Archive for the "Press Release" Category

City of Poughkeepsie Ramps Up Restaurant And Retail Outdoor Program in Response to COVID-19

As the weather warms up, City of Poughkeepsie officials are reminding businesses and the public of the Restaurant and Retail Outdoor Program that allows an expansion of seating and displays in response to social distancing requirements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative, which involves no fees for applicants, is designed to assist business owners of restaurants and retail stores in compensating for social distancing restrictions that may limit the number of people in their establishment at one time.

Businesses participating last year received a temporary permit, which is still valid for the duration of the program unless they are proposing changes to how they use the outdoor space.

“We want to make this as easy as possible for businesses,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. “We know our businesses have struggled through this crisis. Our expansion program was highly successful last year, and we expect it will remain popular with both businesses and the public.”

The City’s Planning Department created a Restaurant & Retail Outdoor Expansion Guidebook to assist restaurant and retail establishments in navigating all necessary regulations and requirements. The guidebook is also available in Spanish.

Exterior seating may be accompanied by awnings, umbrellas, planters or other temporary furnishings or structures that help create and maintain an attractive appearance. Outdoor cooking is prohibited, and outdoor seating must be closed to the public after 10 p.m.  Proposed seating arrangements, lighting and materials must comply with the city’s guidebook.

This year, the city has updated the guidebook to reflect changes in state regulations regarding live music and indoor capacity restrictions.

“We will continue to adapt to this fluid situation,” said Planning Director Natalie Quinn. “We appreciate the cooperation from businesses and hope to see even more outdoor dining this spring and summer in the city.”

More information about the city’s reopening efforts can be found at cityofpoughkeepsie.com/pkgoforward

City of Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County Propose Land Deal for Youth Center, Set Date for Presentation

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced today an agreement in principle between the County and City to have the County take ownership of the former YMCA site at 35 Montgomery Street in Poughkeepsie and invest $25 million to build a new, state-of-the-art Youth Opportunity Center at the site.

The Mayor and County Executive are seeking approval from the Common Council to transfer ownership of the property for $10 to Dutchess County, which would allow the County to put forth $25 million for the demolition of the existing decaying structure, and design and construction of the new center. Mayor Rolison and Council Chair Sarah Salem have called a special meeting for March 3 at 6 p.m., when a coalition of stakeholders will give a special presentation about the proposed agreement to the Common Council.

The registration link is https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_7Bph4quPSraVxHRU9BSEaQ

The City Administration has determined the city does not have the financial capacity to complete this project on its own. As such, collaborating with Dutchess County Government and a coalition of community stakeholders will make the center a reality, achieving the goal and broadening its reach.

Under local finance law, the County must have an ownership of the property to finance the $25 million development project through municipal bonding. If the Common Council approves ownership by Dutchess County, the transfer of the property and bonding would then go to the Dutchess County Legislature for final approval.

The first phase of the project would transform the property into community green space while design plans proceed for the youth center and other community benefit services on the more than 3-acre property.

“We have devised the best way to begin this immensely important project – creating an inspiring center to serve the needs of all our youth,” County Executive Molinaro said. “The site is the ideal location, and the project fits perfectly into the County’s Path to Promise initiative, designed to ensure that all young people in Dutchess County — from birth through employment — have the assistance they need to achieve their full potential as they grow into young adults. Working together with the City of Poughkeepsie, the County Legislature and community stakeholders, we can make this a model.” 

The City has conducted a preliminary environmental and structural review of the property, concluding that the former YMCA building must be demolished — a conclusion supported by the city’s Building Inspector, who has deemed the structure unsafe. Under the proposed agreement, the City would contribute 25 percent of the demolition costs.

The City took ownership of the YMCA property in February 2019 as part of its anti-blight initiative with the goal of using the property to yield significant community benefit. The City then issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) to the public and interested parties, seeking proposals to develop a youth and community center on the site and held two public meetings to garner more public feedback. The 35 Montgomery Community Coalition emerged as the successful respondent to the RFEI process after presenting its plans to the public at another public meeting in October 2019.

