City Council & Urban Development: Proposed Waterfront Development & Center City Plans

In a recent meeting attended Monday night, City of Poughkeepsie Common Council discussed the planned Waterfront Development Strategy for the City of Poughkeepsie, expressing passionate voices both condemning and praising the plan. Presented by Kevin Dwarka, Land Use Lawyer and Economic Consultant, the plan calls for a phased development on the Poughkeepsie Waterfront that will create new public spaces surrounding the Poughkeepsie Metro Station, featuring new walking paths, bike paths and sustainable landscape improvements. The Plan is designed to improve existing conditions surrounding the Railroad Station, which is largely viewed as being underutilized. 

The plan has three overall goals:

1. To build a continuous greenway trail along the waterfront

2. To Knit together surrounding City Plans and Projects

3. And to Create a High Quality Waterfront Park and Regional Destination between Main Street, the Railroad Station and Walkway Elevator

Part one of the plan aims at creating a continuous greenway trail along the waterfront, which will could potentially link together the entire length of the Poughkeepsie Waterfront, stretching between the Walkway Over the Hudson to Kall Rock Park. The aim would be at creating a walking and biking path, which would be fully accessible to pedestrians and motorists seeking to enjoy the waterfront.

Part two of the plan would also connect to existing City Plans and Projects, providing a coordinated strategy that would benefit all citizens of Poughkeepsie. This part of the plan would connect to the Center City Revitalization Plan, which seeks to capitalize on the existing assets already available in the city’s urban core. Retaining a historic and Main Street, regional access to rail service to New York City and walkable urban spaces, the Waterfront Development Strategy would coordinate with all active community development efforts including the Middle Main Initiative and others in order to provide dedicated support to residents and businesses already living in the city.

The third and final part of the plan would create a beautiful new waterfront park that would connect to the end of Main Street, greeting city residents and visitors at the Railroad Station with a public plaza and public market space. Walking further, visitors would be lead to a grand staircase connecting to an event lawn, a bandstand, garden paths, a boat launch and many other features. The potential for new development would also be huge, creating 78,000 sq. ft. of retail space, 10,000 sq. ft. of office space, 207 apartments and more.

While creating a large degree of excitement and hope for urban development in the city, the plan will still have to be extensively reviewed and shaped by Poughkeepsie City Council members and the public before being fully implemented. But the importance of Waterfront Development in Poughkeepsie extends far beyond the shores of the city, as countless American cities are choosing to reinvest for their waterfronts through creating long-term plans, which have succeeded through public input and support from public-private partnerships. Poughkeepsie too could join with other major waterfront cities such as Cincinnati and Philadelphia, who have each in recent years greatly improved their waterfronts through a return to planning.  

In time, the ultimate decision for the city of Poughkeepsie will be when it wants to join other cities like Beacon, Hudson and Kingston, who have each in their own way become economically and culturally competitive through the use of Arts-based development and beautification projects such as the creation of Greenways. For the City of Poughkeepsie, already having major institutions like Arts-Mid Hudson, the Bardavon Theatre, Vassar College and Marist, Waterfront development, no doubt will become one peice of an ongoing puzzle, which will require time and effort from all parties involved. Nevertheless, the potential for urban development in Poughkeepsie is something, which continues to inspire the public imagination of citizens and visitors alike.

In coming weeks, there will be many opportunities for City of Poughkeepsie citizens to learn more about how this plan and the Center City Plan will create new opportunities in all eight Wards.

On October 14th, from 6-8PM, there will be a presentation and public input session held at Family Partnership Center, which will be facilitated by Urban Planners and staff from Hudson River Housing.

This meeting will allow citizens to join one of five discussion groups that will answer questions and provide opportunities for public engagement.

All citizens of Middle Main are encouraged to attend and have their voices heard. 

What do you think about the new proposed waterfront development and Center City Plan? 

Please share and comment. 

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