As part of the Wurts Street Bridge time capsule, Mayor Noble was asked to include a letter to the future mayor. He wrote:
To the Future Mayor of Kingston,
Greetings! My name is Steve Noble. I write to you from November 2023, as I have just this week been re-elected to serve a third term as Kingston’s Mayor. Some statistics about our City today: we have a population of 24,000+, making us the largest city in Ulster County, with 20.6% of our population under 18, and 14.6% over 65. The average household income is $79,424. Here at City Hall, I manage a workforce of about 300 employees, with an annual budget of $52 million.
Recent projects include the Kingston Greenline walking/biking trail that runs from uptown to downtown, and Sojourner Truth State Park, which opened last year. Dietz Stadium is currently under construction and will be completely renovated by this time next year. A new park in midtown at the intersection of Broadway and Prince Street is so new that it hasn’t yet been named!
Two of my major focuses as Mayor have been addressing our critical lack of housing and making sure Kingston is environmentally conscious. Since I became Mayor in 2016, we have seen dramatic changes in our annual weather patterns due to Climate Change. We are doing everything thing we can to mitigate these changes, including converting to renewable energies, planting hundreds of more trees, and reinforcing our infrastructure for anticipated sea level rise.
This year we launched a volunteer composting program, and we have already collected several tons of compost, which also lowers waste management costs. In 2023, most drivers are still using gasoline-powered vehicles, but I am working to transition all city vehicles to electric. We are proud to be one of the first “Silver-Certified” Climate Smart community in New York. By the time you are reading this, maybe a “Gold-Certified” level exists!
In the year 2020, we experienced a global health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic. Hundreds of folks from New York City moved to Kingston, which made our tight housing market even tighter. I have spent the past three years implementing housing strategies, pushing for new zoning improvements, and prioritizing affordable housing projects. One of my proudest accomplishments was a complete rewriting of our Zoning Code to allow for smart, sustainable development.
Looking to the future, I hope that housing and environmental struggles are not as urgent. I hope that any person or family looking to settle down in Kingston can find a beautiful place to live at a reasonable price. I hope that the nation has worked together to address the tremendous dangers of global warming.
Kingston has an amazing history dating back to the 1600s, and I am proud to be a part of that history. My hope for the future is that the people of Kingston will still be able to rely on elected officials to guide our community during the good times and the bad. Mayors serve all: the marginalized, the underrepresented, and those whose hard work builds and improves our community. Kingston is a special place, and I hope that during my tenure as Mayor I have helped to preserve its unique quality. I hope as you read this letter, well into the future, you believe in what Kingston is, and what it can still become.
Steven T. Noble