By Paul Brooks
Times Herald-Record
Posted Sep 20, 2017 at 5:25 PM
      
KINGSTON – The city grabbed a $10 million first prize in the state’s regional Downtown Revitalization Initiative program Wednesday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo stood in the brewery at Keegan Ales, surrounded by towering vats of fermenting beer, to make the announcement as the crowd of local officials and business people applauded.

“Congratulations. You’ve earned it. It’s a smart plan. It’s your effort. It’s your community. ... and the best days for Kingston lie ahead, I am sure of it, and this is going to be a giant step down that road,” Cuomo said. “Use it well.”

Mayor Steve Noble said the grant “will be transformative for our city.” He praised Ulster County Executive Mike Hein for partnering with the city in the process.

“We really tried to tell the story of Uptown and how it can be a regional economic development engine” in the application, Noble said. “We have had some tough times over the years. ... Today you look around Kingston and you see some rebuilding. ... We have some dedicated citizens that look around and say ‘We have potential,’ but in order for this to be successful we realize we need a revitalized downtown. ... We need a sustaining, vibrant business district.”

The revitalization effort will center in the Stockade area of the city, dubbed that for the wall that surrounded the Dutch settlement founded in the mid-17th Century.

Noble said a consultant from the state will develop an action plan over the next 10-12 months, with construction of designated projects to begin as soon as possible after that. Middletown won a similar grant last year and work is already underway on various projects. The prizes are awarded in each of the state’s 10 regional economic development regions.

Kingston included a plan to replace a former parking garage at the end of Wall Street in Uptown and combine it with a new hotel, Noble said.

Movie Actress Mary Stuart Masterson, whose Stockade Works aims to foster the potential of film in the Hudson Valley, called the $10 million grant “awesome.” “And I reserve that word for awesome things,” she said. “It is a vote for the future of Kingston, for the region and a kind of endorsement for businesses to say ‘This is a winner. Come here. .. This is an incredible culture of people.’”

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