11/30/16 7:30am

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The City of Newburgh is accepting requests for proposals for the purchase and rehabilitation of some of the most historically significant buildings in the city. Up for sale are the Dutch Reformed Church, the City Club aka William Culbert House and 2 Montgomery, a vacant urban renewal lot. RFP’s are due by Wednesday, February 1st, 2017.

A master developer is sought to collaborate with the City in the creation of viable residential, commercial, and public space. The empty lot is included for the purposes of providing for an income generating project to support the preservation and restoration of the City Club and the DRC, and to ensure a public use of the DRC. To view the RFP register with BidNet or check back with the city’s website to see if it has been published there.

The City has given a nice summary of historical details of the properties. Let’s take a look at each of the offerings.

Historic Dutch Reformed Church

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Recognized as the ‘Beacon on the Hill”, this National Historic Landmark building was recognized as a “Save America’s Treasures” site by the federal government, was named one of the World Monument Fund 100 most endangered heritage sites and was named one of the “7 to Save” by the Preservation League of New York State in 2015. An outstanding Greek Revival building designed in 1835 by world-renowned architect Alexander Jackson Davis, the monumental structure borrows proportions and details from classical Greek precedents and was intended as a symbol of the community’s enlightened taste.

©Michael Bowman, 2012

Today, however, after several decades on non-use and neglect, the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) is in a dire state of disrepair needing immediate stabilization and extensive restoration. The magnificent, acoustically acclaimed interior has deteriorated significantly, specifically following a collapse of a large portion of the vaulted coffered ceiling in 2014. The DRC has been the site for a National Park Service and World Monument Fund Summer School in Restoration Arts in the early 2010s. Presently, the Preservation League of New York State has undertaken an update of the engineering study which will be available to potential developers. The nomination for the Dutch Reformed Church’s National Historic Landmark status is available upon request.

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The City of Newburgh is seeking a full restoration of the DRC and re-establishment of its historic role as a civic center for the City, where people can gather together in common purpose to discuss ideas, celebrate our heritage and culture, host important events, and enjoy the arts. The final use and management of the DRC should be considered in consultation with the adjacent community in order to allow for some or all of those uses mentioned above, and to ensure long-lasting preservation of the structure.

The DRC, with its commanding hillside location, is highly visible from the river. Its lot size is approximately 160’ by 215’ (tax map parcel: section 19 block 1 lot 25). A community garden has been created along the southern end of the lot adjacent to the Newburgh Free Library and Newburgh Enlarged City School District administration building.

The City Club aka William Culbert House

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Just south of the Dutch Reformed Church, is 120 Grand Street – commonly referred to as the “City Club” building. Like the DRC, it is located in the heart of Newburgh’s East End Historic District.

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This distinctive brick and sandstone building was based on a collaborative design by Andrew Jackson Downing and Calvert Vaux. It was built between 1852 and 1857. A description of the building was included in the 1857 Vaux publication “Villas and Cottages” as Design No. 22 (“Suburban House with Curved Roof”). The building was originally designed as the home/office of William Culbert. In 1904, it became headquarters of the Newburgh City Club, an organization catering to the city’s leading businessmen and politicians. Shortly thereafter some additions were made to the original structure.

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The building was carefully restored in the 1970’s but succumbed to a fire in 1981. Sadly, all that remains of the original structure are the foundation walls and exterior walls of the first and second stories. The first and second floors were listed as having a combined square footage of 7,128 square feet. The building has no interior walls or roof. The structure’s exterior walls are supported by interior steel beams.

The City Club building is prominently located on a 45’ x 122’ lot (tax map parcel: section 24 block 2 lot 17) at the corner of Grand and Second Streets. The property borders a parcel containing the Newburgh Free Library as well as the offices of the Newburgh Enlarged City School District. The 1841 County Courthouse and St. George’s Episcopal Church, one of the oldest buildings in the City of Newburgh, sit across the street – to the west of the City Club building. A municipal parking lot is situated across Second Street, to the building’s south.

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Both the City Club and the DRC are located in the Downtown Neighborhood zoning district. Interested developers are urged to consult the City of Newburgh’s Zoning Ordinance for information on the variety of uses permitted within the Downtown Neighborhood District.

A full exterior restoration would be preferred, however alternative plans for rehabilitation or reuse may be considered. Additionally, some public access or community use would be preferred. However, the City may consider projects or developments that offer less public access in exchange for a more substantial restoration.

Parcel of Former Urban Renewal Land

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Bundled with the two historically significant buildings is 2 Montgomery Street, a 1.8 acre block of former urban renewal land bounded by Montgomery Street, Second Street, Colden Street, and Orange County Community College. This vacant, commercial parcel possesses panoramic, unobstructed views of the Hudson River and Mount Beacon.

