KINGSTON – Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced last Wednesday that demolition of the former County Jail has begun. At a ground-breaking ceremony at the site on Golden Hill, County Executive Ryan said the demolition of the old building is the first step in the process of transforming the site into one which serves the current needs of the community, addressing the urgent housing affordability crisis for residents. The property will be developed into 160 units of affordable senior and workforce housing.
The Golden Hill concept plan calls for approximately 80 units of senior housing and 80 units of workforce housing that are affordable at a range of 30 percent to 60 percent of area median income. The development will include a 5,000 square-foot community building, providing gathering and fitness space for residents and space for local community organizations to offer services. All buildings will be constructed to high efficiency levels, utilizing advanced electric heating and cooling technologies and incorporating rooftop solar.
“With so many across our community struggling to afford rising rents, this project will add desperately-needed housing that seniors and working families can afford. This is another critical step to make sure we’re lowering costs and taking care of our people, and I’m really proud of the statement that we’re sending: That a site that has sat stagnant for over a decade, unused, not on the tax rolls, and really a reminder of the old ways in a lot of dimensions, is now being repurposed and reimagined to help our neighbors and our community who need a place to live with dignity with their families and have that sense of security,” Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said. “I want to thank our partners in the Legislature and in the City of Kingston, as well as the Ulster County Housing Development Corporation and the Pennrose team, for working with us to develop a project that will help us make housing more affordable for folks who are feeling tremendous financial pressure right now.”
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the County to receive $34.5 million in federal funds, and we took a good amount of time to analyze what we wanted to do with this money – looking at the deepest and longest term impact that we could have on the County,” Ulster County Legislator Peter Criswell, Chair of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Special Committee, said. “We came up with a criteria list, and out of that, we have done some amazing things: we’ve prioritized mental health support, food security and housing. And that’s where this project comes into play – $1.5 million towards the demolition of the jail allows for the creation of affordable housing.”
“It’s been an honor and a pleasure to be part of the ARPA Committee, and part of this legislature, and a privilege to put this federal money to use to benefit all of Ulster County. Being from the Southern Tier, sometimes we feel a little left out, but projects like the jail demolition and Golden Hill housing project move Ulster County forward, and is a benefit to everybody in the County,” Ulster County Legislator Thomas Corcoran, Deputy Chair of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Special Committee, said. “I want to thank Legislator Criswell and the ARPA committee, the legislature and County Executive for moving this forward and bringing this project to the next stage.”
“We are thrilled about this first step towards converting this former correctional facility into a new neighborhood of mixed-income, intergenerational housing,” said Dylan Salmons, Regional Vice President with Pennrose. “This project is made possible through the County-led demolition phase celebrated today. We look forward to our continued collaboration with our partners the Family of Woodstock, Ulster County, the City of Kingston, and all stakeholders to bring the project to its fruition.”
“I am excited to see the County move forward with demolishing the old jail, and work toward turning this long-abandoned property into homes for our community members. We are in dire need of housing at every level, and this project has the potential to add many new units of housing here in Kingston,” Kingston Mayor Steve Noble said. “I thank the County Executive and his team for making this project a priority, and for supporting the goals of the City of Kingston by supporting adaptive reuse of this site.”
“Not many years ago this might have been a controversial project, and to date it has not been. That’s a testament to the skill and track record of our development partner, Pennrose, and the high quality projects they’ve done throughout the tri-state area in addressing affordable housing issues, especially workforce housing. And it’s because of impressive political leadership that’s emerged in the County, bringing the community together to support something that is absolutely essential to our well being as a County and also to the future economic prospects of the County. This is going to be a terrific thing that the whole community is going to be extraordinarily proud of,” Chair of the Ulster County Housing Development Corporation Hayes Clement said.
The 2022 Executive Budget directed $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the County-led Housing Development Corporation, to accelerate the demolition of the old Ulster County jail and support new construction. In May, a bipartisan supermajority of the Ulster County Legislature approved the use of the funding, in order to make way for the development of intergenerational, affordable housing.
Last week, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced an Inflation Relief Plan aimed at supporting households and small businesses struggling with rising costs. County Executive Ryan highlighted multiple initiatives and priorities that will provide much-needed relief during an unprecedented time of economic pressure, including $5 million to acquire land and build infrastructure to support hundreds more housing units, building on the growing momentum in adding desperately-needed housing inventory for seniors and working families.