Archive for the "Press Release" Category

Statement by City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rolison on Peaceful Protests in the City

During this week, the City of Poughkeepsie has witnessed several protests relating to the senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. I want to convey how proud I am of the community for coming together in peaceful demonstrations to express their frustrations and to push unrelentingly for racial equality. I also want to thank the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department for their professionalism in handling these demonstrations and to our law enforcement partners from the state and Dutchess and Ulster counties that provided us with support.

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison at Tuesday’s “We Can’t Breathe” protest.

 Across this country, we have watched protests that have taken counter-productive, dangerous turns. The events in the City of Poughkeepsie — which have included a candlelight vigil and marches — have shown the country how people can gather to express themselves passionately, to demand justice, and to ensure their voices are heard. And they can do all that without violence and without causing damage to the community at large. I will be forever thankful for those, including the organizers of these events and community leaders, for insisting on a nonviolent approach. The city is committed to doing its part as the country tries to heal and find a way forward. We are committed to keeping the lines of dialogue open and to providing a safe environment for people to continue to voice their views and to work for the betterment of our city.”

Statement from City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison on the Death of George Floyd

I am outraged and sickened by the death of George Floyd, an African-American man, who was left begging for his life while being held to the ground by police kneeling on his neck in Minneapolis.

As a retired police officer and as the father of a police officer, I am appalled by the actions and believe justice must be served. Our police officers take an oath to uphold the law, and these gross violations break the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the public – bonds that are essential to all communities. Here in the City of Poughkeepsie, our police officers are committed to strengthening community relationships and endeavor in those efforts every day.

Throughout the country, we are witnessing protests, and I stand with those who tirelessly work for racial equality. In Poughkeepsie, we have shown time and time again we can all work together for the greater good.

These are trying times, but I have so much faith in our community. We will work for and insist on justice, and everyone’s voice will be heard and respected.

Mayor Rolison to be Featured Speaker at Chamber’s ‘Virtual Contact Breakfast’

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison will provide updates to the business community and take questions during the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s hour-long “Virtual Contact Breakfast” at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, May 20.

The Mayor and his team have been responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19), ensuring that first responders and other essential employees are able to complete their tasks while realigning the work of other employees in a changing environment.

The Mayor recognizes the coronavirus is bringing financial challenges to the City and is working with department heads to make adjustments to the City budget.

“We have done everything we can to stay ahead of the crisis, and I thank our employees and the city as a whole for working together during this difficult time,” he said.

The City Administration has worked closely with Dutchess County and state officials to react and respond to the crisis – and to ensure the public is receiving a cohesive message about what steps the various levels of government are taking to address the crisis and to begin reopening. The City has created a comprehensive online guide, which also is published weekly in the city’s “The Buzz” newsletter, that provides updates and offers key web links to a range of important information, from health and safety to food and other types of assistance. The website is

The Mayor also acknowledged the hardship the pandemic has caused to the business community and local nonprofit organizations. He encourages business and nonprofits to stay informed through The Dutchess Business Notification Network (DBNN), which includes the local Chamber of Commerce and is providing updates and highlighting the assistance available through state and federal agencies. The DBNN’s website is

“The Chamber has been providing webinars and other resources to the business community since the pandemic began, and we pride ourselves on offering our members and guests the opportunity to connect with our elected officials,” said Frank Castella Jr., president and CEO of Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce. “This event with Mayor Rob Rolison will give us important updates from the City of Poughkeepsie as we continued to prepare to reopen the business community.”

Mayor Rolison said he looks forward to seeing the City and Dutchess County reopen, and the City has continued to work on a number of key initiatives, including updating its Comprehensive Plan, something that hasn’t been undertaken in more than two decades.

He also has collaborated with Poughkeepsie City School District Superintendent Dr. Eric Rosser to form a “Children’s Cabinet” aimed at creating a shared vision and cradle-to-career agenda for child and youth development in the city. During the Virtual Contact Breakfast, Mayor Rolison is expected to explain why he believes this initiative is so important to the whole community, including business leaders.

Members of the business community are invited to this complimentary event on Zoom – you do not need to be a member of the Chamber to participate. Registration is required and can be done through the Chamber’s website at It will also be streamed live on the Chamber’s and City’s Facebook pages.

