In an editorial appearing in today’s online Daily Freeman, the writer boils the questions facing Mayor Gallo and his plan to park a permanent Police precinct in the middle of the Midtown melee down to two: • How much will the move cost Kingston taxpayers? • Will it reduce crime?
Well said, Freeman. Read the rest of their editorial by clicking in this link. Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo’s plan for Midtown
If you recall last year’s outrage over the Safe Harbors of the Hudson proposal at the King’s Inn site, you will also remember a large number of online commentators demanding a police station or substation for that area. At least a couple of those demands came from political candidates for local office. Candidate Gallo’s position was that the city was into the site for over $600,000 in actual costs by then, plus the unpaid taxes, and that we could not give away the property. We needed to at least recoup our losses, according to then-Mayoral Candidates Gallo, Turco-Levin, Polacco, and Cahill, as well as Alderman Noble and Hoffay.
Well, here is the perfect site, and the perfect opportunity to build what the people of Kingston have demanded. It is across the street from the former Kings Inn, so we don’t lose that asset, it is at the intersection of all quadrants of Kingston, and it serves what is arguably one of the most crime-ridden corners of the City. With this building’s active police presence, we could see the start of residents and businesses returning to Midtown Broadway. Their assets and quality of life would be protected in a way that can not be accomplished from the current location off of lower Broadway.
Mayor Gallo, Chief Tinti, and Jen Fuentes (among others) have lobbied successfully to secure the donation, and are currently working just as hard on grant solutions, both public and private, to fund retrofit and move costs. I am sure the promised proposal will include estimated costs, and I am hopeful the grants can be won to fund the project.
If the money is not available through those channels, I propose we vote a bond issue on the matter, maybe as early as November. Urgency and importance can not be over-stated. I believe this Police project is analogous to fixing the sinkhole on Washington Avenue. If this problem is not fixed soon, it could have the same results, metaphorically.
If the City can not fully fund this police station by one method or another, then I suggest letting the donation of the building go unaccepted. Presumably, even though the building has been closed since 2009, Bank of America have been paying their taxes, and we can’t afford to lose the revenue to act as realtors on a property that hasn’t sold for 3 years (unless, of course, there is a valid offer on the table). If BofA are not paying taxes, the City can seize the property soon enough.
I applaud and support my Alderman, Nathaniel Horowitz, for his positive efforts to move this plan forward. With some good-faith bargaining from the Common Council and the Mayor’s office, we can turn one liability into a big asset that marks the way for a Midtown revival.