What's the General Consensus?

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Topic: What's the General Consensus?

General Newburgh Discussion November 17, 2015 at 4:12 pm

What's the General Consensus?

My husband and are relocating back to NYC-area from San Francisco within the next couple of months, where we can actually have an opportunity to buy a house (SF is so crazy expensive it’s disgusting). We have friends in Peekskill who love it there and we checked it out on our last visit and decided that’s where we could see ourselves settling.

However, then I stumbled upon this site and discovered Newburgh! I’m enamored with the idea of restoring a grand old home, at a cost for much less than Peekskill. Our main concerns are of course the crime rate and the blight that still exists across most of the city.

My main questions are:

1. Tax rates seems to be outrageously expensive — why is this? What is it paying for? I’d be fine if it were for an increased police presence but it sounds like the police dept is underfunded as is. And if we do completely remodel an old home (hopefully a former “mansion” that was subdivided which we would convert back), does that mean the taxes would increase even more once we finish restoration?

2. Crime. I realize as more “visionaries” move in and rehab the city, it should have a trickle down effect. But that takes time, and how realistic is this in its current economic climate? Where would the gangs and current crime element go? I fear they won’t be leaving anytime soon. Has anyone here ever been personally affected by crime (burglary, mugging, etc)? If we stay in our “safer” neighborhoods that’s one thing, but I don’t want to feel unsafe leaving our home. Are there any initiatives in place to try and curb the crime and gang activity there?

3. Local government. I know there was a recent election, but what are the feelings of those running the city? Pro-revitalization and crime-control? Are more pro-restoration residents running for positions to help rebuild the city?

4. CBD. Is there a Central Business District Development Board or Organization to encourage investment and new business in the commercial areas? If not, why not? And if so, how is it doing so far?

5. How is the gay community there? My husband and I just don’t want to feel like the “only gays in the village,” so do you have any neighbors that are gay couples?

I could go on but I don’t want to make this too long (too late!). And of course we need to actually VISIT Newburgh and check it out more before making such a vital decision, but from everything I’ve read and seen on this forum and website, along with other articles about the revitalization of the Hudson Valley communities, I think I’m in love so far with Newburgh! 🙂

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and you will love Newburgh even more when you will meet us 😉
I wished a smarter person would be answering first all your important questions but I’ll try my best to answer some of them.The problem with the tax in the city of Newburgh is mostly due to the fact that not enough people live there yet,but someone else more informed can help you with details.The crime: I’m still alive,yeah!!! Quite frankly,I used to live in different area in Paris,and one of them was the Marais next to the 11eme arrondissement so I could have been touch by all the craziness that happened those last days,so yes crime is everywhere and some of our Hudson Valley newspapers need to leave us alone with the bad press, because as anywhere else,unless you are directly concerned you don’t feel it.We are really please that mayor Judy Kennedy has been elected again,she is really helpful for small businesses like mine and she is really motivated.Our city manager is great Michael Ciaravino and we are so sorry to see that most of our crazy city council( except for 2 or 3 of them) are trying to destroy him and the positif growing in Newburgh.But that’s a detail cause we are stronger.So more residents like you is all that we need to keep fighting for the best to keep building the city the way we are dreaming it.CBD: 2 of the organizations trying to help are the Newburgh Professional business association and Rethink local. Still relatively new but growing to the right direction. Gay community: you won’t be alone.
So please come visit us soon and step by 87 Liberty street( my studio),right in front of the Washington headquarters. Broadway-Liberty street would be the place to get your lunch,coffee,juice…and Pilates class with me. Take care and we love you already too :-),Angela

Those are complicated questions. Here are some very simple answers
1. The taxes pay for the municipal services. Right now, the vacant properties reduce the overall income and the larger proportion of poor, with attendant social issues, increase the costs of services like police and fire. The city is also very old. Like NYC, aging infrastructure costs.
2. Crime. Things are getting better. Some things are not yet.
3. Local Gov. Get involved when you can; it makes a difference in a small city.
4. There are fledgling organizations. Those who have started successful businesses in the last few years did their homework.
5. Many gay and lesbian couples and singles…all ages and backgrounds. You will easily make friends very quickly with gay and gay-friendly people.

