Each year, Lydia DeJohnette organizes benefit concerts that feature her husband, the legendary Jack DeJohnette, in a series of concerts to raise money in support of the Queens Galley, Family of Woodstock and other local endeavors through live music. This year, the group will perform at Falcon Arts in Marlboro, NY as well as the Culinary Institute of America.
Midtown Design Charrette A Big Success
Last Friday’s design charrette that focused on the Kings Inn in Midtown was a fantastic success. Congratulations from all of us at KingstonCitizens.org.
Here is a press update from one of the coordinators of the event Patrice Courtney Strong:
“A very big thank you from the Business Alliance of Kingston for Friday’s excellent design charrette.
The TV coverage was great: HudsonValley YNN
Here are two news articles that appeared:
Middletown Times Herald Record and Kingston Daily Freeman.
Another, lengthier one will appear Thursday in the Kingston Times.
We’ll be posting photos of your drawings as soon as possible on our web site.”
In Need of a Plan
At the City of Kingston Planning Board meeting tonight, which included public input over design guidelines for the proposed CVS on Washingston Avenue, several residents urged the board to carefully consider the historic attributes of the city in designing the building.
There were also concerns about the need for another drug store in the city. Isn’t four enough?
Tom Hoffay, alderman, said he was concerned that the site plan included a curb cut that would allow cars heading south on Washington Avenue to make a left-hand turn — across three lanes of oncoming traffic — into the proposed CVS lot. That’s not safe, Tom said.
All of these concerns are valid, and the developers of the site should listen carefully. After all, the residents of the city are the ones who have to live with this for years to come after it is built.
From my perspective, the proposed CVS is just another clear example of why Kingston needs a comprehensive plan.
Like others who attended the meeting, I’m not against development. I’m for smart development, projects that are environmentally sound (think low-carbon footprint or better yet, zero-net energy), support local businesses, bolster the tax base and differentiate the area from other towns and cities.
A comprehensive plan can guide smart development and would act as a blueprint for Kingston’s future. A CP could have clear design guidelines that help maintain the historic aspects of the city. The CP could include development guidelines that encourage mixed use buildings. The CP could set guidelines for our historic districts, waterfront (expanding the recently completed waterfront plan) and gateway areas.
For their part, several city officials — especially city planner Suzanne Cahill — understand the need for a comprehensive plan. Perhaps with strong public support, steps can be made to create one.
As far as funding is concerned, I think there are grants out there that Kingston can tap. That can help us get started.
If you are interested in pursuing this idea, let me know. Let’s do it. Let’s do something. A CP that has not been updated in nearly 50 years is an embarrassment.
— Arthur Zaczkiewicz
A Vision for Kingston
I just finished reading “The Transition Handbook: From oil dependency to local resilience” and must say that there are some bright and creative minds out there who are creating viable solutions for climate change and toward creating sustainable communities.
This means creating communities that can generate its own power, feed itself and thrive in the next century and beyond.
The author, Rob Hopkins, tackles critical issues with humor and positivity despite the fact that the clock is ticking. Since this is a handbook, Hopkins supplies us with steps for change and includes insights from thought leaders on a variety of topics to help communities make a transition from oil dependency to sustainability.
Of note is an essay on the psychology of change, which asserts that change occurs in steps, in small incremental ways.
The cover of the book illustrates a before and after view of a city block, very much looking like Kingston, I might add. In the before image, there are fuel-eating cars, vans and SUVs as well as a “Superstore.”
In the after image, all of that is replaced with wind generators, greenhouses, bicycles, gardens and people interacting in a local market. It’s a vision of positive change, and worth considering.
— Arthur Zaczkiewicz
Green Art and Composting
The Arts Society of Kingston (ASK) has a call for entries for its biennial sculpture show in the city. And this year, the theme is “Go Green & Keep the Hudson Clean.” According to its website, ASK is looking for entries that feature “natural, recycled or recyclable materials.” The deadline for entries is March 28.
Speaking of recycled items, the Times Herald-Record reports that the market for recycled trash has dwindled as a global slowdown impacts demand. Jeremiah Horrigan writes that “metals that recycling agencies were selling to brokers in July for $500 a ton are selling for $20 a ton today.”
Regarding total tonnage, the waste heading to our landfills is down about 15 percent year to date, according to the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency here in Kingston.
Short term, that’s a good thing. Less trash in the wastestream means less trash filling our landfills. But if the recycling materials market does not recover, these items may end up heading for the landfill.
But there are things consumers can do to reduce the total amount of trash they put curbside. Composting, for example, is a great way to lower your trash output. There are many types of composters that you can buy or build. In my household, we bought one three years ago and fill it every other day with compostable food stuff, clippings, and shredded newspaper. It has produced a wonderfully rich soil that we can add to plants or the veggie garden.
How to Compost.org is a great resource if you want to learn more.
– Arthur Zaczkiewicz
Bundle Up and Meet Some Friends
Did you see Jennifer McKinley’s recent post on the Kingston Food & Gardens site? You can join the group by following the buying club link on the left side of this page.
Jennifer is opening up the buying club, located next to the toy store on lower Broadway, downtown, for the art walk this Saturday, January 3. If you haven’t been to the space, stop by. It’s a terrific gift to the city and residents. As you enter the store, on the left, there’s a huge mural with art work from children.
If you stop by during the art walk on Saturday, you can see their work and may even catch the artists themselves at work.
“We have some children’s artwork up now on our walls, but would love to have more,” Jennifer said. “I would like to invite you to bring yourself and your CHILDREN down to our space at around 4:30 on Saturday. We’ll put a tarp down and spread out on the floor to do some painting and coloring. You are also welcome to bring in completed paintings for us to hang up on our wall — no frame required.”
How cool is that?
Welcome to KingstonCitizens.org!
Welcome to KingstonCitizens.org. Here you will find news, Q&As with community leaders and stories about people and things of interest. There will be profiles of businesses and residents — people who are making Kingston, N.Y. a better place to live. You will also find analysis of the news, current trends, cultural happenings and much more. As a blog there will be links to relevant news items from local, regional and national media. And there will be links to community discussions as well.
Over the next few months, you will see links to Kingston-related websites. There will be guest columnists, personal essays, and regular contributions by me, Rebecca Martin and others. Above all, the KingstonCitizens.org blog will offer readers insights to help you make better decisions as a resident of this historic and dynamic city.
aka The Kingston Navigator