Continuing a trend of increasing grant revenue, more than $2 million dollars were awarded this week for development and green infrastructure projects in the City of Poughkeepsie. The award announcement came during the most recent round of the New York State Consolidated Funding Applications. A project at 33-35 Academy Street known as “The Hive” was awarded $1,205,000 to convert two vacant buildings into a food hall and market, brewery, co-working space and apartments in the heart of downtown. Nearby, two city-owned parking lots will be retrofitted with green infrastructure elements to treat stormwater runoff onsite, helping to improve water quality in the Fall Kill and Hudson River.
Mayor Rob Rolison said, “These latest grant awards demonstrate that New York State recognizes the upward trajectory of the City of Poughkeepsie. Momentum and interest in our city continues to build, and we are seeing increasing private investment such as The Hive coming into downtown as well as other areas of the city. For our part, the city is increasingly focused on sustainability and protecting the environment, such as through green infrastructure improvements to our downtown parking lots. These two projects complement each other and demonstrate what can happen when the public and private sectors work together toward common goals.”
Mayor Rob Rolison announces the appointment of Scott L. Volkman who was rated “highly qualified” by the Judicial Screening committee, to serve as a City of Poughkeepsie Court Judge. Scott L.Volkman will fill the vacancy created by the mandatory retirement of Judge Thomas J. O’Neill on January 1, 2019.
Scott Volkman is an attorney and a lifelong resident of Poughkeepsie. He graduated from the University at Albany with a BA in political Science in 1982 and received his Juris Doctor from the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law in 1985.
The City of Poughkeepsie in conjunction with the Bardavon 1869 Opera House and the Poughkeepsie River District Business Association will present the 25th annual Celebration of Lights Parade and Fireworks on Friday, November 30 at 6:30pm. Each year thousands of people attend this popular, family-friendly event, voted by Dutchess County Tourism as the “Best Event” of the holiday season.
The line-up for the parade begins at 5:30pm and will commence at 6:30pm from the Crannell Street Parking Lot on Catharine Street and proceed down Main Street to the evening’s first Christmas tree lighting at Mural Square. The Celebration of Lights Parade is led by City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison along with County Executive Marcus Molinaro and members of the City of Poughkeepsie Common Council.
The parade ends at Dongan Square Park at the intersection of Mill Street and North Clover Street where a second Christmas tree lighting will take place in conjunction with several short performances. The festivities conclude with the area’s only winter fireworks being displayed along the Poughkeepsie waterfront. These activities will take place at approximately 7:15pm.
Following the parade and fireworks at 8:00pm there will be a screening of Home Alone at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House for a price of $6 per person. It is suggested to purchase tickets ahead of time as the movie tends to sell out.
The parade will assemble in the city parking lot at Crannell St., beginning around 5:30PM and will step off at 6:30 PM.
The parade will pause at Mural Sq. on Main St. for a brief tree lighting ceremony and then continue to its final destination at Dongan Park. During the parade, Main St will be closed from Academy St. to N. Clover St., and North Clover St will be closed from Main St. to Mill St. Mill St. from N. Perry St. to Verrazano Blvd will be closed for the duration of the event, including the parade and fireworks, which will be setting off approximately 7:30PM.
During the event, heavy delays are to be expected in the downtown area, including Mill St., Columbus Dr. (Rt 44/55 westbound), Main St. and points west. Alternate routes to the Poughkeepsie Train Station are strongly urged during this time period. Rinaldi Blvd and North Water St. via Rt 9 access to the lower river front area is likely the best alternate route to get to the train station.
On Tuesday, Mayor Rob Rolison announced that $100,000 has been allocated this year to support a variety of youth programs throughout the City. The “Youth Activities & Opportunities Program”, which was introduced as part of the City’s 2018 budget, has helped local organizations by providing funding to support clubs and leagues as well as summer and educational programs. These programs have allowed Poughkeepsie youth to participate in community-based programs that emphasize active lifestyles, provide creative outlets, and build long-lasting relationships. Based on the success of the program in its first year, Mayor Rob Rolison’s 2019 City budget increases funding for the program to $140,000. The Common Council is expected to vote on the Mayor’s proposed budget in early December.
Social Development Director, Jaclyn Greenwald said “This program provides important financial assistance for programs that support the mission of expanding youth opportunities both after school and during the summer months, improving quality of life, building individual strength and confidence, and contributing towards improved academic outcomes as well.”
Laurel Spuhler, member of the Youth Grant Advisory Committee which reviews applications, said: “I appreciated being on this committee to help provide opportunities for the young people living in the city of Poughkeepsie. Children and young adults benefited from being part of summer groups, sports leagues, creative projects as well as organizations committed to instilling confidence in our young people. The goal is to offer our youth experiences that will stay with them their whole lives.”