“Since the YMCA closed more than a decade ago, the community has urged for the creation of a youth center,” said Mayor Rolison. “The partnership between the City of Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County governments makes this project possible and will develop the former Dutchess YMCA site as a safe, structured space that will benefit our area youth and provide much-needed educational and healthcare services, childcare and recreation opportunities. I also wanted to thank Council Chair Salem for working with me to put this matter before the Common Council and the public at large at a special meeting.”

The Coalition — which includes Dutchess County, as well as education and healthcare leaders — seeks to create a multi-use facility that would provide services connected to their respective missions in the community. The Coalition includes the YMCA of Kingston and Ulster County, which is working to re-establish the Dutchess YMCA as a hub for educational and recreational resources for all Dutchess County residents. The YMCA facilities would include an indoor pool, gymnasium and fitness center, and wellness services.

 “We are thrilled to be collaborating with such a dynamic group of organizations to bring the YMCA back to Dutchess County,” said Heidi Kirschner, president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of Kingston and Ulster County. “From summer camps to swim lessons, we are excited to work with the community and partner with local youth service providers to design a Y that will give Dutchess County’s kids the best possible start in life.”

DAY ONE — a City of Poughkeepsie-based nonprofit co-founded by Geraldine Laybourne, former president of Nickelodeon — intends to operate the first-of-its kind 24-Hour Child Development Center. The Center also would house DAY ONE’s apprentice teacher training program that will train 200 early childhood teachers over the five years, providing hands-on and intensive coursework to individuals new to the early childhood education field and those working in local daycares.

“We are energized by the actions the City and the County have taken to put kids first in the rebirth of the former YMCA site at Eastman Park,” Laybourne said. “Nothing does more for kids than investing in high-quality early education. Along with training and placing early childhood teachers and ensuring children have affordable early childhood education, DAY ONE will empower parents to enter or re-enter the workforce and will encourage young families to stay in or re-locate to Dutchess County.”

City of Poughkeepsie grassroots nonprofit Community Matters 2 also has been an active member of the coalition, leveraging its community revitalization work and development of youth programs in the City to ensure key voices are being heard from the earliest stages of the project.

“Community Matters 2 has been working for years to advocate for the rebuilding of a community center in Poughkeepsie,” said L’Quette Taylor, founder and chief executive officer of Community Matters 2. “We joined the 35 Montgomery Community Coalition to be sure that the voices of parents, grandparents, youth and all of our neighbors were represented in conversations about the project. The progress to date is really encouraging, and we’re excited to work with the City and County teams to build what we think can be a national model for what’s possible when a community unites on behalf of its children.”

The City, County and the 35 Montgomery Coalition will work to secure funding sources in addition to the County’s $25 million commitment. A stakeholders’ advisory board, which will include the 35 Montgomery Coalition and the City, will be created to have input on the design of the youth activity center and its future operations.

The agreement is subject to a number of conditions, such as giving the County three months to perform an environmental assessment and six months from the closing of the title to obtain financing for the development of the center.

“We are confident this is the most effective way to move forward,” County Executive Molinaro said. “I appreciate the efforts of both the County and City staffs to get us to this point. We welcome the input of the Common Council, the Dutchess County Legislature and the public. We believe there is widespread community support to move at a brisk but responsible pace to bring this project to fruition, and with the backing of the community, that is our intention.”

Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet Nets $30,000, Dollar-for-Dollar Challenge Grant from Rhinebeck Bank

Poughkeepsie City School District Superintendent Dr. Eric Rosser and City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison today announced a $30,000 challenge grant by Rhinebeck Bank to support the Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet.

Launched by the mayor and school superintendent last year, the Cabinet is a coordinating body that brings together decision makers, leaders and community representatives to improve the lives of children, young people and families in the City of Poughkeepsie.