The property is also known as 1-3 Colden Street, 2-34 Montgomery Street and 56 Second Street (tax map parcel: section 24 block 10 and lot 1.2). It was formed by combining several small lots into one larger parcel. Years ago, a city street transected the property; remnants of the street’s retaining walls emerge as outcroppings throughout certain sections of the lot. The parcel has access to both municipal water and sewer.

Mid to high-rise buildings, with shop  fronts on the first floor to foster pedestrian activity, are encouraged in this zoning district. Projects that meet the zoning requirements without the need for substantial variances are expected. Details of the Waterfront Gateway Zone can be found at http://ecode.com/30538943.

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04/25/14 10:00am

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The weekly link roundup is a collection of links related to Newburgh, revitalization, urban planning and anything else that might inspire change or create dialogue. Photo by NR flickr pool user Brian Wolfe

The Separate Kitchen Makes a Comeback [NYT]
Newburgh cleanup site to get federal review [THR]
Survey: To recruit and keep millennials, give them walkable places with good transit and other options [Transportation for America]
Top 10 reasons for a new American Dream [Better! Cities & Towns]
New data shows city growth outpaces suburbs [Better! Cities & Towns]
Seven key forces that tilt the playing field in favor of sprawl [Community Builders]
Alleyways become pathways to urban revitalization [Elevation DC]
Two Very Different Types of Migrations Are Driving Growth in U.S. Cities [Atlantic Cities]
Places in the Making: MIT Report Highlights the ‘Virtuous Cycle of Placemaking’ [Project for Public Spaces]

Add your own photos depicting city life to the Newburgh Restoration flickr pool to be used on the blog, or email me. **Flickr users please do not forgot to remove disabling of downloading of pictures. Otherwise I can’t use them**

12/14/12 11:03am

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The Newburgh Preservation Association is pleased to report progress is being made at the former Dutch Reformed Church in the City of Newburgh following last January’s devastating ceiling collapse.  As already reported, last month, the City of Newburgh, which owns the DRC, agreed to work with NPA to test the ceiling debris at the site and, depending on the results, remove it before the Christmas holiday.  This week the results came back, and because they were negative, the way has been cleared for the City’s Public Works Department under the leadership of George Garrison to begin the haul-out.

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Works crews arrived bright and early this morning and will continue working hard at the DRC through the end of the year removing debris and separating out salvageable items for preservation, reuse or sale.  Also this week, Jeff Wallace, a local artist and craftsman, volunteered his time and materials to repair the open hatch in the Church ceiling, saying simply, “it needed to be done.”  This should serve as an inspiration to all this season.  It also represents a crucial and much-appreciated breakthrough that will now allow NPA to raise the $25,000 it will need to match a state grant for conducting stabilization studies of the church and ultimately replace the ceiling and restore the structure for its future use as the Newburgh Lyceum at the DRC, a civic center where the people of Newburgh will be able to gather together in common purpose to discuss, even debate, ideas; celebrate our heritage and culture; host important events; and enjoy the arts.  The total estimated cost of the project is between $10 and $12 million.

DRC collage 2Please join NPA in extending profound thanks to: George Garrison and his outstanding team of professionals at the City of Newburgh Department of Public Works (845-565-3298), City Manager Rick Herbeck (845-569-7301), Jeff Wallace and all those who made this clean-up and repair effort possible.  The challenges at the former DRC can feel overwhelming at times, but with partners like these, we can be confident in our cause and in the future.

THANK YOU!

About NPA
The Newburgh Preservation Association (NPA), an all-volunteer organization founded in 1978, is the only local nonprofit exclusively committed to rebuilding, preserving and promoting the architectural heritage and historic viewsheds of the City of Newburgh.  In 2010, NPA helped facilitate the sale of the 1914 West Shore Train Station to Ray Yannone of Storm King Builders, and earlier this year, announced plans to re-launch Alexander Jackson Davis’s historic 1835 American Reformed Church as The Newburgh Lyceum at the former Dutch Reformed Church, part of a broader effort by the group to stabilize, restore and rededicate the landmark building as the heart of Newburgh’s public square.

About the Newburgh Lyceum at the Dutch Reformed Church
The former Dutch Reformed Church is an outstanding Greek Revival building designed in 1835 by world-renowned architect Alexander Jackson Davis.  The monumental structure borrows proportions, siting and details from classical Greek precedents. Intended as a symbol of the community’s enlightened taste, it commands a dominant view over the Hudson.  The DRC is “the greatest surviving ecclesiastical commission of America’s greatest architect of the era” according to J. Winthrop Aldrich, former New York Deputy Commissioner of Historic Preservation.  In 2001, the United States government designated it a National Historic Landmark.

