About 20 people gathered this past Saturday at the Kingston Food & Gardens storefront at 33 Broadway for the “Ward 9 is Yours’ and Mine” visioning session, which focused on the commercial business area on Broadway between Foxhall Avenue and West/East Chester streets.
At the session, residents shared ideas for the vacant storefronts along the corridor, and identified hurdles to the overall success of the area from a business perspective. For example, residents said the area — as well as much of Kingston — is in dire need of a sense of pride. Residents recommended a “clean sweep” day where people and businesses take to the streets with brooms and bags to clean up the litter.
For the Ward 9 Broadway business corridor, residents shared their ideas for the types of stores they’d like to see. Ideas included:
— An ice cream parlor
— A custom bike shop
— A community center
— A stationary store
— A vegetarian cafe
— A luncheonette
Residents also discussed the need for several of the medical buildings to open up their Broadway-facing doors, which would encourage foot traffic and help businesses in the area thrive. Right now, there are two buildings — the Broadway Medical Center and the Kingston Hospital Pain Center — that have their Broadway entrances closed. Users of these facilities park in the rear of the buildings.
In addition, residents discussed ways to drawn-in businesses that will enhance the quality of life in Ward 9. Also, the idea of encouraging mixed used development in the corridor was discussed.
The overall tone of the meeting was positive. While the discussion was going on, two artists — Laura and Jasmine — created a mural (a portion of it is picture above) of the business area as it could look in the future.
Rebecca Martin, an organizer of the event and founder of KingstonCitizens.org is creating a “next steps” agenda, which could include another visioning session. Martin said the process could evolve into a comprehensive plan for Ward 9, and perhaps encourage the city to launch a city-wide plan.
— Arthur Zaczkiewicz