The challenge grant was proposed by Rhinebeck Bank President and CEO Michael Quinn and approved unanimously and with enthusiasm by the bank’s board of directors.

The $30,000, dollar-for-dollar grant represents half of the $60,000 being sought to fund Cabinet staff and community engagement programming for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.

Businesses and individuals are encouraged to participate in the fundraising campaign, with Rhinebeck Bank matching by Feb. 1 every dollar donated by others up to the $30,000 maximum.

The grant is being made in memory of Thomas Wade, a former Rhinebeck Bank director, who died Nov. 4, 2020, at age 83.

Wade, a Hyde Park resident, had a long and distinguished career in education and community service.

“We are not surprised by Rhinebeck Bank’s generosity,” said Mayor Rolison. “Under Michael Quinn’s leadership, the bank has taken a keen interest in helping the City of Poughkeepsie and the school district make progress, and we believe the work of the Children’s Cabinet is greatly aiding those efforts.”

Dr. Rosser said, “This grant will help maintain momentum of the Children’s Cabinet as we continue to make progress with transforming the Poughkeepsie City School District. The aligned efforts of the Children’s Cabinet and PCSD provides greater opportunity for transformation efforts to have tremendous collective impact on children and families throughout the City of Poughkeepsie.”

“Rhinebeck Bank believes in the City of Poughkeepsie and the Poughkeepsie City School District. The Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet is an innovative experiment in community engagement and seeks to help children and families from cradle to career,” Quinn said. “A community succeeds when its schools succeed, and Rhinebeck Bank encourages everyone to invest in our schools and students. This grant is also an opportunity to memorialize Thomas Wade, whose life centered on education, philanthropy and community service.”

Wade began his career teaching and coaching at St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset. In 1963, he accepted his first position at Marist College as head basketball coach and assistant director of admissions. He remained at Marist College for the next two decades, serving as dean of students and director of development, then starting his own management consulting and fundraising firm.

In addition to his service on the Bank’s board, Wade was chairman of the board for Mid-Hudson Pattern for Progress, chairman of the board for Dutchess County United Way and a board member for both United Way of New York State and Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation.

The Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet recently shared a “Year in Review” report charting its progress to date. This includes selecting an executive committee, facilitating partnerships to create Wi-Fi hotspots to help students in need of internet access during the COVID-19 crisis and preparing to implement an individualized student support system pilot in Poughkeepsie Middle School early this year in partnership with the School District.

The Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet is being aided in its work by an expert team from Harvard University and last year became only the tenth community in the country invited to join the By All Means initiative run by the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Education Redesign Lab. Through this partnership, Poughkeepsie is receiving intensive support from Harvard, including assistance to local consultants and staff, connecting Poughkeepsie leaders with national experts and social impact organizations, promoting exchanges with other By All Means cities and contributing to the documentation and evaluation of Poughkeepsie’s efforts through case studies and reports.

Contributions can be made to the “City of Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet Technical Assistance Fund” at the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley. Cristin McPeake (Vice President, Programs) can be contacted by email at [email protected] or at 845-452-3077 to coordinate details.

To learn more about the Children’s Cabinet, visit www.pkchildrenscabinet.com

Mayor Lifts Snow Emergency But Urges Cooperation As Crews Continue With Snow Removal

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison has lifted a snow emergency that was put into place on Wednesday afternoon.

Residents are still urged to find alternative off-street parking or to park their vehicles in public parking lots as the city continues snow removal following a significant snowstorm. The city parking lots will remain open for free on Friday.

“Our crews did a great job dealing with a major snowstorm, but they need the cooperation of the public to help keep the roads clear and safe,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. “We still have significant work to do.”

Sanitation services also are being restored after being suspended during the snow emergency.

