Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Citizen/Blogger Notes On City of Kingston Planning Board Meeting Open Speaker Session Only...

City of Kingston Historical Marker / Kingston City Hall
Photo by NS


Update [more detailed] from last night's Kingston Planning Board Meeting - with a focus on "Kingston Planning Board Meeting Agenda" (12/14/09) "Item #8:  "#25 Field Court  SPECIAL PERMIT to convert a... building for an emergency shelter...  Ward 4.  Save Them Now/applicant; Donna Spada/owner."

Unofficial (Citizen Advocate) Notes:

A.  Gloria Ferraro [Ward 4 or 5] - co-owner of Mid-City Lanes, Cedar Street, Kingston (who was also quoting from some letters she and/or her husband had recieved on the topic) stated (to this effect): 

1.  That a number (at least five were mentioned) of similar programs (i.e., Darmstadt Shelter, Salvation Army, Peoples Place, etc.) were already clustered in the MidTown commercial district and that the "Save Them Now" program would place yet another burden on an "already struggling business district."

2.  That it appeared illogical to place released prison inmates ["Save Them Now's" clientelle] in such close proximity to the area (in the City of Kingston) with the highest rate of crime.

3.  That it was time for some other townships to "step up" and shoulder their share of the risks, detrimental effects and potential expenses (these are not businesses and many such programs are partially or completely tax exempt...) associated with these types of programs.

4.  That she was concerned about the proposed program sites close proximity to some of the areas most vulnerable children.

Gloria Ferraro also turned in (to Lee Molyneaux, Kingston Planning Board Chairman) a number of letters (against the proposed variance) - including one from Eric Deising - that she and/or her husband had received --- along with a petition (against the proposed variance) signed by over one-hundred people.

B.  Robert Smith [Ward 5] - an employee of Family of Woodstock's Darmstadt Shelter - and a City of Kingston resident / taxpayer - stated that the City of Kingston had enough Social Service programs - and that the City was in need of more businesses.

C.  I [Ward 5] thanked Mrs. Ferraro for her efforts and statements - noting that I had started in the same direction [i.e., my blog petition] - but a little too late...  I also stated that I was concerned [making reference to what I have come across in regard to recidivism rates] about the safety of the children, residents and business owners in the area.  [Note:  I added more later (see below) --- I had a difficult time (this has personal connotations for me, in a number of different ways...) speaking up at this one...]

D.  Alderman Thomas Hoffay [Ward 2] stated (to this effect) that since the building had been vacant for quite some time - he saw this proposal as reasonble.  Alderman Hoffay stated (to this effect) that he wasn't aware of many police calls in relation to the "Save Them Now" program's current site on Washington Avenue" - and that he [Aldeman Hoffay is the only person that spoke in favor of granting the variance.] had "faith" in the Board of the "Save Them Now" program.  [Alderman Hoffay also noted (as did others) the proposed sites ("Save Them Now") close proximity to the Family of Woodstock Darmstadt Shelter].

[Note:  The "Family of Woodstock (FOW) Darmstadt Shelter, according to a recent flyer, has two facilities (next to each other) that provide 19 beds for homeless individuals (in one facility) and 27 beds for homeless families (in the other facility) [46 beds total - for homeless individuals - in MidTown]

["Helping People Help Themselves"; Family of Woodstock Flyer; 2009; http://www.familyofwoodstockinc.org/ ]

E.  Dave Ferraro [Ward 4 or 5] - co-owner of Mid-City Lanes, Cedar Street, stated (to this effect):

1.  That the citizens of the City of Kingston [speaking for MidTown and/or more extensively?] "have to put a stop to this somewhere..."

2.  That the City of Kingston [speaking for MidTown and/or more extensively?] has to get some "good things going..."  instead of "all this negative."

 F.  Alderman Charles Landi [Ward 3] stated (to this effect) --- that "to even consider taking another property [in the City of Kingston] off the tax roles is ridiculous..."

G.  Former City of Kingston Alderman, Mary Ann Parker [MidTown resident] stated [to this effect]:

1.  That this was something (reworded) she and Alderman Landi could finally agree on...  [Note:  This brought forth some chuckles...]

2.  That MidTown Kingston was "supposed to be the business anchor" of the City of Kingston.

3.  That the "Save Them Now" program was doing a "dis-service" to their clients by proposing to put them in the MidTown City of Kingston enviroment.

4.  That this variance might not bother Alderman Hoffay [not a resident of MidTown] - but that it sure did bother her [a resident of MidTown.]

5.  That the "public" was "getting screwed" [if this were to go through] "big time."

6.  That some of the people associated with the "Save Them Now" Board [i.e., Jonathan Sennett, a "Save Them Now" Board member and apparent (?) resident of New Paltz...] who was present, but did not speak...] and/or the "Save Them Now" program were not even residents of the City of Kingston.

7.  That the one big anchor in MidTown is UPAC (associated with the Barvadon) --- and that the City of Kingston might well lose this asset if it allowed organizations such as "Save Them Now" to move in...  [Note:  I am personally not clear on UPAC's status - as a not-for-profit and/or a for-profit enterprise - and personally think this should be looked at - along with potential revenue sources associated with same...]

