October 14th Public Input Session on Center City Revitalization Strategy

This past week on October 14th, Hudson River Housing Staff and Americorps VISTAS helped to facilitate the second Public Outreach Session of the Main Street Economic Development Strategy. Held at the Family Partnership Center in Poughkeepsie, NY, the session was facilitated by Kevin Dwarka, Land Use Lawyer & Economic Consultant and Tiffany Zezula, Deputy Director at the Pace University Land Use Law Center. The event was largely attended, having over 50 participants.

 

The focus of this public outreach session, as with the previous session that was held one year earlier, was to gather public input for the plan. Following an introduction by Dwarka and Zezula, participants broke off into one of five working groups. Facilitators then rotated group to group every fifteen minutes in order to give all participants an equal voice in each section of the plan.

 

According to the City of Poughkeepsie, The plan has many proposed improvements:


“The purpose of this strategy is to reactivate the entire length of the Main Street corridor and reassert Poughkeepsie as the economic and cultural center of the Hudson Valley. It will capitalize on all of Poughkeepsie’s assets while redressing enduring concerns about building vacancy, crime, public safety, open space, and the underutilization of land.”

 

The Five Facilitators discussed the following:

 

Action 1: Reintroduce Frequent Transit Service Along Main Street

 Action 2: Convert Market Street into a Complete Street

 Action 3: Convert the Arterials to Boulevards

 Action 4: Restore Main Street as the Region’s Primary Commercial Corridor

 

Action 5: Convert Vacant Lots to Transit Oriented Development  

My task was to facilitate Action 4. Overall, discussion topics varied from group to group. Key points are highlighted below: 

 

  1. Safety concerns along Main Street, including crime, lack of community policing and the need for well-lit streets
  2. Parking meter prices and parking meter readability, which are creating extreme difficulty for residents and business owners living in Middle Main 
  3. Using resources we have on Main Street, which don’t require expensive projects or new construction
  4. Creating temporary & popup events including Food Trucks, Public Art and Public Events
  5. Establishing anchor businesses along Main Street, which will serve as premier destinations for residents and visitors. These businesses in turn would attract new commercial development along the Main Street Corridor
  6. Making Main Street unique in the sense that it provides goods, services and experiences, which are unique to Poughkeepsie and the Mid-Hudson region
  7. Making use of Public-Private Partnerships in order to fund ongoing development 
  8. Using Art as a community and Economic Development initiative, much like the Paducah, KY example mentioned in the September 30th post by Emma Flynn

 

Like the Waterfront Redevelopment Strategy, it will require more input from the City of Poughkeepsie Common Council Members and other stakeholders before being accepted. The key points mentioned above were only a small part of the wider array of public comments that came out of the information session. For the interim, Kevin Dwarka and Tiffany Zezula will be reviewing comments and then adding recommendations into the plan.

 

What do you think of the Main Street Economic Development Strategy?

 

Does it provide the best strategies for commercial redevelopment along Main Street or can it be improved?

 

Please share, comment and repost.

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