02/06/17 11:45am

Newburgh Property Sales Record 2016

It’s nice to get confirmation that the work I do showcasing some of these abandoned properties has produced positive results. Last year I blogged about city-owned property, 28 Courtney. Shortly after, a serious buyer contacted me. I put her in touch with David Kohl, the city’s economic developer, and a sale was completed. You can read more about it in the article above. If it’s too small, you can see the PDF version here.

12/12/16 7:30am

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Yesterday, December 11th was the 8 year anniversary of when I started writing Newburgh Restoration. I started writing the anniversary blog posts every year to show that throughout the year, there are many small and large victories of revitalization happening despite what you might read in the news.

Honestly, 2016 was a hard year for me, as you might have noticed there was a lack of blog posts earlier in the year. A  house deal we had been anxiously waiting for fell through and I kind of lost my steam. Other life events have happened and the quest to be Newburgh full time has just been very difficult. However, I am very optimistic that will change in 2017.

Overall, I continue to have very high ambitions for Newburgh despite tragedies that might happen. Local artist and gallery owner,Will Teran, said it best, “although tragedy can happen anywhere, this should Not define all that is the progress that our city has been achieving.” My list below is by no means a complete list of achievements in the past year, but it is representative of positive change. Feel free to add anything I have left out in the comments.

And always thank you for reading this blog, and thank you to those who help contribute. If you’d like to help:

  1. If you have an event you want published, please create an account and post to the community events calendar. It’s open to everyone.
  2. The forum is for asking questions and for answering them. It’s open to everyone. All are encouraged to use it when possible.
  3. If you have photography skills and take photos depicting Newburgh, I’d love to share the city through your eyes with the photo of the week, or weekly link round up. Just email me the photos or share them on the flickr pool.
  4. If you are renovating or restoring your house, please share it! It inspires others who are wanting to do the same. Just email me at NewburghRestoration[at]gmail[dot]com.

Here’s our look back at the past year:

  • Restoration work has begun on the Tower of Victory at Washington’s HQ. Visit and you can see scaffolding up.
  • A brand new restaurant has opened called the Liberty Street Bistro. A welcomed addition indeed.
  • Newburgh had its first convictions for dumping
  • The City continues to be attractive to new residents, like internationally known artist, Helen O’Leary
  • Columbia University fall design studio students completed their semester in Newburgh developing new ideas to address local and regional issues
  • A designer couple began renovations on a long abandoned property, 143 Washington Street. This was a Land Bank property. Work has seemed to stall though
  • Waterfront land that was once a superfund site has now been cleaned and is being used as the People’s Waterfront Park till long term plans are decided
  • Newburgh won a green streets grant from TD Bank to plant trees on Liberty Street in the Heights
  • New art organization, Strongroom, creates exhibitions in vacant and unused spaces in the city
  • The Newburgh Illuminated Festival was held for another year. We are hoping it can happen again for 2017
  • An abandoned, tax-foreclosed Dominican hair salon became home to YouThere
  • A new hardware store opens on Broadway. “Finally we don’t have to drive all the way to Home Depot!”
  • New retail shop, Raghaus Letterpress opens on Liberty Street
  • The first annual Vegan Food Festival happened
  • After a lot of hard work and fundraising Safe Harbors Green Park opens to the community at the corner of Liberty Street and Broadway
  • The old Moo & Oink space finally has found a new tenant, Infinity Lounge
  • The Washington Street apartments go from being in disrepair and abandonment for the past 10+ years, to being beautifully renovated dwellings helping to revitalize this section of Washington Street
  • Habitat for Humanity will be building 4 new houses on Ann Street on a vacant lot
  • Lake Street might be getting a makeover soon, and we got to see a glimpse of this at a workshop held at City Hall
  • Newburgh Open Studios, a glimpse inside the growing art scene, was held for a 6th consecutive year with 99 participating artists
  • A new Korean restaurant is coming to Liberty Street
  • The Central Hudson Main Street Revitalization Project was completed. What was accomplished with the funds: a complete streets design with a new bus stop, Safe Harbor Green Park and the redevelopment of 96 Broadway
  • Huge news for the Liberty Street School. A developer from Brooklyn plans to rehab it, as well as other properties in the city
  • Newburgh gets a high-end fashion boutique, Cream Newburgh, that opens at 188 Liberty
  • Our favorite local shrimp farmer, Eco Shrimp, gets a loan to expand the business
  • Jamaican Restaurant, Calabash moves to Liberty Street, adding to the array of international cuisine options
  • The Newburgh Artist Colony on Broadway is fully rented and is looking to expand its model along Mid-Broadway
  • The City of Newburgh is seeking developers for very significant historical properties that have long been neglected: 257 Liberty Street, the City Club, the Dutch Reformed Church and 2 Montgomery
  • Local businesses are pooling together and revamped the downtown neighborhood map. A new one will be issued every 4 months
  • The Little Free Library has been installed at the corner of Broadway and Liberty Street, seeking to increase an interest in reading and literacy
  • International flights might be coming to Stewart Airport mid 2017
12/01/16 7:30am

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It has been installed for a few weeks now, but I would like to officially let everyone know that the Little Free Library has finally been installed at the corner of Liberty Street and Broadway. Its new home is in the Safe Harbors Green Park.

