Some very exciting news has finally been announced concerning the empty lot on the corner of Liberty Street and Broadway. Safe Harbors of the Hudson (SHOH), which owns the buildings adjacent to the lot, has finally secured its purchase to create a community park. Organically, the lot has become the local headquarters for festivals, markets, art exhibitions, and community events. However, its unusual slope from buildings razed in the early 1980’s hinders its full potential. A grand new master plan can finally begin to maximize the land into a formal community park for all to enjoy.
SHOH has been dedicated to improving Newburgh since its beginning, by rehabilitating the notorious Hotel Newburgh into safe community housing, by spearheading the restoration of the Ritz Theater, and creation of the Ann Street Gallery.
The Newburgh Community Land Bank sponsored a Central Hudson Main Street Revitalization grant. SHOH will receive a portion of this grant to help beautify the lot. The Land Bank is working on creating complete streets for lower Broadway and is overseeing the renovation of 96 Broadway which, is part of the project scope with Central Hudson. Madeline Fletcher, director of the land bank said, “Partnerships like the one forged between the Land Bank, City of Newburgh, and Safe Harbors will help to support existing and new local businesses and to help build a walkable, cyclable, safe downtown Newburgh.” Phase 1 of the comprehensive park plan will be paid for through the Central Hudson Grant. The park will be designed in collaboration with One Nature.
Support for the project grew with Mayor Kennedy and City Manager Michael Ciaravino helping navigate the process at City Hall. Mayor Kennedy said, “It is another prime example of cooperation and collaboration by City government, an excellent non-profit organization and private citizens.”
SHOH board members could not be more pleased. This purchase enables their vision of promoting economic growth to the surrounding area, creating greater community engagement, and helps attract partners to complete the vision of restoring the Ritz Theater. Executive director, Lisa Silverstone said, “Thanks to the bold and strategic vision of its board of directors and a generous lead gift, Safe Harbors was able to secure a commercial loan and ensure the lot remains an open, green, cultural park space that will enhance the livability of Newburgh’s downtown,” and “create a fully activated, integrated park in our community.” Hannah Brooks, who donated the down payment said “collaboration is how you save a city,” and noted she gave the donation because she “has seen the community turning around and a change in the climate in city hall. But most of all belief in Safe Harbors of the Hudson.”
The Liberty Street/Broadway lot is in a critical location for the City of Newburgh. A new community park will have a positive impact on the surrounding streets and neighborhoods. It shows that Newburgh isn’t just concerned about building new real estate or development, its concerned about creating place, otherwise “there is no there there”.
Fundraising efforts for the new park will be announced in the future. If you wish to donate ahead of time, please click here.