NAR, HGAR Planning Grants to Spark Newburgh Neighborhood Revitalization

Real Estate In-Depth | September 2016

NEWBURGH—Can aiding one neighborhood help an entire city?

Joe Czajka, senior vice president, Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress
Joe Czajka, senior vice president,
Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress

A set of grants from the National Association of Realtors and the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors will look to do just that in the City of Newburgh with the assistance of the nonprofit research and policy group Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress.

Grants totaling $16,500 have been given to Pattern for Progress by NAR and HGAR for a project that seeks to revitalize a specific neighborhood in the City of Newburgh through the creation of new businesses, jobs and others features as part of a neighborhood revitalization plan.

The proposed neighborhood targeted by the grant is the area bordered by South Lander Street, Benkard Avenue, Colden Street and Washington Street all on the south side of Broadway in the City of Newburgh. The block is home to Atlas Industries, an old manufacturing building that has been transformed to a shared location for dozens of small businesses—small furniture manufacturing, art design space, photographic studios, architects, industrial designers, filmmakers, a bookbinder, graphic designers and artists. The Newburgh Brewery is also located in a repurposed factory in the neighborhood in the vicinity of such cultural amenities as Washington’s Headquarters and the new cafés and small retail establishments on the Liberty Street corridor. The neighborhood is adjacent to an area of redevelopment and new construction where dozens of residential buildings have been rehabilitated through the Greater Newburgh Habitat for Humanity.

The grant provides funds to assemble a small group of local stakeholders to join Pattern for Progress in their efforts to create a Neighborhood Revitalization Plan to further the redevelopment of this community and help ensure long-term success. The revitalization plan will also look to improve housing conditions, eliminate blight and lay the foundation for further economic development efforts in the City of Newburgh.

“Nationally, trends show a renewed interest in urban living by young adults, empty nesters, and seniors,” said Joe Czajka, senior vice president at Pattern for Progress and executive director of the Center for Housing Solutions and Urban Initiatives at Pattern. “The urban centers of the Hudson Valley are poised to take advantage of this shift; and to varying degrees some already are.”

“These generous grants from the Realtor community will help us explore the possibilities for this neighborhood and we will then hope to learn lessons here that can be replicated elsewhere in the city and in the region,” Czajka added. NAR has given $15,000 to the project while HGAR has provided the local match of $1,500.

HGAR Chief Executive Officer Richard Haggerty said, “The City of Newburgh holds such great promise and we hope that these planning grants will serve as a catalyst to help maximize efforts already underway to revitalize this waterfront neighborhood.”

In a demonstration of commitment to the plan, the Leviticus Fund for community development, the Community Preservation Corporation and Community Capital of New York are helping to provide access to capital and technical assistance for redevelopment in the community.

An informal advisory group comprised of individuals and professionals from institutions interested in guiding the plan is now forming. It now includes Deirdre Glenn and Ali Church of the City of Newburgh Planning Department; Madeline Fletcher of the Newburgh Land Bank; Cathy Collins of Habitat for Humanity, Bill Fioravanti, of the Orange County Partnership; Mary Paden of the Community Preservation Corporation; Greg Maher of the Leviticus Fund; Kim Jacobs of Community Capital of New York; and a representative of SUNY Orange. Others are expected to join as the project progresses.

Pattern for Progress plans to convene a meeting of businesses, the informal advisory group and other stakeholders to set forth a timeline and a set of actions essential to the completion of the plan.

The Realtors planning grant is helping to fund revitalization of a specific section of Newburgh that is part of a larger effort known as the “Creative Neighborhood,” which was announced on August 23. The Creative Neighborhood is aimed at attracting technology, the arts and other types of enterprises along with new residents to the city. That effort will also focus on a section of the city several blocks north of Broadway that comprises the SUNY Orange campus and streets adjacent to it.

Pattern for Progress President and CEO Jonathan Drapkin noted at the Creative Neighborhood announcement held at SUNY Orange’s Newburgh campus that one of the keys to the city’s revitalization could be the college itself.

“How do we maximize its potential, not as a college, but as an anchor for the revitalization of the city,” Drapkin said in a story published in the Middletown Times-Herald Record.

At the event, officials with Rhinebeck Bank announced it was creating a $3-million loan fund specifically for businesses that move into the area. Loans of up to $250,000 will be available at below-market rates, according to the published report.

To find out more about this initiative, contact Joe Czajka at Pattern for Progress at jczajka@pfprogress.org or call 845-565-4900.

Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress is a not-for-profit policy and planning organization that promotes regional, balanced and sustainable solutions to enhance the growth and vitality of the Hudson Valley. Founded in 1965, Pattern works within the nine-county area that includes Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester.