Top 5 Things the City of Newburgh Should Do Now.

With several hundred vacant buildings in Newburgh, NY owned by the city, the city needs to take drastic action to stop the decay and reverse the momentum immediately.

While the excuses of lost jobs, crime and the effects of urban renewal can be reflected upon, the lack of motivated intelligent and experienced direction is at the heart of the city’s failures. I too hear the voices of ‘oh I hope someone renovates this majestic structure one day’ and while everyone can share this sentiment it just isn’t enough to affect actual change, for if the city does not drastically modify its approach and attitude all those structures which hold so much potential will eventually need to be torn down, leaving more ‘urban renewal’ effects dotted throughout the city and thus further contributing to the decline of the city. The dam has broken and the water is all but gone.  First step, repair and strengthen the dam in a way that is more self-maintaining, in order to prevent decay or a breach in the future… so the water may once again fill in the cavity.

The following are the five most important things the city can do to begin to stop the negative momentum and change people’s perception of the city as one of opportunity.

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Newburgh, NY, a Case Study in Urban Revitalization.

Newburgh, NY, a Case Study in Urban Revitalization.

It isn’t enough to talk about buildings, or streetscapes, or general urban planning directions to achieve success. One has to understand that it is imperative to provide opportunity and positive attitudes in Newburgh in order to attract ‘new money’ and investment in the community, ideally translating into new residents who can help sustain the economic minimums for individual households and thus result in new sales and property tax income for the city.  Without a change of attitude especially with regards to violent crime including burglary (which undermines a sense of security) people will not feel safe and thus will not risk their own lives to live in Newburgh.  This isn’t to say Newburgh isn’t filled with so many wonderful people, festivals, events and even a symphony.  It’s to say that the urbanism of the CBD is clearly suffering and needs the kind of focus to make the kind of change happen that will help those who feel stuck in what is sometimes referred to the Newburgh slums.  References to ‘slums’ must stop, and those who use the term should be informed to understand how it is doing more harm to families living in those communities than doing good for the sense of ‘coolness’.

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