Despite the novel coronavirus [COVID-19] pandemic, the City of Newburgh is still planning for an eventful summer.
Although certain city activities have been canceled, the city is brainstorming alternative summer recreational activities.
The City is exploring a Slow Streets/Play Streets model to help people safely engage in recreational activities outdoors. In addition, the City is also engaging with local restaurants in an effort to accommodate increased outdoor seating, should specific roads end up being closed to vehicular traffic.
Just last Tuesday, the Mid Hudson Region officially opened for phase two of the state’s reopening plans. Phase two allows restaurants to provide outdoor dining. Newburgh was included in the reopening.
As of Monday evening, Orange County had 10,658 cases of COVID-19 infections. There were a total of 473 deaths. The City of Newburgh had 1,493 COVID-19 cases. The Town of Newburgh had 730 cases, and the Town of New Windsor had 854 cases.
The city is making efforts to provide safe spaces for walking, running, biking and rollerblading. The city has expedited the closing of all streets through Downing Park to vehicles including Carpenter Avenue, Haible Way, and Mayor Joan Shapiro Drive.
Additional City-wide activities being explored include outdoor exercise classes, socially distanced entertainment, and family-friendly events, including drive-in movies for everyone including people who do not have cars. These projects are planned to launch incrementally and will align with Governor Cuomo’s phased re-opening of the Mid-Hudson region.
Green spaces like Downing Park and other neighborhood parks are open to the public. The tennis courts on South Street are still open.
Day passes for the Washington Street Boat Launch can be purchased from the on-site kiosk using a credit or debit card, and season passes are available from the City Clerk’s Office by phone at 845-569-7311. Shoreline fishing on the Hudson is permitted with COVID-19 restrictions.
City-run spring/summer soccer, basketball, and camp programs are canceled. All recreational sporting fields are also closed as well as playground equipment throughout the City. The water features at Audrey Carey Park will open in June.
The Skate Park at Delano Hitch is closed and the hoop systems at basketball courts have been temporarily removed. The Aquatic Center, including the pool, is also closed. The fields at Delano Hitch Stadium will be renovated during the period of closure.
Mayor Torrance Harvey is also taking on a summer youth employment initiative. He recently announced that a wealthy donor has offered to completely finance the initiative.
“This opportunity will hire 50 inner city youth for 6 weeks during the summer! It will include the Street Sweepers Program, Park Restoration, and a Horticultural experience,” said Harvey on Facebook. “All to beautify our city streets.”
Last year the initiative hired 22 people.
“This comes at a time where we are uncertain about Orange County’s Summer Youth Employment opportunities,” said Harvey. All supervisors and workers will be outdoors practicing COVID-19 guidelines while working.
He said the opportunity is still being discussed and worked on through the city’s legal department and will need the city council’s support.
“We are working through some challenging times,” said Harvey. “But we see a bright horizon ahead..”