Two years ago this Saturday, I started Newburgh Restoration. I really didn’t know where I was going with it when I started it. I just knew that I wanted to bring to peoples attention the positive things that were going on in Newburgh. If you dug a little, you’d find out that there was so much more than what usually made the headlines. I am pleased with where the blog is at right now and I really enjoy it. Blogging about a transitional city is always a challenge. (Even some of my early blog postings make me cringe!) I am constantly trying to find a harmonious balance of stories to write, news to share, and of course, my own opinions.
Things in the beginning started off a little slow but, more than 370 blog postings later, 2010 has been a great year for the blog with traffic increasing every month. Visitors include people currently living in Newburgh, people who have left Newburgh, and people interested in Newburgh from the NYC Metro area and internationally. I continue to to receive emails from people who feel that Newburgh is on the brink of a turn around and imminent upswing. One recent commenter said,”Your site, and all the positive information it contains, almost make me want to move back.” Another Brooklynite commented that she and all her dinner guests were checking out Newburgh and the amazing house prices and, “we were saying how we should all move [to Newburgh] and chuck Brooklyn 😉 .” We are at over 31,000 visitors for this site since it began. That’s 31,000 visitors interested in positive Newburgh news.
Literally every month there are positive things going on in the city. Not only do my blog postings show that, but so do news articles. You can check out the positive news section of this blog, which is a collection of great Newburgh articles. There have been some awesome things that have happened since this blog started and my City of Progress posting showed that. Here are some of the newer things since then:
- The Chapman Steamer Firehouse is no longer a renovation in danger, and will soon be home to artists lofts and a community center
- The East Parmenter project is now starting Phase 2. An entire block will be changed due to this project.
- Habitat for Humanity will start a new project called Brush with Kindness.
- The Guardian Angels graduates a class in November 2010
- Prime real estate on the Newburgh waterfront is now pollution free.
- The newly purchased Armory is now ready for community events, and has even hosted a basketball tournament
- The Westshore Train Station which was on the brink of collapsing, is completely renovated and is now the home to a playhouse and pizza shop
- SUNY Orange Community College will soon be opening it’s doors for the Spring 2011 semester, bringing about 2000 more people to the City of Newburgh.
- A grant has been awarded to revitalize 11 homes on Dubois Street
- The Newburgh Heights Association is active again
- Newburgh will be in the movies with a movie filmed on Grand Street
- People continue to come to Newburgh and restore gutted homes and businesses, transforming blocks one property at a time.
- The Washington Park Florist is back open in business
- Youth are taking a stand in Newburgh starting their own groups
- The Urban Farmers League is a success
- The Ann Street Gallery, is named “Best Gallery” by Times Herald Record readers for the second year in a row, and has welcomed over 1,000 visitors in 2010
- In 2010 Safe Harbor of the Hudson received a planning grant to create a healthy cafe in one of their storefronts. 2011 will be the year that plans begin to take shape.
- In 2010, the Ritz Theater received $950,000 in grant funding for Phase I of the restoration. In 2011, SHOH will break ground. It will include the removal of two projection booths and the creation of a window through to the Ritz Theater Lobby so that patrons can view the renovation process as it happens. Work is also beginning on the box office space on Broadway.
- And something new to look out for in 2011, is a new project from SHOH that will combine family housing with economic development and the arts.
- Newburgh has gained a vital new launch pad for the arts with the certification of a film production facility.
- The Colden Street waterfront development project is almost fully approved and will apparently start construction work ASAP
- The Pop Up Gallery was a success bringing almost 200 people to downtown Newburgh. Many would like to see future gallery openings!
- Stay tuned for more projects in the works that I haven’t been able to blog about yet!
It is easy to think that Newburgh hasn’t seen much change because people easily forget Newburgh’s accomplishments. But read some news articles from the early 2000’s, and you’ll see talk about a future gallery on the waterfront (now the Yellowbird Building/Downing Film Center), a future revived Hotel Newburgh (now the Cornerstone Residences of Safe Harbors of the Hudson), or a future ferry connection from Newburgh to the MTA (now the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry). The same articles said that Newburgh had no art and no theater, something certain commentaries felt was necessary for a revival. Today, we have the Railroad Playhouse, the Ann Street Gallery, the Newburgh Actors Studio, the lobby of the Ritz Theater, and a few Pop-Up Galleries around the city. There are more artistic events happening around the city and, there are definitely more on the way.
We are still waiting to see more progress with the Ritz Theater, the Liberty Street School, the City Club, the Dutch Reformed Church, the Regal Bag Building (which I hear is far from dead), new businesses to come on Liberty Street, Broadway, and the Waterfront. I can’t wait to see what developments the next year will bring for all of Newburgh!