Come and visit. Consider renting before making a final decision. Good luck! Ask Cher for my contact information if you like.

1. Taxes do not necessarily increase after a renovation – if they do you can always petition to have them lowered. We did (have a 5 family house that is taxed based on the income it produces.) We showed it made less than that and our taxes were lowered by a nice amount.

2. I have never felt unsafe in the almost two years we’ve been here. Use common sense – there are a few streets that you probably wouldnt want to walk down at night. Interactions with the Police have been better than anywhere I’ve lived, including NYC. They are for the most part very friendly and they respond quickly to incidents.

3. This is a big issue that cant really be explained at once here…If you come, get involved.

4. Cant really answer this sufficiently for you – but there are others who can! Suffice to say that small business are part of the things Newburgh needs to grow.

5. Lots of friendly people here! We have a great crowing community.

Please ask Cher for my contact info if you have any more questions – in particular about renovation or multi family properties.

Thanks everyone for the comments! I will reach out to Cher to get contact info of those who offered theirs. BTW anyone know how I can add my image on my profile here?

I’m already sold on being part of the Newburgh renaissance; my husband is solely concerned about the work commute to Upper East Side in NYC. Peekskill was pushing the max he was willing to spend commuting — 1 hour 20 mins door to door — so adding an additional 20-30 mins may be a deal breaker 🙁 But hopefully once we’re there and see what our money can buy and try out the commute he can be swayed!


Taxes: Tax rates have increased every year. Fact is, wards 1&2 have seen a decrease in their assessment values so they don’t see it (that’s where the revival is focused). Yet. The city’s century old infrastructure dragon is starting to awaken so the math is no longer in favor of depressing values to appease the status. It’s not a population quantity issue but rather a qualitative one.
Crime: It’s an issue. I live on the north end and have been robbed once in the last five years (I live next to a vacant house). I walk the streets regularly, often down to the lower wards, and have never been accosted. That said, I’m not sheep.The city has more than enough popo (cali term?). The locals need to take their streets back, which relates back to the “qualitative” issue. As ‘police and fire’ consume the majority of the city’s revenues, taxes will go up to pay for the infrastructure issues.
Gubberment ;): The new city manager is meeting some resistance from the status. He’s guilty of being objective in his actions and that’s dangerous to a certain tribe. He knows the deal and does a good job of remaining neutral regarding politics. The other city staff are equally as sharp. The DPW needs more resources, again, which relates to the “qualitative” issue and the allocation of funds. As per the politicos, they matter to the degree of shaping perceptions. Unfortunately the media gives them the attention. Look past that nonsense.
Biz: I suggest the City’s website for starters and follow the links. As well, check out the city council work sessions (not the meetings,they’re ‘filtered’) to get a feel for the dynamics between the politics and the management of the city.
Gay community: I’m not sure what you mean by feeling exclusive. Newburgh has always been…’stand offish’ regarding any demographic group. If you don’t require a “safe space” to retreat to you should feel comfortable.
-Aside from its architecture, the ‘Burgh isn’t SF by any stretch of the imagination.
I moved up from Brooklyn in ’71 and the ‘Burgh isn’t that either, now or then.

Hi, thanks for finding the site. I’m glad everyone has added something, here’s my bit.

Yes Newburgh has amazing grand old homes. Architecturally Newburgh probably has more to offer but that doesn’t mean it will be cheaper than Peekskill in terms of renovation. From your description, it sounds like you might want a mansion in MGL (Montgomery/Grand/Liberty Streets). Most of these homes are probably pushing 120+ years, so you can bet that it’s not going to be cheap to renovate. There are historic house tax credits though that you can take advantage of. There are also some homes in the Heights that are quite grand (and in desperate need of love) that you might want to consider.