City Hall will be open Friday as well, but, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the public is strongly encouraged to make payment for all city services via the city website: www.cityofpoughkeepsie.com/finance/payments or by mail to: 62 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. 12601, or by using the drop box near the front door of the Police Station on Mansion Street. Appointments for city business also may be made online at: www.cityofpoughkeepsie.com/appointment

The mayor also reminded residents to keep fire hydrants in front of their homes clear and accessible in case of emergency. Clearing the snow around the hydrant and shoveling a path to it from the street will give the Fire Department the vital access it needs in emergencies. City officials point out that under the city codes, there is a responsibility of the owner/lessee of property fronting a hydrant to maintain the area clear around the hydrant. Failure to clear and keep clear a hydrant may result in a $100 fine or more.

City of Poughkeepsie Prepares for Possible Significant Snowstorm

As the mid-Hudson Valley prepares for what could be a significant snowfall, City of Poughkeepsie officials are reminding residents of steps they can take to help the city keep the streets safe and clear. Vehicles should be removed from streets and, in the event Mayor Rob Rolison declares a snow emergency, vehicles will be required to be removed from streets that are designated as a snow emergency route.

Residents are encouraged to find alternative off-street parking or to park their vehicles in public parking lots. All City-owned parking lots will be open for free public parking Wednesday, December 15 and Thursday, December 16

a picture of DPW staff and snow fighting equipment
City of Poughkeepsie Department of Public Works employees prepare Tuesday for a potential significant snowstorm later this week. The city uses 32 pieces of equipment during snow events, 21 of which are snowplow/salters.

Fire hydrants also must remain clear and accessible in case of emergency. Clearing the snow around the hydrant and shoveling a path to it from the street will give the Fire Department the vital access it needs in emergencies. City officials remind residents that under the city codes, there is a responsibility of the owner/lessee of property fronting a hydrant to maintain the area clear around the hydrant. Failure to clear and keep clear a hydrant may result in a $100 fine or more.

City officials are also reminding residents to ensure garbage cans are not left on the roads after pickup, as that is a hindrance to the crews working hard to keep the roads clear.

“Our Department of Public Works crews and emergency personnel are ready for this snowstorm, but they do need the cooperation of citizens,” said Mayor Rolison.

“The projections vary about the possible accumulation,” the mayor added. “We urge the public to stay informed and look for updates on our social media and website and through local news reports.”

Residents are advised to only call 911 in the case of an emergency, and to call 845-451-4000 for all non-emergency phone calls. 

Here is a list of the city’s Designated Snow Emergency Routes:

•           Mill Street from Civic Center Plaza to Dongan Square Park

•           Academy Street from Main Street to North-South Arterial Highway

•           Beechwood Avenue from Ferris Lane to City line

•           South Cherry Street from Main Street to Hooker Avenue

•           Civic Center Plaza from Mansion Street to Main Street

•           North Clinton Street from Mansion Street to Route 44/55, westbound

•           Columbia Street from North-South Arterial Highway to Lincoln Avenue

•           North Clover Street from Mill Street to Main Street

•           South Clover Street from Main Street to Union Street

•           Ferris Lane from Hooker Avenue to Beechwood Avenue

•           Grand Avenue from City line at Main Street to Hooker Avenue

•           North Hamilton Street from Parker Avenue to Main Street

•           South Hamilton Street from Main Street to Livingston Street

•           Hooker Avenue from South Hamilton Street to City line

•           Jefferson Street, Route 44/55 to Lincoln Avenue

•           Lincoln Avenue from Montgomery Street to Livingston Street

•           Main Street from Hudson River to City line at Grand Avenue

•           Mansion Street from Smith Street to North Clinton Street

•           Market Street from Main Street to Montgomery Street

•           Montgomery Street from Lincoln Avenue to South Hamilton Street

•           Parker Avenue from Washington Street to City line

•           Reade Place from South Avenue to Young Street

•           Smith Street from City line to Clinton Square

•           South Avenue from Montgomery Street to North-South Arterial Highway

•           Washington Street from City line to Main Street

•           Wilbur Boulevard from Hooker Avenue to City line

City of Poughkeepsie Closing Public Access to City Hall Following More Positive COVID-19 Cases

Following several more positive COVID-19 tests among city employees, City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced today City Hall will be closed to the public as of Tuesday until further notice. Two employees who work out of City Hall tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. Last week, the mayor announced that seven city Department of Public Works employees had tested positive, forcing the closure transfer station at the DPW facilities on Howard Street. Another DPW employee as well as a city firefighter also have now tested positive.

