By Alberto Gilman
The site development agreement between the City of Newburgh and Kearney Realty & Development Group for the redevelopment of properties at 140 and 146 Montgomery St. and 137 Smith St passed with a 6-1 vote on Tuesday, October 11.
Request for proposals [RFPs] had been sent out by the city seeking to redevelop the parcels that have remained vacant for years. Two submissions for redevelopment were submitted to the city council by The Kearney Group, along with Liberty Street Partners.
Both firms presented their own ideas and presentations for redevelopment of the land and both project submissions were reviewed by the mayor’s Strategic Economic Development Committee [SEDAC]. Members of SEDAC appeared before the city council and voiced their support of the Kearney Group’s proposal over the other proposal. The Kearney Group’s project proposes a mixed-use mixed-income development on the three parcels with a central greenway, an on-site property manager and several retail spaces. The properties, which consist of several wooded areas, are adjacent to the Horizons-on-the-Hudson Elementary School, the Varick Homes apartments and the Bourne Apartments.
One of the major discussion points involving this project for the past few months was the recognition of the land as designated Urban Renewal land within the city. The process of Urban Renewal came into the city during the 1960s and properties along the Newburgh Waterfront and East End neighborhoods were destroyed. Most of the properties in that proportion of the city were notably owned by Black homeowners and business owners. Today, there are several hills along Water St. that have remained vacant for years and the Newburgh Waterfront properties on the opposite side of the CSX rail line have remained and serve as attractions for residents and city visitors. Conservation efforts have led to the creation of the East End Historic District [EEHD] that remains.
A digital media project, funded by the National Park Service African American Civil Rights Program Grant in the amount of $50,000, was to be conducted through the Sound and Story Project of the Hudson Valley. No public updates to this particular project have been made since a public meeting was held back in July at the Boys and Girls Club.