On Saturday July 20th the Middle Main Initiative of Hudson River Housing and a group of about twenty community members met for a third time to dine and discuss plans for the improvement of the Middle Main area. Introductions were made as to who and what the Middle Main Initiative is and what the organization intends to achieve. The facilitators focused on action, asking, “What can we make happen in Middle Main this summer?” Attendees joined together to brainstorm ideas about the former Underwear Factory after enjoying a meal catered by Nelly’s and beverages sponsored by Spicy Mexican Grill, both located on Main Street.
Once done with lunch, participants were asked to share their ideas. The ideas were posted on an idea board visible to everyone present at community meeting. Participants were asked to vote on which ideas they liked most. As it turns out, many people were on the same page. The most popular ideas fell under the three categories of Youth Programming, Clean-Up Efforts, and Security. Facilitators asked what in particular community members would like to see for the youth. Members expressed a need for after school programming, job/skill training, and affordable summer programming among other ideas. In regards to the clean-up efforts, members were willing to devote time and effort to conducting a river sweep or cleaning up a local park. Improving security was popular as well; residents explained that they are concerned with the amount of criminal activity that occurs in the community, expressing interest in developing neighborhood watch programs. Members were very respectful of one another’s ideas often supporting them.
There were many ideas that were developed including:
Upon completion of the community meeting, attendees were asked to comment on how productive they felt the meeting was - a few commented that they enjoyed hearing their neighbors’ ideas, and sharing a few of their own. The facilitators asked that everyone commit to a task they feel was needed in the neighborhood, stressing that the role of the community members is vital. The idea most people wanted to become involved with was the revitalization of the YMCA; however, this goal would be particularly challenging for Middle Main for two reasons. It’s not within the boundaries of Middle Main (that is, between the two arterials and Academy Street and Pershing Avenue) and it also is not a project that could be completed by the end of the summer. So, we decided we could look to provide some of the benefits the Y used to provide, but within the Middle Main area. Meeting attendees strongly supported youth programs including community sports, so our goal is to meet this demand by putting up soccer nets on the open space on the side of the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our idea exchange! We’re excited to follow up with attendees on the most popular of these ideas, and welcome all others who are interested to contact us about getting involved!