Rural LISC Annual Seminar

Photos from the June 2015 gathering of over 200 rural community developers at the Rural LISC Annual Seminar and 20th Anniversary Celebration in Portland, Maine.

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Keeping Rural America Strong


We are pleased to share this article from Rural LISC Program Vice President Suzanne Anarde who makes the strong case for investment in rural communities in the latest issue of the ABA Banking Journal.


CDC in the Spotlight

Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership chosen to participate in ArtPlace America program

Rural LISC CDC Partner Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership has been chosen as one of six organizations to participate in the ArtPlace America Community Development Investments program. They will receive $3 million over three years to incorporate arts and cultural strategies into their community development work in Minnesota.

RUPCO Inc. celebrates Lace Mill redesign into housing for artists

Creative Placemaking

The United States Lace Curtain Mill was an early 20th century industrial complex engaged in textile manufacturing. Located in the town of Kingston in New York’s Hudson River Valley, it consisted of three tightly clustered buildings, which remained empty for decades after its closing. 

Over the past several years, as a part of major community development initiative, the Lace Mill buildings were refurbished by Rural LISC Partner CDC RUPCO, Inc., for use as a 55-apartment, affordable-housing complex for artists. According to Melaku Kassa, Assistant Program Officer for Rural LISC, “Rural LISC committed $8,200 in recoverable grants, which allowed RUPCO, Inc. to help this area of Kingston by utilizing creative placemaking to revitalize this building and bring affordable residential units to the area.”

More about the national creative placemaking program can be found here.

Photo credit:  Tania Barricklo/Daily Freeman               
 Tenants moving into the redesigned Lace Mill.

"The buildings were used as a warehouse but they've been boarded up since 1986," said RUPCO CEO Kevin O'Connor. "Locating 55 residential units here is going to add some real economic uplift to the community."

The decision to give artists a priority on available housing was partly influenced by a Bloomberg Week Magazine article naming Kingston one of the 10 best places for artists to live in 2010.

In addition to residential space, The Lace Mill includes several gallery spaces and designated shared and private work studios. The intent is for the building to become a center of cultural activity open to the public, in addition to providing housing for the burgeoning arts community in the region. Other amenities will include a common artist utility room on every level, outdoor sculpture areas designated for public art, and walkable community amenities such as bike racks and connections to the city’s existing sidewalk system.

Photo credit:  Guy Thomas Kempe/RUPCO, Inc.               
Gallery space will also be a part of the Lace Mill community.

The project will employ a variety of sustainable approaches such as state-of-the-art thermal heating and cooling, solar panels on the roof, energy-efficient lighting, and durable and sustainable material sourcing.

Photo credit: Tania Barricklo/Daily Freeman               
Ben Gordon is one of the first residents to enjoy the new housing.

“We’re inviting the community to come see what we’ve been up to the past year,” says Tara Collins, director of communications at RUPCO. “The Lace Mill is creative placemaking in the artistic heart of Midtown Kingston.” 

Read more about the Kingston Lace Mill redesign project by checking out the portfolio on RUPCO's project page, news coverage of the grand opening, and by liking them on their Facebook page.

Helping Hands For a Community In CrisisHelping Hands For a Community In Crisis

The nonprofit world has stepped up to help manage a natural disaster with no end in sight, bringing water to scores of low-income rural families in California’s San Joaquin Valley as more and more wells run dry. Read the new article on the LISC Institute Spotlight on Rural blog.

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Self-Help Housing: 50 Years, 50,000 Homes

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LISC 2014 Annual Report is now online