 “It’s imperative we do what we can to protect the health of our employees and the public,” said Mayor Rolison.

Essential workers — including public safety and the sanitation department — will be continuing their shifts. If you have an emergency situation, please call 911. Otherwise, the Police Department’s non-emergency number is 845-451-4000.

Between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, you will be able to contact via phone the following departments: Assessor, 845-451-4039; Building, Planning and Community Development, 845-451-4007; Office of the Mayor, 845-451-4073; City Chamberlain, 845-451-4276; Corporation Counsel, 845-451-4065; Finance Department and Tax Collector, 845-451-4030; and Public Works, 845-451-4111.

The public can make payments for all city services by mail at 62 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601, or online at cityofpoughkeepsie.com/finance, or by using the drop box located in front of the entrance to the police department on the north side of City Hall.

“Once again, we ask the public to be patient during this time due to the current staff shortages. We have been through the closure of City Hall before during this pandemic and have been able to successfully continue to provide services to the public. I greatly appreciate the work of our staff and thank the public in advance for its cooperation.”

Under the New York State Unified Court System, Poughkeepsie Court is continuing operation.

The City of Poughkeepsie has developed a Coronavirus Updates & Resource Guide to provide you with the latest information pertaining to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and to serve as a resource guide, https://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/coronavirus.

The Dutchess County website also provides information and updates at: https://www.dutchessny.gov/Departments/DBCH/2019-Novel-Coronavirus.htm.

City of Poughkeepsie Will Cancel Annual Tax Lien Sale

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced today that the City will defer its annual sale of real estate tax liens, affording real property taxpayers who are behind more time to make payment to the City before a lien is placed on the property.

Mayor Rolison said: “A once-in-a-century pandemic continues to cause immense hardship in our community and our nation. If there is one thing we learned from the housing crisis and resulting recession of more than a decade ago, it is that the preservation of homeownership must become a priority earlier in the economic downtown. We also know that a single vacant and abandoned home can pull down property values in an entire neighborhood and will quickly become a magnet for other challenges as well. In my recent budget message, I said that we will not go backward in the face of this crisis, that doesn’t just mean some of us, it means all of us.”

City Administrator Marc Nelson said: “One of my favorite stories is ‘The Little Engine That Could’. For such a small city, Poughkeepsie often is at the forefront of change. From transit consolidation to police reform, we see more municipalities looking at how Poughkeepsie is doing things. Skipping the tax lien sale this year will not only help those in need of additional time to pay, but it will also afford the city an opportunity to analyze its historical reliance on lien sales as an annual revenue stream.”

Taxpayers who have been notified of a pending tax lien sale, applicable to their 2020 property taxes, may disregard that notice and are encouraged to contact the Tax Office at 845-451-4029 to make payment arrangements.

City of Poughkeepsie Releases Requests for Development Proposals for Two-City Owned Properties

The city is seeking qualified parties interested in purchasing and developing city-owned properties at 204 Church St. and 61 Academy St.

204 Church St. is a vacant, three-story 2,765-square-foot building once used as a residence and office. 61 Academy St, is a vacant 7,405-square-foot lot.

These parcels are highly visible and accessible, located on (or just off of) the city’s busy eastbound arterial (Church Street), which sees an average of 25,000 vehicles daily. The parcels are also located on the periphery of the city’s downtown, two blocks south of Main Street and within walking distance of shops, restaurants and offices.

“The Church Street property is a unique piece of Poughkeepsie’s history and is located within steps of some of the city’s most exciting planned development,” said City Administrator Marc Nelson. “Built by well-known local architect, Arnout Cannon Jr., the building is part of ‘Church Street Row,’ a group of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also designated a local historic landmark. We welcome innovative and exciting proposals that will combine historic preservation with a creative design and utility we can all be proud of.”

