Public invited to take a stand; press encouraged to cover
NEWBURGH, NEW YORK – City of Newburgh officials have voted to waste money and destroy Newburgh’s heritage – and the citizens are fed up with it.Join the world’s first Preservation Mob on Saturday, October 13 at 3 p.m. to help advocate for the salvage of historical artifacts from 159 Grand St. before the building is reduced to rubble, creating another empty lot with no plan in place.
Recently, the Newburgh city council voted to pay a Schenectady, N.Y. company $295,000 to demolish three buildings: 159 Grand St. 113 Washington St. and 10 Dubois St. An independent estimate put the total cost of the demolitions by a Newburgh-based company at only $90,000. Located in Newburgh’s Historic District, the beautiful 159 Grand St. has many of its original features intact. Instead of destroying Newburgh’s heritage one building at a time, why not use the money to renovate these structures? If Newburgh’s leadership won’t preserve our history and continues to waste the city’s money, we must take things into our own hands. A microphone will be set up nearby where we hope that you’ll record your vision of Newburgh’s future.
About the Preservation Mob
Newburgh’s historic district is New York State’s largest and contains a collection of structures which span four centuries of architectural history. In 1782-3 General Washington commanded the army from a farmhouse on the banks of the river and in 1850 it became America’s first historic site. Growing to prominence in the 1820s through river industry, the Empire State’s leading families built ornate mansions overlooking the waterfront there. In the 1840s, Andrew Jackson Downing created the first architectural collective in the American tradition by pioneering an integrated style landscape design and bringing the world’s most creative minds to the area to build their masterpieces. Newburgh’s innovative institutions and businesses flowered during the gilded age and that left behind a variety of preeminent public spaces. America’s first “garden city” was built here in the twentieth century and the walkable downtown areas boasted premier shopping and entertainment venues. Always at the forefront of historic preservation and green-space commemoration, it is a tragic reality that Newburgh suffered severely during Urban Renewal. Between 1970 and 1973, over two- thousand structures were senselessly demolished leaving fifty acres of waterfront property vacant for decades. Economic crisis and political instability followed this destruction and now a group of businessmen and artists fight to reclaim the downtown and restore the City’s vibrant traditions. In spite of the lessons learned from Urban Renewal, the city government continues to ignore the city’s greatest assets. We are demanding an end to this short-sightedness — we want our city to find better solutions, to uphold architectural protections and to market these properties with accountability to the entire fabric of our community.