All and all, I'm in for improvement and appreciation of our town, so I feel excited to hear that we had secured this huge 1.3 million dollar federal grant ( Thank you Mr. Hinchey) and it was to be pumped into the walkways and facades of the uptown area. Go Kingston!
So drinks in hand, Kim and I listen to the story of all their ideas...
The attached scan has all their major pros and cons broken down. You can read the nitty gruitty if you feel so inclined. And nothing seems set in stone at all yet; like almost they were just throwing ideas out and you really cannot tell from the drawings how radically different the three plans look...let's just say this:
Plan A1 as I believe they call it works with what we now have. It was said in the meeting, I believe by architect Robert Young, that he had been all over the walkway roofs and they were 80% sound. It opens up some of the more damaged roofs; it replaces columns, it fixes lights, it pitches roofs for maintenance. Plan A1 costs the least and their would be leftover to repair side walks and benches and planters and gee, how about that Peace Park? Let me tell you, many people were concerned about the trees and planters.
Plan A2 was a slightly more radical version of plan A. It cost a bit more, but still under a million, so there would be some left for ground level work. They add more pitched roofs and skylights. (There even might be some skylights in #1 and just more in number 2.) It still, from the looks of it, would resemble our Uptown as we know it.
Imagine the worst force of modernism thrust upon unsuspecting architecture. Imagine the gentile walkways of uptown taken off and replaced with a glorified glass roof bus stop. On quaint brick facades. Yes, I'm telling you: It looks like a bus stop!
I'm all for a witty juxtaposition of style. I like eclectic, but this was not a playful or creative play on materials. This was aesthetic mauling.
It looked to me as if they thought..."Hmm, what crazy new materials can we use and just go nuts!"
Oh, and did I mention that, of course, it would use up all of the grant, so the streets below this hideous glass monstrosity would be in the same disrepair that they are now; waiting for funding.
Yeah. I pretty much said the above at the meeting. Yuck yuck yuck!
Yeah. People clapped.
So other people KNOW this is the mother of all fugly; but I tell you, don't be complacent on this. We need to let the city and the Pike Planning Board know; We don't want this THING in Kingston.
I can just imagine this monstrous glass walkway. Fiberglass columns; 40% less of them. And 1/3 of the actual walkways are gone too, they open up some whole big spaces for the trees and benches. I kind of wonder then: why do we even bother having a walkway?? It won't protect you from the weather then..
I would much rather see the whole thing taken down. They aren't original to the buildings anyway. Use the money to fix up the facades of the actual buildings. Give them all fantastic paint jobs, like San Franscisco. Add awnings...real striped fabric ones like from the turn of the century. And window boxes full of flowers. And big cast iron street lights. They want light in the store fronts? Take the roofing completely down! It would be better than plan B!
The good news is that they don't seem to be too set in their ways. They did say a few times that they wanted feedback and I hope they are open to it. I feel like I am being so very mean and harsh, but I understand that they tried. It just doesn't connect. Hopefully they heard that. I'm hopeful...
I just worry that if they don't and this thing goes through, we will have to shake our heads at this gross misuse of funds for the rest of our years. We will have to see it every day as a retrograde hallucination of failed historic appreciation and forced modernism. The grant to improve Uptown Kingston is great, the idea to spend it all on this glass thing is bad. Just because we can do something, doesn't mean we should.
Good taste must prevail.
Pay attention, or see fugly for a long time!