The “Promised Land,” But Who is it Really For?

I recently found this “Report” (“The Promised Land”) which was released on January 29, 2006 in the “Times Herald Record,” authored by Tim Logan, which was 14 years ago. The driving force behind this project was Jim Moss, the Times Herald Record Chairman and Mike Levine who was the editor. This Essay shared with the readers many aspects of what the city of Newburgh had gone through throughout the years. In July, 1970 the city of Newburgh turned one of its oldest neighborhoods, the black section of Water Street and Smith Street, into rubble. Wow! What do we have on Water Street now, 50 years later? No houses, nothing but cars driving back and forth over it. Wow! Many of the 500 or so families that were displaced by urban renewal crowded into apartments up the hill. A federal rebuilding was supposed to follow the demolition of Water Street. City residents waited for a plan and for a reconstruction but up to this date there has been no plan and no reconstruction. Varick Homes was the only thing that came out of all of this. Evidently, this land is not to be occupied by “Black” folks ever again. Why Not? Give some “Real” serious thought to that question?

Now here we are 50 years later and things are still the same. Why? Why? Why? The “Recommendations” made during that time still have not materialized except for one, which was the SUNY-Orange campus. It was considered to be a bridge between the white waterfront and the black neighborhoods, and also a balm for the psychic wounds of urban renewal, using that weighted ground for an institution that would help residents of the city’s poor communities, not for pricey condos, and fancy restaurants. It was felt that a college campus on this site would do more to redress the historical wrongs of urban renewal than the pricey condos coming that way now. Did it?? Another recommendation for then was that County Executive Edward Diana should take a leading role in beginning a regional initiative toward housing and social services. The pocket of poverty that is Newburgh sucks up, an enormous amount of county funds and creates a vicious cycle, producing ever more generations of poor people. Diana and county leaders should conduct a public discussion of county policies and come up with new solutions to the problem of Newburgh’s densely concentrated poverty. County leaders have done next to nothing so far; that has to end. This was written in 2006 which was 14 years ago. Has there been any real significant change since then re: this issue? Please give some real “Serious” thoughts to that question.

What is the “Real” serious answer to the above question. Truthfully, that land has remained unoccupied all of these years. Why? Why? Why? Give some real “Serious” thoughts to that question. Why has it taken so long for that land, which was taken from us, fifty years ago been able to remain unoccupied? Why? Why? Why? That question needs to be “Seriously” answered by our City Council. We need housing and it should be built on that land where our families lived. My grandparents owned a home at 116 Smith Street and so did many others of our people own property on that land. When is that land going to be used again by us? If not, why not??? That “Promised” land has been “Promised” to who??? We need to not allow ourselves to be “Hoodwinked” any longer. Most of that land was occupied by African Americans, therefore we should become the occupants once again on that land. One’s silence towards this issue means that they are satisfied with that land still being empty. What happened to the last project that was being considered for that land? Who voted for it and who voted against it? Why did they do so? Our politician’s feet need to be held to the fire re: this issue! Wake Up! Wake Up? Wake Up!

Why are we so silent about this? Stop allowing the politicians to “Hoodwink” us. That issue needs to be put on the front burner once again. If not, our silence to this means that we are in agreement for that property, where most of us and our relatives lived, to still remain empty. Give some “Real” serious thought to this and let us do some real “Serious” research on this issue to find out who voted for and who voted against it. Let us not forget this when the next city council election comes around. If not, we will only have ourselves to blame for what does or what does not happen to the land where we and our forefathers dwelt.

This is Lillie’s “Point of View” and I’m just having my say! Now you can have yours!

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