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City of Poughkeepsie Releases Applicant Submissions for Former YMCA site, Appoints Advisory Committee

The City of Poughkeepsie has released the applicant submissions it has received regarding possible future uses of the former YMCA property on Montgomery Street.

 The city will hold a public information session at a later date to receive input about the plans from residents. The city also has appointed an advisory committee that includes members of the public to review the applications and make recommendations to the administration.

35 Montgomery Street (Former YMCA Facility)

Dutchess County Legislator Barbara Jeter Jackson of the City of Poughkeepsie will chair the committee, which also will include Common Council member Sarah Salem of the Second Ward, where the former YMCA is located. Other members of the committee are city residents Tamoya Norwood, Sashawna Isaacs and Arthur T. Rollin; Paul Calogerakis, the city’s economic development director; and John Penney, the city’s community engagement director.

 “I’m looking forward to hearing the committee’s recommendations – and also eager to hear what the public at large has to say about these ideas,” said City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison.

Earlier this year, the city took ownership of the property as part of its anti-blight initiative. It then released a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the property, with the goal of soliciting ideas for future uses of the property that will yield significant community benefit.

Here is a summary of the submissions:

The 35 Montgomery Community Coalition – which includes Community Matters 2, Inc., DAY ONE Early Childhood Learning Community, Dutchess Community College, Dutchess County, MASS Design Group, Nuvance Health, Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Poughkeepsie Public Library District, Vassar College, and YMCA of Kingston and Ulster County – is proposing a multi-use facility that would provide services connected to their respective missions in the community.

“Our proposal re-establishes the former YMCA site as a community and recreation resource that can be a safe, structured and horizon expanding space for Poughkeepsie’s youth and families,” the coalition wrote in a submission sent by Chris Kroner, principal of MASS Design Group.

“More than just a building, our proposal and the coalition behind it represent a comprehensive, cross-sector commitment to giving Poughkeepsie’s children the best possible start in life.”

Andrew Gori and Ambre Kelly, co-founders of The They Co., are proposing to establish a Poughkeepsie Museum of Contemporary Art. “Our 9 year history in revitalizing New York City and Los Angeles spaces and boroughs gives us great excitement to do the same in our hometown of Poughkeepsie, while also including a sensitivity to community retention that could serve as a model for future towns.”

Christopher Bledsoe, aquatic consultant at Swimming Past the Boundaries, is proposing The Swimming Past the Boundaries Aquatic Center (SPBAC), a 22,000-square-foot indoor aquatic facility that would “provide an asset to the immediate surrounding community and Dutchess County as a whole.”

 Artist Carolyn Hutchings Edlund is proposing an Art Museum. “The newly available YMCA property would make an outstanding museum location having already the bones of the structure, parking, and surrounding parkland in which to display sculptures, host out-of-doors performing arts events.”

The submission date for ideas was Thursday Sept. 5. 

During this process, the city held two well-attended meetings and then answered dozens of questions the public posed at those meetings. The city also presented to the public a video showing extensive damage to the inside of the building that has been vacant for about a decade.

The prevailing view at the public meetings was that the former YMCA site should be used again for youth activities in some respect. Residents have suggested everything from an indoor sports center arena to a place for employment and job-training programs.

To see the submissions go to: http://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/archives/7675

To see suggested solutions offered during the public meetings go to http://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/35montgomerystreet

City of Poughkeepsie 9/11 Memorial Service

In conjunction with the Kiwanis Club of Poughkeepsie, a 9/11 Memorial Service will be held at City Hall at 9:00am on Wednesday, September 11, 2019.  Mayor Rob Rolison will officiate. 

In the event of inclement weather, the Memorial Service will be held inside City Hall. 

Statement By City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison As Classes Are Set To Begin In City School District

“As classes begin in the Poughkeepsie City School District Thursday, I want to wish all the students much success this year, and I am encouraged by the stronger bond that has emerged between the district and the city.

The city school district has the wind at its back, having recently hired Dr. Eric Rosser as its superintendent. We want him and the rest of the school district to know that the city is here to work in partnership.

 Dr. Rosser, School Board President Felicia Watson and I were among those recently attending the ‘Poughkeepsie Summit at Harvard University.’ This summit focused on developing citywide solutions to help children succeed.

 The school district can’t do it alone. The broader community has an obligation to teach our children, to ensure they are safe and in nurturing environments. We have to be in this together, and the city is committed to that effort.”

Statement by Mayor Rob Rolison Regarding Lawsuit for a Cleaner Hudson River

For decades, industrial pollution in the Hudson River has devastated the commercial fishing industry, and efforts to restore the majestic river to a healthier state have proven entirely unsatisfactory.

I commend the State of New York for filing a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for prematurely issuing a ‘Certificate of Completion’ for the Hudson River PCB Cleanup.

General Electric should, indeed, conduct additional remediation to clean up the river.

Furthermore, I commend Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro’s decision to file an amicus-curiae brief in support of the state’s lawsuit. By doing so, on behalf of all county residents — including those living in the City of Poughkeepsie — the County Executive is appropriately emphasizing the economic and environmental impacts of the Hudson River on the area. Pronouncing GE’s cleanup of PCBs complete at this point is premature and not in the public’s best interest or health.

I also appreciate the steadfast work of environmental groups – including Riverkeeper, Clearwater and City of Poughkeepsie-based Scenic Hudson – in insisting for better remedies for our river.

