City of Newburgh residents and guests will have the opportunity to see the newly restored United Methodist Church during RUPCO’s Embrace Support Gather Community event on Thursday, June 1. The community event will be hosted at BLK Hudson at 245 Liberty Street, a community and event space under RUPCO’s and LYNC’s repurposed church space. Guests will enjoy music, food and a silent auction to benefit RUPCO’s mission of creating homes, supporting people, and improving communities. Tickets for the event will be $100 and will kick off at 5:30 p.m.
While this event is a time of celebration for RUPCO, it is also an event that recognizes the shooting incident that took place about a month ago that took the life of Shane Lawrence and injured Richard Herring, who both worked for RUPCO. A statement had been put out by the company following the shooting. As of now, Herring has since been released from the hospital and has been undergoing physical therapy, and the RUPCO team has been supporting him and his family since.
The project site known today as Highpoint was part of the East End II project, the largest RUPCO endeavor, with $32 million having gone into the project. With the church having a small congregation, RUPCO purchased the building in 2020 and intended to convert the church into a communal space.
In preparation for Thursday night, RUPCO Chief Executive Officer Kevin O’Connor visited and provided a tour of the newly renovated and repurposed space. A former gymnasium space could potentially serve as a Health and Wellness Center. A kitchen facility will be able to assist those in the culinary field. A daycare center will also be made available. The school building will now house education classrooms and spaces for healthcare interests and trade education. The former church and school building overall have seen extensive repainting, finishing and repairs. “We [RUPCO] were invited here seven or so years ago by the Newburgh Community Land Bank. So our first phase we did, we rehabbed 15 buildings historically that were abandoned, created 45 apartments,” said O’Connor. “The state [NY] in particular wanted us to add a community hub in addition to the housing here in the north of Broadway.”
The former school building, according to LYNC Founder and President Melanie Collins, will serve as the main educational center for the Newburgh Youth Build Program, a program designed to assist young adults from the ages of 16 to 24 with education opportunities in the trades, in film or construction, and to receive high school equivalency. For the Highpoint campus, a grand opening weekend will take place from June 15 to 17 with film storytelling and tours of the site, food festivals and food justice workshops and conclude with a day of fun for the whole community to enjoy. “I’m really excited about the partnership with RUPCO and all of the wonderful things that will happen here at the Highpoint Campus,” said Collins.