Middletown Looking Up With $10 Million Grant

As the Orange County hub gets a governor’s boost, we celebrate some of the city’s best spots to chill, shop, and chow down

The City of Middletown has been awarded a $10 million investment to rejuvenate their community as part of Governor Cuomo’s competitive Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), which offers a grant to 10 neighborhoods across the state. Cuomo announced his decision at the Paramount Theatre in Middletown this past Wednesday. While presenting a check to Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano, Gov. Cuomo remarked, “Cream rises to the top. You won and you should have won.”

Over the course of last month, Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) nominated neighborhoods based on an extensive list of criteria, including the presence of job growth within a downtown, diversity in population, and sustainable infrastructure to support the community’s members and businesses. The DRI then selected communities that, per the REDC site, were deemed “ripe for development to transform them into vibrant communities where tomorrow’s workforce will want to live, work, and raise families.”

The grant money will be allocated for several private and public projects, with an aim of enhancing arts and cultural attractions and education. “I believe it is Middletown’s chance to grow its downtown into a modern hub of activity,” Mayor DeStefano tells Hudson Valley, adding his hope is it creates “a future that will bring more jobs and investment here into our city, raising incomes and improving the quality of life.”

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The undeniable boost notwithstanding, both Mayor DeStafano and residents would likely agree that Middletown already boasts plenty of great dining and entertainment options. So until the grant-related initiatives break ground, here are four selected attractions worth checking out when you’re in the area.


Rock Fantasy, 75 W Main Street

Music lovers, rejoice! This concert shop is the place to live out your hard rock and heavy metal fantasies. Spend some time scouring their shelves for rare LPs, tour posters, and DVDs. Plus, get your flipper fingers ready because Rock Fantasy also transports you to a bygone era via its collection classic, brightly lit games in the store’s pinball room, which currently serves as the home base for the Orange County Pinball Club.


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Clemson Bros. Brewery, 22 Cottage Street

Craft enthusiasts, unite. These local brewers are keeping beer in the family and serving you countless classic flavors with a twist. But in case you’re not big on ales and stouts, the Clemsons also offer a sophisticated finger-foods menu of pizza, burgers, and wings.


Daddy’s Donuts & Bake Shop, 4-6 Fairlawn Avenue

From classic donuts like Boston Cream and Jelly to more nuanced concoctions like Banana Pudding and Maple Bacon, this is your one-stop shop for sweet treats. Don’t love the conventional glazed, circular pastry? Daddy’s also offers cakes, cookies, pastries, and breads to help satisfy your cravings.

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Ring Homestead Camp, 257 Lybolt Road

Assemble a team of friends and add a splash of color to your life at Ring Homestead’s paintball park. The site offers other exciting outdoor activities too, including camping, fishing, hiking, and swimming. It’s never too late to learn how to make a fire and get your marshmallow-roasting, overnight adventure on.


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