KINGSTON, NY – On Friday, January 30, 2015, the Hudson River Maritime Museum made a fortuitous acquisition of the property at 86 Rondout Landing, the former Rosita’s Restaurant. This enabled the Museum to turn a “someday” dream of thoughtfully expanding its footprint on the Rondout, into a bona fide reality, creating a more vibrant working and teaching waterfront as well as a year round tourist destination.
The Riverport Wooden Boat Building School of the Hudson River Maritime Museum and additional year round educational space will be the end result.
Museum Board President, Allan Bowdery, states that all the necessary components were present with this property and location. “We just needed a coherent mission joined with an impassioned vision, which was ably coordinated by Executive Director, Russell Lange.” After much deliberation amongst Board members and Museum staff about the realities of creek flooding, researching the positive economic impact of a boatbuilding school on other similar waterfront communities, and contact with wooden boat builders and shipwrights, plans began in earnest.
Funding always rises to the forefront with projects such as these. Lange notes that “through a major gift from private individuals who deeply believe in the Museum’s mission, we were fortunate enough to be able to move ahead with this project. The Hudson River Foundation also has contributed to the operation of the Riverport Wooden Boat Building School. Acquiring 86 Rondout Landing will now allow us to transition into a year-round facility, and to provide the City of Kingston and the Hudson Valley, a unique ‘Riverport Experience’. We are continuing to work on other sources of revenue in order to help off-set this investment, and to fund continued operations of the Museum’s existing programs.”
The Museum, now poised to celebrate its 35th anniversary this season, has accomplished yet another milestone in its development. In 2012, Hudson Valley residents may remember joining with Pete Seeger on September 15, 2012 to “barn raise”. Three months later to the day, the Kingston Home Port and Education Center stood as a proud testament to this passion for the river, and for interpreting its rich maritime history. The iconic Hudson River sloop Clearwater now has a winter home port and maintenance hub.
Board member and Project Supervisor Dr. Jack Weeks remarks on what this acquisition means not only to the Museum but to the region: “Having this boat building school adds a significant additional educational component to the museum’s programming, further enhancing the cultural vitality and economic development of the City as a whole and the historic Rondout waterfront district in particular.” Lange adds, “The school will also increase the attractiveness and lure of year-round heritage tourism, strengthen our community partnerships, and offer even more docking for visiting heritage vessels and cruise ships. The possibilities are exciting.”
Interviews available upon request.
Contact: Lana Chassman
Director of Public Relations
Hudson River Maritime Museum
845.338.0071 ext. 15