The City of Poughkeepsie is among those communities relying on the Hudson River for drinking water. Making the river as clean as possible is in everyone’s interest – and should be everyone’s goal.”

City of Poughkeepsie to host Fourth of July Fireworks Display

The City of Poughkeepsie will host its annual Independence Day Fireworks Display on Thursday, July 4th shortly after dusk (approximately 9:20 pm).  The best places to view the show are from Waryas Park (free), The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum (tickets required), or the Walkway over the Hudson (tickets required).

The rain date is Friday, July 5. In the case of rain, please check the city’s website (www.cityofpoughkeepsie.com) and Walkway website (www.walkway.org) for any updates.

Parking is free in municipal parking lots beginning at 5 p.m. and in metered spaces after 6 p.m. Handicapped parking will be available at Waryas Park. No Parking zones will be in place along North Water Street and in the lots of Waryas Park. John M. Flowers Circle at Waryas Park will be closed to vehicular traffic.

“We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July,” said City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison. “There is no better place to celebrate the holiday than on the waterfront in Poughkeepsie. We hope to see you there!”

Mayor Rolison’s Statements Regarding Recent Parades

Following two parades in a 48-hour period and other events in between, City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison thanks the community for coming together and for fostering such positive energy in the city.

Video highlights of 'Champions Parade' in City of Poughkeepsie

On Friday, the City of Poughkeepsie held a “Champions Parade” for the city high school basketball and crew teams for winning state championships. Under pleasant skies, the parade marched down Main Street and ended up at City Hall where ceremonies were held. Afterward, many of the participants headed over to Mansion Square Park where First Friday festivities were taking place. Here are video highlights of that event.

Posted by City of Poughkeepsie on Monday, June 10, 2019
Video highlights of the “Champions Parade”

 “This past weekend was extraordinary,” the mayor said.

Champions Parade

Under pleasant skies on Friday afternoon, people lined both sides of Main Street to watch a parade featuring the Poughkeepsie High School basketball and crew teams, both state champions. The parade continued through downtown and made its way to City Hall where the mayor, School Board President Felicia Watson, coaches from both teams and others greeted the players and presented them with awards. Many of the parade participants and watchers then went over to Mansion Square Park where First Friday festivities – featuring food vendors and music – were underway. The park was jam-packed with people, and the event lasted until nightfall.

Poughkeepsie Pride Weekend

Poughkeepsie Pride organizers painting a crosswalk

On Saturday afternoon, Poughkeepsie Pride Weekend organizers painted the crosswalk at Main and Bridge streets the colors of a rainbow flag, one of many events that culminated with a parade on Sunday afternoon. Approximately 1,000 participated in the city’s first pride parade and festival, an event held in correlation with the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village.

“Sunday’s parade was a joyful sight,” said the mayor. “Having this parade in Poughkeepsie was truly fitting. The city embraces diversity, and we compliment the organizers for working with us and putting on such a great event.  I also want to thank our Police, Fire and Public Works departments for their outstanding work this weekend. Having parades back to back presented some challenges, but, once again, city employees were up to the task. Last weekend will be one that many people will long remember.”

Video Depicts Ties Between City of Poughkeepsie and Oaxaca, Mexico

Last year, the City of Poughkeepsie established a Poughkeepsie-Oaxaca Friendship City Committee, in recognition of the many people from that Mexican city who live or have ties to Poughkeepsie.

The committee, which includes city officials and community members, explores connections between the two cities. 

Two members of the Committee – Uriel Pinelo and Linda Marston-Reid — had separately planned vacations to Oaxaca and recently carried greetings on behalf of the City of Poughkeepsie to the mayor of Oaxaca.

For the trip, artist and filmmaker Jan Muller made a video that focuses on Poughkeepsie’s Oaxacan student body, its Oaxacan community members, and includes comment from City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison talking about the importance of education and acknowledging the vibrant Oaxacan community.

You can watch that video here: vimeo.com/331434489

New Date Set for PHS Pioneer Basketball Team Parade

On Friday, June 7, 2019 at 4:00pm, the City of Poughkeepsie will host a parade in honor of the Poughkeepsie High School Basketball Team – our State Class A Champions.  All participants and floats will gather at the Crannell Street parking lot at 4:00pm.  Step off will be at 4:15 pm from the Crannell Street lot.

Mayor Rob Rolison will officiate a ceremony on the steps of City Hall in honor of the team.  After the ceremony, they will continue to Mansion Square Park for First Friday festivities.   

More details to follow. 

Mayor Rolison’s Statement Regarding Memorial Day Weekend

This Memorial Day Weekend, towns, villages and cities across the mid-Hudson Valley and the rest of the United States will hold ceremonies, parades and tributes honoring our fallen veterans. It is, indeed, hoped the country has learned the importance of remembering and paying their due respects.

Originally called “Decoration Day,” the observance began in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

This weekend, we remember the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice in our country’s wars. It will be a time of somber ceremonies and reflections, of gratitude and remembrances.

On Sunday, City of Poughkeepsie and American Legion Lafayette Post 37 will host a Memorial Day Ceremony at Soldiers Fountain on South Avenue at 3 p.m. Later that day, the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park will continue its tradition of a sunset tribute by illuminating the Walkway and conducting a Memorial Day Flag Changing Ceremony. That event begins at 7:30 p.m. and continues to 10:15 p.m.

We wish all a safe and peaceful holiday weekend.