The city’s goals for the sites include maximizing both sites’ development potential, contributing to the vibrancy of the city’s Downtown District. Mixed-use development is preferred where possible.

Proposals are due in the City Chamberlain’s office at City Hall, First Floor, 62 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie NY, 12601, no later than 3 p.m. on Oct. 9. For more details and specifics about how to submit an application, click here.

Dutchess County City of Poughkeepsie Land Bank Approved by Empire State Development

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison have announced the Empire State Development Corporation has approved the creation of a land bank by Dutchess County and the City of Poughkeepsie to return vacant, abandoned, and tax-delinquent properties in the community to productive use.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Too often properties that are abandoned and not maintained become a safety risk and discourage local businesses or families from moving into a neighborhood. These properties could, and should, be put to better use, and this land bank will be an important tool for transforming some of the blighted properties within the City of Poughkeepsie. We are grateful to the Empire State Development Corporation for their support of this opportunity and look forward to working collaboratively to redevelop these properties to better serve the community as a whole.”

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison said, “The city has made great progress with its Anti-Blight Task Force, which was established in 2018 and has reduced the number of vacant properties from approximately 600 to under 270. The land bank should prove another valuable asset in these critically important efforts. We look forward to working with the county to reduce blight and foster positive redevelopment in our city.”

Under the New York State Land Bank Program, local municipalities can apply to create land bank not-for-profit corporations in their communities to acquire properties that are tax delinquent or foreclosed, vacant and/or abandoned, and help eliminate the harms and liabilities caused by such properties.

County and City officials, including representatives of the County Legislature and Common Council, as well as staff from the City and the County departments of Finance, Law, and Planning and Development, have been working for more than a year to develop the process to form a Dutchess County and City of Poughkeepsie Land Bank.

“After having worked with my colleagues in the common council for more than two years to bring a land bank to Poughkeepsie, I am overjoyed at the news today of the state’s approval,” said Council Member Sarah Brannen, a co-sponsor of the original resolution. “I’m grateful for everyone in the city, county, and among the local community who helped us reach this important milestone. I look forward to us taking the next step toward encouraging redevelopment and bringing vitality to our neighborhoods.”

Poughkeepsie City Council Chair, Sarah Salem, said, “Hard work and collaboration really does pay off. The Dutchess Poughkeepsie Land Bank will help to ensure that, as the City of Poughkeepsie recovers and grows, our community members will have access to affordable housing and be able to achieve homeownership, thereby building community wealth. County/City Land Bank models are relatively new, but they have been very successful across the state. I’m proud to see our application approved by New York State and proud of the work myself and my colleagues put into its development over the last year and a half.”

The land bank will have nine board members – two each appointed by the County Executive, County Legislature, Mayor and the Common Council – and one being a joint County and City appointee. The land bank board will hold an organizational meeting to discuss the adoption of by-laws, filing incorporation papers with the State, and staffing within the next two months. The County and City will then work collaboratively to identify properties to be transferred to the land bank.

For more information, contact the Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development at (845) 486-3600.

City of Poughkeepsie Bolsters Staff in Anticipation of Storm Response

The City of Poughkeepsie has been readying its response as Tropical Storm Isaias made landfall in anticipation of heavy rains and wind gusts in our area.

The city will have additional resources available to provide assistance today and tonight. Additional personnel have been assigned to the 911 Center in anticipation of a higher volume of calls.

The City’s Department of Public Works also will make additional personnel available, specifically tree crews and heavy-equipment operators. The DPW office will be staffed until at least 11 p.m. today to take storm-related calls at 845-451-4111. Non-emergency calls to the 911 center should go to 845-451-4000.

“I want to thank our city workers in advance for doing what is necessary during this storm,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. “I also encourage all residents to use caution and to stay inside and not travel if at all possible as this storm moves through our area.”