City of Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County Teaming Up To Provide Transportation to COVID-19 Testing Site

The City of Poughkeepsie, in partnership with Dutchess County and Midhudson Regional Hospital, is launching an initiative to provide transit service to and from a COVID-19 testing site for city residents who want a test but who lack transportation to get there.

MidHudson Regional Hospital has been operating a drive-through COVID-19 sample collection site just outside the city’s borders in the Town of Poughkeepsie. The City and County are teaming up to address a gap involving those in the city who don’t have transportation.
 “This will be a big step to address concerns that have been raised in the City of Poughkeeepsie, and we appreciate the efforts of both Dutchess County Executive Molinaro and MidHudson Regional Hospital to help solve the issue,” said City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison.

“This partnership responds to unique challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic in an urban community – where there is greater population density and many people who do not have their own transportation,” said Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro. “The County and City have a strong partnership, and that relationship has served us well through the COVID crisis. This transportation initiative addresses a paramount concern – ensuring people have the ability to get tested so we can stop the spread of COVID-19.”   

The County will pay for the bus service, which will bring people who lack transportation from their house to the testing site. The County will contract with Cedar Bus Co. which has the capacity to provide adequate social distancing and can sanitize the buses between trips.

The City will be responsible for taking the calls from residents and scheduling the testing appointment and booking the transportation. City residents who lack transportation but want to be tested should call 845-451-4073 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Mondays or Wednesdays to schedule an appointment. The testing will be available between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Mayor Rolison Pays Tribute to Theo ‘Tree’ Arrington Who Gave So Much to Our Youth

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Theo ‘Tree’ Arrington, who did such exemplary work for this community through the R.E.A.L. Skills Network and so many other endeavors. Tree was larger than life. His heart was as big as he was. You simply can’t replace people like Tree.

R.E.A.L. stands for “Relationship Empowerment Affirmation Leadership.” It was something Tree knew about himself. Tree started the program, recognizing the need for more youth development initiatives in the city. The R.E.A.L Skills Network served so many youth over the years, from those in elementary to high school. Tree understood that some youth need extra care to navigate through the various societal systems, to develop better skills and social values. Tree had a way of connecting with youth, and he led by example. He will be deeply missed.”  Mayor Rob Rolison, City of Poughkeepsie

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Appoints Lawrence As City Historian

City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced today that Tom Lawrence, Director of Poughkeepsie Public Library District, has been appointed City of Poughkeepsie Historian.

Lawrence will serve as a resource for the general public and will aid in the preservation of documents, maps, photographs and other materials relating to the city’s history.

“Tom Lawrence’s devotion to the community and his exceptional work with the Library District will serve him well as City Historian,” said Mayor Rolison.

Tom Lawrence – City of Poughkeepsie Historian

Lawrence, a native of Central New York, graduated from the College of St. Rose in Albany with a BA in Social Sciences, from the University of Oklahoma with a Masters in Library Science, and from Long Island University with a Certificate of Advanced Study on public library management.  He has held librarian positions in New York and Connecticut and has been at the Poughkeepsie Public Library District for the last 24 years.

“As City Historian, I want to work with members of the community to not only preserve the record of our past but to increase the awareness and understanding of the Queen City’s rich history as we explore the potential for its future,” he said.

Over the centuries, Poughkeepsie has transformed from a hamlet to a village to city. Poughkeepsie served as state capital following the burning of Kingston by the British in 1777. In 1788, members of the state convention in Poughkeepsie ratified the U.S. Constitution, with New York forging a new union with the original 13 colonies to become the United States of America. Among other significant landmarks, the city is the site of a Franklin D. Roosevelt-inspired Post Office; the Poughkeepsie Journal, the state’s oldest newspaper and the second oldest in the nation; and the Bardavon 1869 Opera House, the oldest continuously operating entertainment venue in the state,  “The city’s history is all around us, and it’s not just in the history books,” Mayor Rolison said. “But the documentation of the city’s history – and the preservation of that history – is critically important. Tom Lawrence has been one of the trusted caretakers of these records and artifacts. We are grateful he has accepted this appointment.”

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:

To see suggested solutions offered during the public meetings go to

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.”

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:

Parade to Honor Poughkeepsie Pioneers – April 26, 2019

On Friday, April 26 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.  The parade route will be from the Crannell lot to Catharine Street, down Main Street to City Hall at 62 Civic Center Plaza.   Mayor Rob Rolison will officiate a ceremony on the steps of City Hall in honor of the team. 

Rain date is confirmed for Friday, May 3, 2019.