Hester Street facilitated community engagement in downtown Newburgh, NY to include resident voice in shaping the rehabilitation and development of three properties: the historic Dutch Reform Church, City Club and 2 Montgomery, which have been vacant since the 1970s when 50 acres of the city were cleared during urban renewal. The planning process in Newburgh sought to understand resident priorities for housing, economic and community development in the downtown neighborhood and envision how the rehabilitation and development of these three properties can help address them.

Hester Street conducted interviews, surveys, focus groups, community meetings and informal engagements to understand resident needs and priorities for neighborhood revitalization. We combined this input with asset and opportunity mapping to inform project partner Alembic Community Development’s plans for construction. The final report will serve as a tool for community-based partners seeking to ensure development addresses needs for affordable and supportive housing, small business supports and community facilities in this predominantly low-income community of color.