Newburgh Armory Unity Center, Inc., (NAUC) is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, formed to manage the Newburgh Armory and to create collaborative relationships among not for profit organizations to collectively increase capacity for programming aimed primarily at inner city youth. Programs at the Armory will focus on athletics, personal development, and the advancement of business for the benefit of the people of the City of Newburgh and students of the Newburgh Enlarged City School District. The community service programs of NAUC will be supported by NAUC’s business and marketing plan which focuses on the mid-Hudson Valley, including Sullivan, Ulster, Dutchess, Orange and Putnam Counties.
Building on our initial programming success with organizing a city-wide basketball league for the first time in over 50 years, and soccer skills programs, we plan to initiate new sports in the Armory to include volleyball, karate, fencing, tennis followed by tutoring, cooking, and arts programming to support the holistic development of our youth. The City of Newburgh recognizes the need for added recreational facilities to counter the rising gang violence, drug use and unemployment of Newburgh youth. In an article written by Doyle Murphy of the Times Herald Record, entitled “Newburgh’s hopelessness fosters crime”, Mr. Murphy reports that an analysis of recently released FBI statistics indicate that Newburgh was the most violent city per capita in 2009 in New York State (Times Herald Record, 11/18/2010). Michael Ferrara, City of Newburgh Chief of Police, referred to the 466 violent crimes in 2009 and said that much of it can be traced to drug trade born out of poverty and too few jobs in the city. “Add in a young population concentrated in a small area and the fact that plenty of outsiders come to Newburgh to commit crimes, and the picture of the city’s problems begins to emerge,” Ferrara said.
The statistics for 2010 exceed the 2009 totals. Eleven people have been murdered in the City as compared to 4 in 2009. The 2009 statistics are as follows: Total Violent Crimes—466; Murders—4; Rapes—8; Robberies—187; Aggravated Assaults—267; Property Crimes—1065.
The total population of the City of Newburgh based on the 2005–2009 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, is 28,212. The average family size is 3.85 and the population over 25 years of age is 14,808. Fifty-two point five percent (52.5%) of the population is under 25 years of age. Only 68% of the population who are 16 years or older are in the labor force; 20.6% of families are below the poverty level while the medium household income is only $37,391 (53.2%) of the medium for Orange County ($70,345). The educational level of adults in Newburgh is reported to be 71.1% with a high school diploma or equivalency, while only 13.9% have completed a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
The City of Newburgh is in financial crisis due to numbers of program failures and the lack of a tax base. Home ownership is only at 32.9%, and of the housing stock, 13.8% of housing units are abandoned and/or unoccupied. The business base is thin and thinning. At the January 10, 2011 meeting of the City Council approving a management agreement with the Newburgh Armory Unity Center, Inc., for management of and program development at the Armory, the Mayor noted that the City had neither the staff nor the funds to maintain the Armory. Councilwoman Marge Bell added that only 1% of an already strapped budget went to support programs for young people in the City. Our program plan will target inner city youth, and through the environment we create at the Armory introduce program participants to a wide array of programs and adventures. It is our plan to provide opportunities that the young people have not previous realized may have existed in a holistic, nurturing environment. Working with the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, the YMCA, the Glenn Hines Boys and Girls Club, Newburgh Performing Arts Academy, the Hudson Valley Youth Soccer League, Hoops Express, the Liberty Partnership, the Dispute Resolution Center, the Orange County Youth Bureau, and others, we will maximize outreach to the youth in enrolling them in programs.