The City has been notified by Dutchess County that we have been selected as the recipient of three separate grants – all awarded under the County’s “Municipal Innovation Grant Program”
One grant, in the amount of $75,000 funds our participation in the Child Advocacy Center (CAC). A second award in the amount of $168,700 was made for the 911 Phone System Consolidation & Shared Network Initiative, and the third grant was awarded for Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) in the amount of $256,850. The CIT program award continues prior year’s funding and reflects the demonstrated success of the City’s efforts in this important area of training and development. The 911 Phone System grant will permit significant modernization of the system, enhancing public safety operations throughout the area for years to come.
The Municipal Innovation Grant Program was announced back in 2013 by County Executive Marcus Molinaro. The program was created to incentivize municipalities, through a competitive grant program process, to consolidate services, produce shared services, eliminate layers of government, evaluate municipal consolidation opportunities and implementation possibilities, establish the regional delivery of services, and/or implement efficiency improvements. The grant program is administered under the direction of the Dutchess County Department of Planning & Development.
The City of Poughkeepsie expresses its appreciation to Dutchess County and to our partners at its Planning and Development Department. In addition to annual grant support, Dutchess County provides the City with significant non-financial support. The City and County recently completed a successful consolidation of the City’s transit system, which resulted in expanded routes and broadened transit’s hours of operations in the City to include Sundays. That initiative is estimated to save City of Poughkeepsie taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, and won the state-wide “Government Efficiency Award” from the New York Conference of Mayors earlier this year.
City Administrator, Marc Nelson, said “This grant program has an extremely high return on investment, not just in the City but throughout the region. This strong support in such a competitive grant program signals growing confidence that the City is getting its fiscal house in order while improving its delivery of services”.
Our parks are one of many treasures here in the City of Poughkeepsie. They say a lot about our priorities as a community. They are regularly used by thousands of our residents, as well as by visitors from around the region, and their value is immeasurable for the opportunities they provide. We will soon be embarking on a comprehensive parks improvement plan which will upgrade, replace or repair park infrastructure. From essential and long-deferred work on our city pools, to fixing long-broken stone walls, benches and other park facilities, it’s time we return to a strategic and proactive maintenance and care program that protects our parks.
Please help us focus our available resources on the areas that are most important to you by completing our online parks survey at surveymonkey.com/r/pkgoparks. You may also email us at [email protected] if you would like to give us additional feedback or suggestions in areas not covered by the survey questions.
I am very proud of the work we’ve done together to restore our City to fiscal health. Our efforts over the last two years have brought us to a point where we can now begin to make real progress on important quality-of-life issues which were previously neglected. Your feedback is an important part of this process, so thank you in advance for taking the survey.
The City of Poughkeepsie and the City School District announced today the launch of a new “collaboration for progress” designed to leverage the strengths of both organizations for the benefit of all. The partnership seeks-out opportunities to work together where missions align, and to identify potential shared services that improve organizational efficiencies, reduce costs, or which enhance the quality of life in the community.
A Renewed Partnership…
Interim Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Farrell and School Board President Dr. Felicia Watson met this week with Mayor Rob Rolison, City Administrator Marc Nelson and Corporation Counsel Paul Ackermann, to discuss key areas that could most clearly benefit from a renewed partnership between the City and its School District.
The new partnership will focus on the primary issues of safety, infrastructure, and community engagement.
Mayor Rolison said “At City Hall we know the importance of seizing opportunities that come with transition. Greater alignment between the school district and city government will take our community further in the right direction, while at the same time assuring improved outcomes for our students. We look forward to working with Dr. Farrell in her new role, and we know that our newly constituted School Board, led by Dr. Watson, is committed to this also.”
Dr. Watson said, “The future of any community is built on the strength of its children. Quality education is its cornerstone. The positive change over the past two years in the City of Poughkeepsie and within our School District have set the stage for increased collaboration that will bring together our students, teachers, administrators, parents, community organizations and our local government.”
Dr. Farrell said, “The collaboration of our public school, our community partners, city government, as well as our faith-based partners, is essential as we strive to meet the needs of our youth and their families. The relationships that develop via collaboration provide a wide net of support and assure that our students succeed. There are many areas where the city and district can work together in a cost effective manner — saving our taxpayers dollars, working efficiently, and making improvements for all citizens to enjoy. “
City of Poughkeepsie Mourns the Passing of Pasquale “Pat” Letterii
Mayor Rolison Orders Flags to be Flown at Half-Staff
Pasquale “Pat” Letterii was a lifelong resident of Poughkeepsie who passed away at home at the age of 92 with his loving family at his side. He was happily married to Jean Ring for 58 years and was employed by IBM for 39 years before retiring in 1991. Pat was an active member of the Democratic Party and represented the 6th Ward in the Common Council from 1968-1973 and from 1976-1993. “Pat was a true warrior who always put the best interests of our City above petty partisan politics”, said City of Poughkeepsie Judge Tom O’Neill. “His years on the Common Council provided thoughtful, compassionate and intelligent leadership at a time when it was desperately needed. It was a distinct honor and pleasure to have known him and to have served alongside him. My sincere condolences to his entire family”, said Judge O’Neill.
