Thursday, July 21, 2011


Almost as important as the "News Of The World" scandal is the recent discussion regarding the lone Kings Inn proposal here in Kingston. An eyesore that everyone loves to point to when looking for a reason we have problems in Midtown. 

During the search process this last six months, only one developer has made the effort to present something. Unfortunately the proposal lends itself to adding to the problem we are trying to solve. Subsidized Housing.

I have to thank Safe Harbor for spending the time creating the plans and offering themselves to our needs, but Broadway, especially in midtown west, doesn't need four or five floors of financially stressed families where there is no work to support any additional residents.

In the Freeman, Rich Cahill wins the quote of the day: "I would rather see a hole in the ground than see a low-income housing project." He is right. 
Kingston has already surpassed what would be a comfortable margin of government subsidized housing within our borders. With the County still refusing to consume their rightful responsibility on the Safety Net issue, Kingston would be poised to handle just that many more clients of DSS. 

Safe Harbors of the Hudson is calling for up to 50 affordable apartments in two buildings at the corner. Could I suggest they look at the NOAH Hotel site on Abeel Street and give us a price? Now there's the "Hole in the ground" that could be filled with a structure of this kind.

Here's another question: Im reading that there also would be 24-hour security and such support services as job training at this facility. Are we keeping an eye on the evening street crowd or the residents who are to be placed in the new structure? I mean 24-hour security isn't doing very well at Spring Brook and Yosman Tower, so why would it work here?

All the Mayoral candidates are right to reject the proposal, but very few people have expressed interest in the crooked lot in question. Shayne mentioned condominiums at one point, but his quote summed it up stating: “Midtown has a disproportionate number of poor and low-income people. We need to have development at that site to diversify and create and foster an environment for all classes of people to live and work in Midtown.” Can anyone disagree with that?

When it comes to building condos and commercial space, the former parking garage site was the perfect location, but tradition would have it, we screwed up a great idea that would have really served the city best. Are we so stupid?

Andi, Hayes, Ron and even Jean have opined that Kingston has had enough of subsidized housing. I bet the Aldermanic and Legislative candidates would agree as well.  This is where a Comprehensive Plan would have helped in that developers would know what the citizens and government officials are looking for and where. This outfit may not have bothered with their proposal had they been provided with such a plan.

Some of us have spoken to developers who are actually waiting to see who survives the election process before jumping in. Depending on the outcome, some feel certain candidates would not be agreeable to work with from either lack of experience or inability to play well with others. It will be interesting to see who makes contact after November's election.

I'll leave you with one last quote from Andi: “We have a golden opportunity to recapture a valuable location along our Broadway business corridor. That’s right — business corridor, not another housing project. The lack of vision (by city officials), and taking the easy way out instead of solid economic growth can no longer continue." She's right!


Anonymous said...

Did you ever have an idea that you were sure was so obvious that someone else, perhaps someone better suited to put it forward, would do so..and no-one did? That's how I feel about an idea I had when this topic first came up. So, with permission for any Mayoral candidate who wants to run with it to do so, here it is:

1. Let a developer put in a modest size office building, catering to 8-5~Mon-Fri businesses such as Insurance,Tax Prep, Real Estate, Attorney, etc.
1a. Have a 'common area' with shared reception, waiting rm, phone switchboard, security, snack vendo, steno/copy equpt etc, not unlike what is done at business "incubators", with shared expenses among the tenants.

2. This is where it gets interesting. The City retains ownership and maintenance of the PARKING LOT.
2a. During the business day, the lot is occupied by employees & customers of the office building. It clears out around 5PM.
2b. Then a couple hours later it fills up AGAIN, this time with visitors to UPAC, restaurants, and that grocery store, etc.
2c. Winter bonus: During snowstorms it can be used for overnight parking in an area where off-street parking is exceedingly rare.
2d. Since it is owned by the CITY, the police don't have to beg the owners to file charges for trespassing & loitering problems, or worry about jurisdiction disputes surrounding problems involving drugs or "working girls", etc.
2e. A Kiosk, (or what we call a 'Muni-Meter', in Queens) could be installed to collect parking fees, negating the need to buy & install Madsen Memorial Meters and also making snowplowing easier for the DPW. Parking fees might even pay for the routine maintenance & plenty of lighting.

I know some otherwise well-intended people will object to spending ANY money on this in these hard times, but I do think the benefits far, FAR outweigh the costs.

joe frank said...

its nice to see that your posting was bi-partisan.

Good job!

Anonymous said...

I want to know more about this hotel developer proposal you have been hinting about for weeks now. Could you and Shayne really be the only ones actively courting such people?
Were you the only County Legislator at the meeting? Doesnt this impact the welfare of the city enough to bring out the other representatives? They are running too.

Anonymous said...

2:57... You are on the right track when it comes to the type of business that should be on Broadway. Insurance, banks, mortgage brokers, real estate and similar businesses should be throughout the corridor. The uptown business district suffers 5pm death because those are the only occupants up there. It causes a ghost town effect once they close.
A decent hotel/business center at the Kings Inn site would spur such a transition. That would help uptown at the same time.

Anonymous said...

How about a police substation in the former bank on henry and Broadway? It could be a temporary home for KPD while it cleans up the criminal element working that area. Once you get rid of the criminal activity you stand a better chance in bringing in legitimate home owners to buy forclosed or condemned homes. And along with that comes developers who feel that it has potential. You made a correct statement that they are probably waiting to see who is elected.
Kudos for writing and acknowledging other party candidates. We are in this together and it will eventually take a bi-partisan act to get the city of Kingston back to its former glory.
As to what to put in the vacant lot after the National guard tears the Kings Inn down? How about a green oasis until the rest of midtown is cleaned up. Plants, trees and etc. Make it look attractive until such time the property can be sold.

Jacobs Live People for People said...

The very fact that the City of Kingston has not had a Comprehensive Master Plan in 48 years sums this up with a BOW. In order to meet the needs of the City of Kingston and also to generate revenue you need up to date statistics and a Comprehensive Plan for the Future. City Government Leaders are going in so many different directions and quite frankly creating the very need for low income housing. What has been accomplished to increase the tax base and lower the expenses in the City of Kingston? Answer this question? WE NEED A BUSINESS LEADER.