This whole project started when I contacted local carpenter, Stephen Sinnott, to see if he would be willing to build a simple small library for a fee. Stephen not only built it free of charge, but went above and beyond, creating something truly special and unique for Newburgh. All of the materials used to build the library were free of charge. The lumber came from Space Create, the copper roof from ABC Supply and Stephen reused 100 year old windows he found from a Balmville carriage house. Inside there is a rotating book shelf and a whimsical door knocker on the side.

Literally every time I have passed this corner someone is opening the library. There is a steward who looks after the library from Safe Harbors. But it will be a community effort to make sure it stays stocked and used. If you have books you would like to place in the library, please stop by every once and a while and drop off a book or two.

A special thanks again to Stephen Sinnott who built the library and Lisa Silverstone who helped give it a home!

09/15/16 7:30am

Ann Street Rendering

Habitat for Humanity officially announced yesterday they will be breaking ground at 150, 152, 154, & 156 Ann Street. The homes, which are sponsored by faith-based organizations, are located at the corner of South Johnston Street, right next to the old Broadway Armory.

This location is ripe for new development. One block north is Broadway, and to the east is the Ann Street Gallery, new park Safe Harbors Green, the Ritz Theater, and Liberty Street – with established businesses and new ventures coming to the scene. For as long as I have known this lot, it has always been empty.

The only original home at this corner is to the left. It was once a burned out shell but has been rehabilitated for years now. The owners were in for quite a shock when they bought it at auction sight unseen, only to find out the cute-sounding house with 8 fireplaces was actually a building with no roof, no windows and missing floors in what people were calling the “hooker district“. This corner has come a long way.

There is still room to do more here. Diagonal the the Habitat site is 147 Ann Street, which also suffered a fire according the 1980 historic district inventory report. It is in horrible shape – from roof to foundation. But it has beautiful cast iron lintels and eyebrow windows which have been better highlighted next door at 145 Ann. It also has a storefront that could become an office or shop. On South Johnston Street there are abandoned carriage houses and garages that are in danger of collapsing at any moment.

According to Habitat, their Newburgh homeowners contribute nearly $390,000 per year in school and city taxes. They have helped 95 families become homeowners.

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View of Ann Street facing east, with the Ann Street Gallery up ahead at the left.

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View of 147 and 145 Ann Street, diagonal from the Habitat site.

07/07/16 12:48pm

Newburgh Hero

This story was submitted by Ann Stratton about these brave two young men that help put out a porch fire. Well done!

“A couple of local heroes. Anthony Magistro and Miguel Sandoval stopped when they noticed a neighbor’s porch was on fire. They quickly went into action to see if anyone was home and call 911. Together with neighbors across the street Jimmy (an ex-fireman) and Erica put the fire out with fire extinguishers. The fire department arrived to finish the job. Only minor damage to the front porch thanks to the four of them!”

-Photo Ruedi Hofmann

04/21/16 7:30am

tree

The City of Newburgh, NY was announced as a winner of TD Green Streets, a grant program from TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, and the Arbor Day Foundation supporting innovation in urban forestry. The $20,000.00 grant will fund projects throughout the City of Newburgh, including tree plantings along Liberty Street in Washington Heights, a new watering vehicle, and community education on the importance and care of trees.

TD Green Streets is a component of TD Forests, a North American initiative that helps protect critical forest habitats equal to the amount of paper the bank uses each year. Together, these programs underscore the bank’s commitment to forest protection and stewardship, and are a direct investment in the health of our urban tree canopy.

“TD Bank is proud to award TD Green Streets grants to these municipalities for enhancing their green spaces through urban forestry projects,” said Joe Doolan, Head of Environmental Affairs for TD Bank. “We’re committed to being an environmental leader, and our work with the Arbor Day Foundation helps us do that in communities across our footprint.”

“We’re so excited to join forces with the Newburgh Heights Association and local residents for our “Liberty Street Re-forestation” project,” says Richard Harper, Chair of Newburgh’s Conservation Advisory Committee. “This is a wonderful opportunity to educate people on the importance of trees and how to care for them. There are so many economic, environmental, and health benefits of trees, particularly in the urban environment. We are especially proud of having been selected by TD Green Streets as the ONLY city in New York State to have been awarded this innovative grant!”