Pat served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and the Korean War. He retained a lifelong love of the Navy and kept in contact with many of his Navy comrades. He was an avid golfer and enjoyed gardening, traveling, his grandchildren and his Italian Center friends in his retirement years. “The members of the Italian Center join with the community in mourning the passing of Pat, who was a lifelong member. He and his family were regular attendees and supporters at our events and meetings. We offer his family our sincere thanks for his proud service to our Country as well as being the voice of the community in both the City and the Italian Center”, said Ernie Bruno, President of the Italian Center in Poughkeepsie.
Mayor Rolison ordered the City of Poughkeepsie flags flown at half-staff in Pasquale “Pat” Letterii’s honor.
Mayor Rob Rolison has declared by Proclamation July 28, 2018 as “Dr. Perinnella “Penny” Francis Barnhill Lewis Day”.
Mayor Rolison said, “On this day, the occasion of Dr. Lewis’ 90th birthday, we collectively celebrate and honor her lifelong service and commitment to our community.”
Dr. Lewis retired from the State of New York after thirty-seven and a half years at the Hudson River Psychiatric Center. Other employment positions include the City of Poughkeepsie School District, The Taconic Development Center, Dutchess County Department of Mental Health, Maranatha Services Clinical Department, The Hudson New York School for Girls and the UARC Day Treatment Program. Penny was also an elected official as a long term member of the City of Poughkeepsie Common council. Her professional associations include the Neighborhood Service Organization, Dutchess County Cooperative Extension, National Association of Black Social Workers, Dutchess Community College Board of Trustees, Catharine Street Board of Directors, and Empire State College Board of Governors Teachers Federation. In 2013, Dr. Lewis received the Christ Theological Seminary Life Achievement Award and was created a plenary Academician of the Eastern Theological Consortium, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In 2017 she received the conferral of the degree of Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa.
“Mrs. Penny Lewis is a treasure to this community. Her exemplary life achievements have left an indelible impact on all of us. Please join me in extending a very happy birthday and best wishes for continued success in all future endeavors”, said Rolison.
To: Common Council Chairwoman Finney
From: Mayor Rolison
Date: July 19, 2018
Re: Combined Sewer Overflow (“CSO”)
CC: Common Council; City Administrator; City Engineer
Recently the media has been reporting on incidents of CSO discharge into the Hudson River. I wanted to provide you with some facts and historical background in case you get questions from your constituents. The discharge as reported by the media is nothing new. It is a common occurrence and fully permitted by any and all regulatory agencies including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. What has changed is the alerting process now required by DEC. Under the Sewage Pollution Right to Know, the City is required to report to the NY Alert System each time a discharge occurs within the city’s system. This reporting is part of an updated program that the NYDEC recently rolled out to the public.
The City of Poughkeepsie, like many older cities has a partially combined sewer collection system which means that in parts of the city, storm water runoff, domestic sewage and industrial wastewater are collected in the same pipe and transmitted to the wastewater treatment plant. There is also a Combined Sewer Overflow (“CSO”) outfall which permits a controlled discharge of excess capacity. These CSO outfalls are completely permissible and permitted by New York State DEC. In fact, there are over 800 CSO outfalls in New York State. The need for the outfalls generally occurs during weather events when the combined sewer system becomes inundated with storm water runoff and the city’s Water Pollution Control Plant cannot handle the excess capacity. The excess capacity will flow through the outfall and be discharged into the Hudson River. The discharge is diluted to safe levels upon entering the Hudson River. This process has occurred since the creation of the combined sewer system except for the fact that the discharge is now controlled and permitted by DEC.
In 2008, the City developed a long term plan to separate the combined sewer system in those areas of the city where they still exist. This plan was approved by New York State DEC and calls for a phased approach to control CSO. The plan identifies specific improvements to be made to the system through the year 2028. Over the years, the city has expended millions of dollars to address the combined sewer and is currently developing design plans for construction of approximately $10 million in improvements. Once completed these improvements will reduce the overflow events, but will not completely eliminate them. Current estimates of a complete separation of the combined sewer system are approximately $50 million. This year, the city has allocated approximately $2.7 million toward combined sewer improvements.
It is important to note that these events have no impact on the quality of the drinking water produced by the Joint Water Plant. These events are not new and the water plant effectively treats river water through a complex filtration process eliminating any health hazards associated with drinking river water. I have spoken with Water Plant Administrator Randy Alstadt and he has indicated the same.
In closing, I ask that you share this important information with your constituents. It is important that we alleviate any concerns that are caused by the new alerting system and also that we promote the positive message that the City is actively working to resolve a 100 year old infrastructure issue with a $50 million price tag.