Shortly, we will have traveled through the first decade of the 21st century. Huh? How’d that happen? If you are like me, then you are a bit bewildered that the year 2000 is now ten years ago. Granted, it’s been a jammed packed decade. But still, time flies as they say. Does it ever.
Looking back on Kingston in 2009, I’d like to mark the top 10 memorable land marks from all of us here at the KingstonCitizens.org’s blog.
1. The Kingston Digital Corridor – Here’s a concept that is as timely as it is brilliant. Local resident and tech geek #1 Mark Green created a way for Kingston to capitalize on it’s digital community and it’s proximity to New York City. Working with KJ McIntyre of Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty, they communicated to our local real estate community, banks and government how an independent contractor ticks, making it easier and attractive to those who work in the ‘tech’ world inside and out of the local area. Mark’s solid team included Arthur Zaczkiewicz, Paul Rakov, Sharron Bower, Mark Marshall and Nancy Tierney who helped to bring it. Kudos. Perhaps one of the biggest advancements to Kingston this year.
2. The Main Street Manager Program It was with great pleasure (and to some degree of surprise) that the city of Kingston hired local artist Nancy Donskoy as Main Street Manager in Kingston this year. Her part time position is helping to bring together all three business districts and to create a BID which is so badly needed. I know first hand that Nancy works 60+ hours per week in helping to keep our small business community together while marketing the city of Kingston to the outside world. There are many people who were involved in making this position so. Patrice Courtney Strong, Larry Zalinsky and Alderman Tom Hoffay to only name a few. I hope that 2010 brings more citizen support for this important role. I’m equally hopeful that perhaps some uniform signage in all the right spots will finally be put in place. Boy, do we need it.
3. Community Gardens Let’s face it. It’s been the year of gardens in the city of Kingston. In a years time now almost all of our schools have one. So does Kingston’s City Hall, who showcased a small ‘victory garden’ in their side yard for all to see.
4. Julie and Steve Noble I don’t mean to harp on the subject as I have many times before, but I’ve got to publicly hand it to these two. Our Kingston raised environmental eductators could have settled down anywhere in the US with their expertise. But they came back home here to make the community a more forward and healthy one. This dynamic duo continue to provide outdoor programs for Kingston’s elderly and our youth population and are experts on many subjects ranging from garbage to our sewer system to storm clouds. They are making a tremendous contribution to our community in more ways than I think most even realize. This year, they introduced the sadly misunderstood ‘Pay As You Throw‘ program. It’s a proven concept that could save the city residents a bundle in tax dollars over time while making our waste stream better managed. I’m certain it will come up again in the next few months which is a good thing. Do a little homework on the topic before pouncing on negative sound bites so to come to a reasonable conclusion.
5. The Kingston Land Trust Finally! A trust for properties in the city of Kingston. You’d think that being an official ‘tree city’ Kingston would have had a trust a long time ago. The brainchild of Arthur Zaczkiewicz, this is an organization ready to collaborate with future developers and residents who wish to ‘trust’ their open space to their home town of Kingston (a tip of the hat must be given to Kevin McEvoy and Barbara Epstein. The two are behind the scenes in every good way imaginable, and The Land Trust probably wouldn’t have continued to exist as it does without their expertise and support).
6. The Queens Galley Hooray for Diane Reeder! In the worst economic downturn since the great depression, she continues to provide three meals a day to our families in need – no questions asked. But that’s only the beginning of what Diane does. This year, she started the ‘Operation Frontline‘ program in Kingston and acquired land on South Pine Street with Farmer Frank Navarro to start a one acre community garden that will provide local fresh produce to her kitchen. One acre makes a whole lot of food. To me, Diane is the Queen of Kingston.
7. New Blood on Kingston’s Common Council I’m particularly pleased to have some new people to politics elected to the common council in 2010. I think it’s safe to say, it’s a little unprecedented. For our slow changing City of Kingston, that’s a good thing. Ward 1 Alderman Andi Turco-Levin, Ward 5 Alderman Jen Fuentes and Ward 9 Hayes Clement will no doubt be a breath of fresh air in helping our alumni work through all that ails us at this time in the city of Kingston. I think we quickly forget how much effort goes into running for office – and that our council members are ‘common’ men and women wishing to serve their community. Let’s complain less and help them out this season by taking part in more of their monthly meetings at City Hall. It’s the people’s city afterall – but not so much if you don’t come forward.
8. KPATV Back On Air It’s grand to have our programs up and running again on Kingston’s Public Access TV. Whether you are a fan or not of PA, I think we can all agree that it’s important that it exists. Many citizens worked tirelessly to make it so in the last 12 monhts. A big thanks to them and to 721 Media who has provided a new space to broadcast. 721 is most certainly one of our city’s gems.
9. Kingston Natural Foods What once was a simple and small effort to help provide locals with affordable organic foods has now turned into a tsunami. Local resident Jennifer McKinley-Rakov started an organic buying club that is now one of the top ten buyers in the nation and landed her a storefront in the rondout section of Kingston (33 Broadway). 2010 looks bright for us all in finally having an organic foods market in the city of Kingston thanks to her. Look for her winter Wednesday ‘Farmer’s Market’ where she has organized local farms who are still growing or making their hearty, healthy local foods for our citizens here and in the Hudson Valley. Bravo!
10. Kingston Local Business Fleisher’s Grass Fed and Organic Meats In The National Press Have you all been following Fleisher’s Grass Fed Meat’s recent press? Joshua and Jessica Applestone have given Kingston an enormous amount of national attention and stature as our local butcher in the Hudson Valley. The New York Times, Saveur and, GQ Magazine just to name a few. Josh was recently a guest on the hit Food Network series ‘IRON CHEF’. Thank you for landing – and staying in the city of Kingston you two! Mucho Brava.
…and there is more. Way more. With all the unruly and sometimes downright negative news here and beyond, take a moment to change your perspective and love the city you live in. There are so many people working hard to make Kingston great. It’s all perspective – and I hope that this post has softened yours.
We want to learn of your favorite city achievement this year. What have we missed? Please, do tell.
Happy Holidays to all of our readers.
– Rebecca Martin