CHEERS: To Alvin Moonesar and his partners who are investing cash and time into the William Street corridor in the City of Newburgh, where blocks filled with vacant buildings stretch south from Broadway to Overlook Place. His nonprofit, the Center for People Development Inc., has joined with Best Resource Centers Inc. to renovate a long-neglected city-owned park on Hasbrouck, just west of the intersection with William Street. “We don’t just want to buy the properties and rent them out,” Moonesar said. “We want to be part of the fabric of the city.” While the park is small, cleaning and repairing the park’s fencing and playground equipment is expected to have a large impact in an area where the breakup of gangs has cleared the way for turning vacant properties into new residences for adults and children.

CHEERS: To the City of Newburgh for taking advantage of a state program and investing in public health. Property owners in Newburgh can have lead water pipes replaced for free under a state-funded program created to reduce poisoning from corroded service lines, which carry water from the city’s mains into properties. The city will replace lead service lines for free, unless contractor quotes exceed $10,000. Services lines installed before 1940 will most likely be lead, according to the city. Priority areas will be those will high concentrations of lead lines and children. Owners of properties where children under 6 years old have tested positive for an elevated lead level are encouraged to apply. The dangers of lead exposure are well-documented, especially for children who can suffer lifelong consequences from an avoidable hazard.

CHEERS: To Luke Pontifell of Thonwillow Press in the City of Newburgh for his work teaching book-making, paper-making and printing skills to a new generation of craftspeople and for his latest vision, a “maker’s village” with spaces for artisans and craftspeople to design and create and collaborate; workshops in the arts, cooking, videography and other disciplines; and a gallery, café and bookshop. Pontifell has been buying properties around the company’s Spring Street offices for the project being developed under the umbrella of Thornwillow Institute, a nonprofit founded in 2015 with the belief that crafts could be a catalyst in Newburgh’s revitalization.“When we moved to Newburgh I wanted a big place where I could run all my machines and do what I loved to do,” Pontifell said.

CHEERS: To the Orange County Industrial Development Agency for investing to help activewear maker Ziel occupy the incubator’s new City of Newburgh location. The Newburgh branch at 605 Broadway would be the incubator’s third location, along with offices in New Windsor and Middletown.

The 14,000-square-foot Newburgh building will be provided rent-free for a year. It’s long been held by the Giordano/Bloomer family. The 78-year-old building was once home to the former Royal Hair Pin Corporation, and it housed Angelina Bloomer’s former Angie’s Clothing company and the Cloak Room store from 1970 to 1989. The incubators are run by the Orange County IDA. The IDA provides certain tax breaks to development projects to help the county’s economy.