The Newburgh Community Land Bank in cooperation with the City of Newburgh is seeking proposals for the development and operation of Downing Park Urban Farm for 2017. As can be seen on the map below, the 2+ acre site is adjacent to Downing Park. It is fenced in, and for the past 18 months repairs have been made. Also, old construction debris and hazardous materials have been removed. The goal is to create a youth-based urban farm project that creates personal and social change through agriculture, imitating similar projects in Boston and New Orleans.
This RFP is for development and programming at Downing Park Urban Farm from March through December of this year, 2017. Proposals are due no later than March 1, 2017 12:00PM. You can find out more details by looking at the official RFP.
Weigant’s Tavern is one of those special buildings in Newburgh surrounded by history, mystery, and neglect. It might look like scrap wood to you, but this building is special with Weigant Family connections to the Revolutionary War. According to local historian Mary McTamaney, the original tavern was located at the north side of Broad Street just east of Liberty. The building was most likely moved during the 1930’s, and it is unlikely any of the original 18th-century building parts remain.
However, as Orange County Historian Johanna Yaun stated,”The structure was moved and repaired so we’ll never know how much of the configuration is original. But the care given to moving the structure in the 1930’s illustrates a chapter of Colonial Revivalism in the early 20th century. I think this story, especially in a city so rich with Revolutionary War connections, is important to remember. We weren’t only the place where Washington headquartered, we are also the place that pioneered the historic preservation of sites associated with the founding era. The tavern reminds us that if not for the local militias and committees of safety (the men who rose up from the community to take a stand against the monarchy), Washington’s army would not have come into existence. We can’t explain the success of the Army without telling the story of what happened in the colony’s taverns.”
It is exciting to learn that Thomas Burr Dodd of RipRap LLC will oversee the rehabilitation of Weigant’s Tavern (also spelled Weigand and Weygant). The interior condition is much worse than anything that you can imagine just by judging from the outside. There isn’t one right angle in this entire building. The floors are warped, the walls are disintegrating and everything else is collapsing. It is little wonder it hasn’t imploded. Where does one even begin on a project like this? In the first few minutes of talking to Dodd, you realize he has a passion for history and old buildings. He has tentative plans to create an office here, but would also consider other possibilities like renting out to a tenant who wants to restore the original tavern use.
The abandonment that plagued this corner of the Old Town Cemetery made it an incredibly frightful place. Hopefully, the development of Weigant’s Tavern will be one more building block to the revitalization of northern Liberty.
*Please note, there are no tours of the tavern and you should not try to gain entry. For now, enjoy these photos of the current condition.
Well what a surprise this is. Just when everyone thought this building was about to tumble down, brick repair has begun to the former Clinton Hotel at the corner of Washington Street and Liberty. They are starting at the rear off the building, knocking off loose bricks and stacking up others on the side. From the front of the building you can get a glimpse of the scaffolding peeking out from behind.
So what’s the deal with this building anyway? A fire gutted it in 1978. Since then it has been deteriorating brick by brick. I’ve been told plans are to rehabilitate the building into a mixed use property with possible lofts and ground floor exhibition space. And if all goes as planned, it might be the first Passive House in the Hudson Valley. Till then, hopefully the work will continue and prove to all the naysayers that buildings in severe disrepair don’t all have a date with a wrecking ball.
Yesterday was the ribbon cutting of the Central Hudson Main Street Revitalization Project. This project was a collaboration between Central Hudson, the City of Newburgh, Safe Harbors of the Hudson and the Newburgh Community Land Bank. The scope of this project included complete streets planning with crosswalks, curb extensions, planters and a new bus stop by Atlas Industries. It also included the funding of Safe Harbors Green Park and funding for the redevelopment of 96 Broadway – a long neglected building at a major intersection of Broadway.
The energy was very hopeful and full of excitement as we all stood around on this crisp fall day. Pedestrians were using the crosswalks, visitors sat on park benches, readers browsed the Little Free Library and riders sat at the new bus stop. This intersection has come leaps and bounds over the past decade. Although there is still much work to do, these improvements help to inspire others to continue to make progress in the City of Newburgh.
Perhaps you have noticed some major changes happening to some buildings on Washington Street over the past few months. They are located between Clark and Federal Streets and have been in various states of repair and abandonment as one reader mentioned when I posted about them three years ago in a Rescue Me post.
Renovations are wrapping up and I was able to take a peek inside. The buildings have been completely gutted and rehabbed. Brick walls and original wood floors can be seen throughout. The brand new bathrooms have floor to ceiling subway and wood grain porcelain tile. First floor apartments have access to the backyard that abuts St. George’s Cemetery with a nice tall stone wall. Laundry is on-site and accessible via the middle buildings. Much work is left to be done, like fixing the sidewalks, adding wrought iron railings and new glass front doors. Apartments vary from 1-2 bedrooms at $1,250-$1,450 and will be well lit along with security cameras.
The property is just a short walk to Liberty Street and all the latest happenings there. This newest renovation is taking revitalization efforts west on Washington Street. It will be just a matter of time before it carries over to Clark Street.
Some units have already been claimed, but there are plenty left. If you are interested contact:
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.
View of Ann Street facing east, with the Ann Street Gallery up ahead at the left.
View of 147 and 145 Ann Street, diagonal from the Habitat site.