To support NPA’s mission, become a member and/or contribute to The Newburgh Lyceum at the former Dutch Reformed Church, please visit http://www.preservenewburgh.org/.

-Press release and photos courtesy of the NPA

12/10/12 11:00am

Newburgh Dutch Reformed Church

On Sunday, December 2, 2012 at their annual social, the Newburgh Preservation Association presented awards to the Newburgh Brewery, Atlas Industries and myself. Some of the other exciting news that filled the evening was the announcement that the City of Newburgh, which owns the building, agreed to work with the NPA to test the debris at the site and, depending on the results, remove it before the Christmas holiday.  This is a crucial and much-appreciated breakthrough that will allow NPA to raise the $25,000 it will need to match a state grant for conducting stabilization studies of the church and ultimately replace the ceiling and restoring the structure.  The total estimated cost of the project is between $10 and $12 million.  With this overwhelming challenge in mind at the social, NPA welcomed and celebrated the work of commercial photographer Ruedi Hofmann, new to the city, who last month gathered local artists for an historic ensemble photo inside the DRC, evoking Grand Central Station and the intersection of Newburgh’s greatest assets: historic architecture and a forward-looking arts community.  Newburgh Art Supply owners, Gerardo Castro and Michael Gabor alongside Kippy Boyle organized the artists for the photo shoot as a followup to their successful Newburgh Open Studios event. A copy of the photo is currently on display at Newburgh Art Supply, 5 Grand Street.

The Newburgh Preservation Association (NPA), an all-volunteer organization founded in 1978, is the only local nonprofit exclusively committed to rebuilding, preserving and promoting the architectural heritage and historic viewsheds of the City of Newburgh.  In 2010, NPA helped facilitate the sale of the 1914 West Shore Train Station to Ray Yannone of Storm King Builders, and earlier this year, announced plans to re-launch Alexander Jackson Davis’s historic 1835 American Reformed Church as The Newburgh Lyceum at the former Dutch Reformed Church, part of a broader effort by the group to stabilize, restore and rededicate the landmark building as the heart of Newburgh’s public square.

The former Dutch Reformed Church is an outstanding Greek Revival building designed in 1835 by world-renowned architect Alexander Jackson Davis.  The monumental structure borrows proportions, siting and details from classical Greek precedents. Intended as a symbol of the community’s enlightened taste, it commands a dominant view over the Hudson.  The DRC is “the greatest surviving ecclesiastical commission of America’s greatest architect of the era” according to J. Winthrop Aldrich, former New York Deputy Commissioner of Historic Preservation.  In 2001, the United States government designated it a National Historic Landmark.

Press release provided by Kevin Burke

Photo © Michael Bowman

05/21/12 10:00am

Newburgh Dutch Reformed Church

My name is Michael Bowman and I am a photographer based in the Hudson Valley.  For many years I have been photographing things and places that other people often ignore, abandon, neglect or have forgotten. On my blog Desolate Places, I showcase a collection of beautiful, yet lonely places.  Recently, I have found myself returning to the City of Newburgh time and time-again, trying to document the many stories that make up “New York’s other city.”  In the coming weeks I hope to share some images of Newburgh that have inspired me.

I’ve been waiting for permission from the City of Newburgh to post this… a few weeks ago I was contacted to do some documentary work on the Dutch Reformed Church, located in the City of Newburgh.

One of the region’s most storied Historic buildings, it has sat vacant since the late 60’s when it was deconsecrated by the church, and has been used on and off as a performance space through the 80’s. In 1998 First Lady Hillary Clinton spoke on the steps during her “Save America’s Treasures” tour, and that ignited Preservation efforts that took off during the early 2000s.

Sadly, over the past winter a small roof leak caused a major roof collapse – though not structural in nature, the collapse damaged a large amount of the original plaster and framing. Click here to see what the original ceiling looked like before it collapsed.

These photos were taken to draw attention to the work that needs to be done to stabilize, and hopefully bring back this Hudson Valley historic site. Funds are needed, and you can make a donation here.

Please contact the Newburgh Preservation Association for more information about how you can join, volunteer, donate and help with future efforts.

www.newburghdrc.org

– All photos ©Michael Bowman, 2012

Newburgh Dutch Reformed Church

Newburgh Dutch Reformed Church

Newburgh Dutch Reformed Church

Newburgh Dutch Reformed Church

Newburgh Dutch Reformed Church

Newburgh Dutch Reformed Church

Newburgh Dutch Reformed Church

Newburgh Dutch Reformed Church

Newburgh Dutch Reformed Church

– All photos ©Michael Bowman, 2012

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Newburgh Vintage Emporium is Expanding with Ware-house

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