POUGHKEEPSIE – At a late July news conference regarding childcare with US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and New York Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro announced that plans were being finalized for an agreement that will allow for a substantial investment in the City of Poughkeepsie at the site of the long-vacant YMCA facility on Montgomery Street.
“Dutchess County will put on the ground millions of dollars to work with organizations like Day One to finally build an early intervention center, state-of-the-art, here in the City of Poughkeepsie for future generations,” said Molinaro at the gathering attended by Democrats from the city council and county legislature.
Last Tuesday, two weeks after Molinaro’s announcement, Democrats from the legislature and common council issued a statement calling for “Dutchess County to invest in a youth and community center at Poughkeepsie’s Eastman Park, former site of the YMCA, which is currently owned by the City of Poughkeepsie and has been vacant for over a decade.” The statement seeks to have the county spend $20 million on a youth and community center in the City of Poughkeepsie.
City Council Chair Sarah Salem’s initiative supporting the defunding of police was referenced in the statement. “Now is the time to refund our community and prioritize social investments and that must include a swift redirecting of resources toward youth services thereby helping to grant our young people more equitable access to opportunity and advancement by offering them resources, jobs, and a broader range of educational experiences,” said Salem. “No more school to prison pipeline. Not for our City of Poughkeepsie youth. When our young people flourish, our entire community will progress. “
Molinaro said he was, “grateful for the support these elected officials have offered. As they know – because we have publicly advised them – Mayor Rolison and I are finalizing the legal agreement that would enable the county to make such an investment in a state-of-the-art youth services center at the former YMCA in Poughkeepsie. Now that we have the publicly stated support of City Council and the Democratic Caucus of the County Legislature, I’m confident this will proceed even more quickly than we expected.”
Mayor Rob Rolison hinted to the plan, delayed by the pandemic, at the last council meeting. On Tuesday Rolison said, “As I have publicly stated in recent weeks, the City Of Poughkeepsie administration has been working with Dutchess County to form a partnership agreement that will enable us to take down the blighted YMCA building and ultimately design and build a youth center. This is precisely why we took ownership of this dormant building and the property in 2019 – to ensure the site would be used for a public benefit.”