Without a doubt, this city needs a plan — all you need to do is take a look at what’s happened down on the Rondout in the past few years, much of which was facilitated by the city drawing up a waterfront revitalization plan. That plan has played a vital role in the city scoring thousands upon thousands of dollars for improvement projects, and once a citywide plan is in place, it’ll make it easier for Midtown and other parts of the city to get some grant money of its own. Further, the willy-nilly and unwelcome-in-many-quarters development the city has had to deal with of late will be tamped down as citizens can be specific about what they want and don’t want in their backyards.
While the destination of a completed comprehensive plan (followed by updated zoning to reflect the plan’s stated objectives), is the key, the journey is important too. More than any other public process, the drafting of a comprehensive plan will allow Kingstonians the opportunity to have their say about where they feel their city should go in the years to come. We urge those drawing it up to seek input from the widest possible base and from all quarters — preservationists, developers, taxpayers. Everybody’s opinions should be considered in this plan, and the process will be a unique opportunity for the various groups in the city to learn about each other and perhaps understand each other a little better. Though we are often pilloried as the most jaded of cynics, journalists are idealists at heart, so we believe that the various constituencies in Kingston need not come to blows all the time.
If there’s one thing that would improve the city’s comprehensive plan, it would be coordination with nearby towns — Ulster, Kingston and Rosendale — but maybe that’s too much to ask.
We are also pleased by the council’s decision to keep $50,000 in Community Development Block Grant money where it was originally allocated — the Carnegie Library project. While the arguments for the bandstand are not bad ones, we feel the city in this case should plan its work and work from its plan, and let Midtown keep all of the grant money it can get. Also, in a time when so many people in this city are just scraping by, the spending of that kind of public money on something not really essential sends the wrong message. What would be nice, and a community building moment, is if the $50,000 could be raised privately — if downtown businesses think it is such a necessity, they should lead the way in giving and collecting donations. You can mark the editor of this newspaper down for $10.
As for other good things happening this week, we are heartened by the overturning of California’s gay marriage ban and the passing by the state Senate of the state budget, bringing that horrendous process to a close only, what, four months late, and with more than $1 billion in new taxes and fees and, thanks to the state Assembly no action on a property tax cap. While we are proud of the state Senate for doing their part to keep the creaky machinery of this state trundling along for another year, we are reminded that it is the body that has blocked gay marriage in this state. If senators finally get it through their thick legislative heads that they have no right to stand in the way of whatever intimate relationships New Yorkers want to form among themselves, we would even be more proud of them.