1-Theoretically if you are converting a multi-family to a 1 family, taxes should go down as the municipal services being used would decrease. However, making upgrades to the home will make your home more valuable and can increase your taxes. That said, you can fill out this form and for 10 years you are protected from having major increases in your taxes. First 5 years taxes stay the same, then go up incrementally each year for the last 5. Lots of good information in this resource directory from the land bank. Taxes are expensive because there aren’t enough businesses and because of 700+ vacant properties not on the tax roll.

2-Like others said, there are streets you will avoid but other than that people walk around freely. Crime is often among others doing the same activity. You are from NYC. Play it safe like before the Disney store came to Times Square. Don’t be afraid of people who don’t look like you. I’ve heard many stories of people pleasantly surprised when they have conversations.

3- I stay away from politics. However, I have noticed that the newcomers to Newburgh are becoming increasingly active and are mixing things up-sorely needed. You could join in!

4-If you visit Newburgh you will see why there isn’t a BID or CBD. We are still trying to get a solid concentration of businesses going. It’s happening but slowly along Liberty Street and lower Broadway. As mentioned, there are a few groups that could potentially develop into a BID. Personally I’d like to see a Main Streets Program initiated. Again, lots you could do to help if you are willing.

5- I could like name 10 gay couples off the top of my head easily. You would not be alone and you would quickly meet who’s who. I think this video gives an excellent introduction of the game changers in Newburgh. And mind you, many people were left out. So there’s plenty more.

Like I always say, Newburgh is a place for people looking to create change. If you want to go to a place where everything is “done” already, Newburgh really isn’t the place. I would say that it appears that with each newcomer, they bring a specialty with them that is felt 1,000 times more in Newburgh because there is such a need here. Everyone is thirsty for change, and it seems that things are really moving along in a very organic way.

Wish you the best! And if you move, please share your renovation stories, it’s very inspirational for others.

Top right you should see under “howdy” “edit my profile” you can add a picture there. Thanks!

About the crime, I moved here from The Bay Area recently, and if you survived there you will be fine here. The whole Newburgh crime thing is nonsense if you have ever lived in an actual city.

It looks like you’ve gotten good answers to most of your questions. Here’s my weigh-in, as someone who lived in Newburgh for the past 13 years (and only recently moved to Santa Fe):
– Newburgh is really not much worse than any large city for crime. My husband and I lived there for 13 years and never encountered any (though a person was mugged around the corner once, a long time ago). That said, the closer you live to the rougher parts of the city, the rougher it is. Our house is right on the ‘edge’ between the good and bad parts of the city, where there are a lot of rentals, and I wouldn’t buy there again. I would, however, look at the Heights (lots of really nice, working class families in single-family homes) or Grand or Montgomery Streets. Also, get a good house alarm and monitoring system, and you’ll be fine.
– Regarding concerns about being the “only gay in the village:” This cracked me up b/c for 13 years we were literally the only straight couple on our side of the block. Trust me, you won’t be the only gay in the village. In fact, the gay community was really the first wave, as they often are, to discover how amazing the place is.
– Commute: My husband and I both commuted into midtown and downtown for many years. It’s very do-able if you don’t have kids. Once you have children it becomes a different story (but then, everything is). Also, I lived on the Upper East Side for a decade before moving to Newburgh, and the commute to midtown took me a good 45 minutes, so even if you live in the city (unless you’re within walking distance of work), you’ll be traveling. We figured we could live in an 800 square foot apt. in the city and commute 45 mins. or double it, and live in a space five times that size.

You will love the community – there are a lot of really cultured, interesting people coming up from the city, across from Beacon, and other parts of the country who are turning Newburgh into a Brooklyn outpost. It’s a really interesting time to be there, b/c for the first time in many years, the tide seems to be truly turning for this beautiful place. Good luck!

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