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:
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?
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