Timothy Dexter Jr. grew up across the river in the town of Beacon. He is a homeowner in the City of Newburgh and also works for the City of Newburgh Fire Department. He is currently rehabbing a home on Powell Avenue.
You grew up in Beacon. What was the general sentiment about Newburgh while growing up across the river?
When I was growing up in Beacon it wasn’t much different than Newburgh. Many dilapidated buildings, high poverty and crime. With that being the case it was still scary to go to Newburgh. When I first moved to Newburgh all I knew was the Waterfront, Broadway and Robinson and was still scared.Newburgh was considered a dangerous place and going to Newburgh was a death sentence waiting to happen.
You mentioned that your father was involved in the revitalization of Beacon. Tell me a little bit about how that happened.
My father was a firefighter in Beacon since before I was born. In the early 90’s he also became the building inspector. In 1994 he joined both jobs and started and aggressive fire protection and code enforcement plan. He facilitated developers to easily renovate and rebuild while complying with code and hammered those who did not follow code. This made a huge difference and really facilitated Beacon’s renaissance. I think building code enforcement is key to fixing up Newburgh as it did Beacon.
How did the move to Newburgh happen? Tell me about the current house you live in.
I was hired by the City of Beacon Fire Department which is a combination Paid/Volunteer Department. I was hired young and craved excitement. I was looking to transfer out to a busier fully paid department. I looked at New Rochelle, Mt. Vernon, Poughkeepsie, but found that Newburgh had the best fire department out there. I got and apartment at Chadwick Gardens and applied for a transfer. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
My current house is a 2 family house on the west end of Ann St. I bought it at the age of 23 in 2008. It was in a bit of rough shape. It had the copper stolen out of it, there were gang tags spray painted through out and the layout made absoluteness no sense. So about 4 months, $57,000, and a lot of friends and sweat equity I have my current home.
You are now rehabbing a home on Powell. How did you purchase it and what plans do you have for it and the adjacent homes?
My partner and I started C.L. Dexter Properties LLC in June of last year to purchase and renovate buildings in Newburgh. We wanted to make a difference as well as make money. We purchased our current 2 family 1886 row house on Powell Ave from the city at auction. The building was condemned for years and in terrible shape. Being directly across from the Mount (Mount Saint Mary’s College) we figured it would be a good place to start. We are going to completely renovate this building from top to bottom from roof to basement. Once completed my partner will take one apartment and we will rent the other. The majority of the rest of the row is also vacant and in sub standard condition. We would like to continue to renovate these buildings and either rent or sell them to owner occupants. If we rent them my partner will be there to make sure they are maintained and taken care of. No absentee landlords with us. It is a prime location and is ready to be brought back to life. When I first bought my house my father thought I was crazy and said you couldn’t give him a house in Newburgh, Now with this new project, he has said “you are really on to something here”.
Now that you work and reside in the City of Newburgh, how has your perception of the City changed? Is it really such a scary place?
After living and working in Newburgh for 6 years I can tell you it is not a scary place at all. There is crime and there are problems in certain areas. But you will find that in any city any where. As we continue to clean up, renovate, and restore this once amazing city these problems will shrink. Unfortunately these particular troublesome neighborhoods give the entire city a bad image and its just not true.
Do you see any similarities between the revitalization of Beacon and Newburgh?
I believe that Newburgh has much more resources than Beacon and could be even better. Unfortunately Newburgh has progressed so much slower because of the negative connotation that Newburgh has and the fact that most people are scared. If there were more people who believe like I do then this place can really take off. I do think that it will take off soon. With programs like the Greater Newburgh Partnership, The Newburgh Land Bank, and what I believe a change in the code enforcement in the city, I think Newburgh is poised for a change for the better.
What advice would you give others looking to restore or purchase a home in the City of Newburgh?
I would tell them to go for it! This city had a lot to offer and I think now is the time. There is nothing like taken a broken structure and turning in to a home with your own blood sweat and tears. Newburgh has some of the most amazing architecture and if your are willing to put the work in it is a great value to get your hands on.
Thank you Timothy for sharing your story!