on the money with some of your thoughts and ideas.I don't think anybody needs to be hired to tell us what we already know.down town winston-salem n.c.is very close in design to uptown kingston,but they have outlet shops,small specialty shops etc.i am down there during their summer concert series and you know what,shops are all open,and thriving and they didn't place a big building to house lots of people to shop there

Anonymous said...

Mike,

I think this sounds like a really good idea, because it would bring concerned businesses, residents, etc. together to establish a working plan (where the "rubber hits the road") - versus a bunch of scattered idealistic (bring the ideals and ideas together!) plan...

Definitely something to think about (all of those tulips are going to start blooming!) and consider in a constructive (as well as critical) manner!

I think a lot of City Council members and Kingston Citizens have really "gotten into the grove" (so to speak) so far [Actually, this appeared to begin in 08 around here...]this year!

Thank You for the Thread,

NS

Anonymous said...

I would only be in favor of this if you hired the new guy and fired Steve Finkle. What are we paying him for anyway, he has done little if anything to promote economic developement for this city during his tenure. Otherwise we do not need (read cannot afford) to hire another person that will only increase the city budget come next year. Or only hire the new guy on a trial basis. If he does not bring in $50,000.00 in additional tax revenue for the city in 1 year, then out he goes.

gerald said...

I had thought that a Main Street manager address the business of Kingston as whole, not as Uptown, Midtown, Downtown: the three should be treated as connected sections, a central corridor from the traffic circle to the Rondout. The corridor would be a clearly marked pedestrian and vehicular corridor: vehicular for easily navigating the city, and pedestrian friendly because once people get out of their cars anywhere along that corridor, it should be inviting, encouraging a brief visit, a walk, an exploration of what's around.