[Mary Ann Parker was carrying a very well done sign that showed a large anchor and the acronym "CCDG" --- which she explained stood for:  "County Containment Dumping Ground".  Mary Ann Parker - if I heard her right - also utilized the term "Save Us Now" (which might have been on the other side of the sign...) --- which is a term I have utilized on this site - and the site that I just put up (Is this a coincidence?  It doesn't matter to me....) as well.  Mary Ann Parker stated (to this effect) that we will soon be seeing MidTown residents sporting T-Shirts with one or both (?) of these logos on them - around town.]

H.  Alderman Shirley Whitlock [Ward 4] spoke against the "Save Them Now" program's proposed variance, stating that:

1.  Her "phone had been ringing off the hook."

2.  She was concerned for both the youth and the elderly / "senior citizens."

3.  The City of Kingston needed to emphasize and build up on the positives (people / businesses / organizations) that MidTown had to offer.

4.  That putting a drug addict [a likely issue with a number of "Save Them Now" program recipients] next to an area that is known for attracting drug dealers [this is an area of Kingston that has (comparitively speaking) a high crime rate] is "not good."

[Alderman Whitlock brought up a scenerio in which an elderly woman had been assaulted and/or robbed by a "Save Them Now" program recipient.] 

[Alderman Whitlock also brought up the fact (one or two others might have mentioned this as well...) that a former "Save Them Now" Board Member (the Ronnie Wade issue...) had since (in relation to drug charges) gone back to prison...]


Mrs. Ferraro got back up to emphasize that the MidTown area being discussed was a BUSINESS [emphasis mine] district. 


I got back up to state that:

1.  G. Berke - who is associated with the "Kingston Corridor" - and working in alliance with the Main Street Manager (her opinion on this issue has not yet, to my knowlege, been stated...) to make the Midtown and Broadway area a better place to live and do business in - signed my online blog / petition (which got put up late...  sorry) against granting the "Save Them Now" variance.  [This blog is still up and people are still (today) welcome to sign on, leave comments and/or read what is there... [You might want to note the big photo there --- of the long vacant Kings Inn --- and the unanswered questions (this once served as a temporary housing facility, as well...) regarding that...] [ http://www.kingstonnysaveusnow.blogspot.com/ ]

2.  As a survior of a serious crime / trauma ---- and as a person that has known --- attended support groups with --- and worked with trauma victims and/or survivors...

There is another ("human") element to all of this (this has been reworded; I was emotionally upset...) - in that certain programs [be they through groups such as "Save Them Now" or other institutions / organizations...] have been sending former perpetrators of crimes (some of these very serious crimes...) to local support group meetings - to the point that for many support group attendees (women in particular) these meetings no longer [might they become a "feeding ground" for perpetrators?????  Have they already become so?????  Is the entire City of Kingston next?????] feel safe to attend.

3.  That I know of a woman with a business [long term City of Kingston resident; long-term MidTown business owner] that is already at the point that she keeps her (Business!) door locked --- and only allows in customers (this is how I understand it and have experienced it) that call and schedule ahead...]


Photos and additional information - along with updates and sources - may be added later today or tomorrow [after the City Council Meeting...]. 

The notes above are unofficial - taken (by a concerned citizen / blogger) at the meeting (and from noted referenced materials) itself.  If any errors are noted please let me know and I will check into it / make the appropriate corrections.


Reminder:  Tonight - City of Kingston Common Council Meeting - City Hall Chambers - 7:30PM.


Peace, love, equality and humane justice,



the kingston corridor said...

thanks. nice work.
I'm sure this thing will be stopped. And I would like to hear about a few of your favorite things in Kingston.
Like, for instance, I really like the burgers at Big Belly. And then there's that lovely alteration shop on Broadway. Nicely located, easy to get to, and some talented people.

NS said...

Hi G,

I'll do a post on this (great idea) in a day or so...

What immediately comes to mind:

I love Dunkin Donuts; Dallas Hot Weiners; Kentucky Fried Chicken; the Forsythe Park and Zoo; the community garden and beautification projects; the (increasing...) citizen activism; the Summer events down by the Roundout; the parades; Columbia Beauty Supplies (for my silly side / clown business efforts); the Parent/Teacher Store (uptown); the Kingston Point Beach (which I think has a lot of un-developed potential); the Holiday decorations that the City --- and some of the people in the City put up; some of the local blogs; attending City Council meetings (Does that mean I'm a bit "wiggy"?); UPAC [if I could afford to attend the shows that I would like to (I've been to a couple)]; Mid-City Lanes (although I haven't bowled in a while...); and some of the service organizations, as well - including the UC Crime Victims Assistance Program, the YWCA (all of its programs); Family of Woodstock (some of their programs, but not all...); and Peoples Place.

[I miss the Muddy Cup - open Poetry Readings - and Karaoke at the Holiday Inn and Roudigans... (These places and events used to provide important - reasonably priced - entertainment for us)].

Lots of talented people here - for sure! But there aren't enough affordable outlets for folks to utilize, publicize, express and share (through the arts, music, technology, whatever...) that talent!

I need to get more familiar with the little shops in the City - but I have to deal with my PTSD disorder [I don't like to broadcast it, but it is what it is...] as well.

I think we could use a reasonably priced movie theatre in town - a youth party (I'm speaking about a business enterprise) facility - an adult alcohol free community gathering (fun!) place - and more shop windows that are clean, light and bright [especially in the midtown area...] Rhinebeck is really impressive in this regard, as is New Paltz. Maybe we could take some ideas and tips (What is working for them?) from there...