By Madison Langweil
POUGHKEEPSIE – There will be 18 new and vibrant faces out of the 18 parks that resign in the City of Poughkeepsie. The parks have undergone much wear and tear from the public, weather and overall civic use that now Robert Rolison, City of Poughkeepsie Mayor, happily announced will make the makeover of these parks a priority compared to in the past. Rolison announced this new project to the Common Council virtual meeting on Monday, April 19, and said to be investing over three million dollars into the project.
“[We have] seen an increase since Covid because of the need, the desire, and the good reason to be outside and exercising and spending time with family and friends,” Mayor Rolison said. “We have really great parks here in the city of Poughkeepsie that has needed this kind of investment long before we arrived on the scene.”
With a cheery smile and sparkling eyes, Mayor Rolison explained that this infrastructure enhancement plan was a project the city has been talking about for a while and will continue to be talked about in the coming months. The plan is composed of two improvement types, which being park upgrades and large capital improvements.
“The city being in the fiscal situation that it was in and still tends to be in some respects. It was just something that wasn’t a priority. We have the opportunity to change that narrative over a period of time,” Mayor Rolison said. “Looking at critical investments that can be made that will have an immediate impact and a lasting impact.”
Five of the eighteen parks were presented in the proposal video highlighting the fresh coat of paint, new benches, new flower beds, playscapes, brighter basketball courts and overall repair these parks would receive. Some of the parks will be completed in three phases that will embellish the look of the park and add that charm back into the neighborhood.
“Our kids use this park so much in the summer,” Yvonne Flowers, Common Council Member, said. “This is going to be really nice when they come back and look at the transformation that’s been made here. It is going to be a sense of more pride.”
“It’s special to me because when I was a young lady, we used to play here, we had block parties, the school had everything in the community,” said Loraine Johnson, Common Council Member. “I find it an honor to say Malcolm X Park.”
Johnson reflected the time she’d spend in the park and how it’s a vital resource for children, students and adults to learn from. Specifically in Malcolm X, there’s a creek that can be an educational and loving place for students interested in ecology, biology and the environment.
“This is something really exciting to see,” Matt McNamara, Common Council Member said about Spratt Park, “Everything is so active and alive.”
Chris Petsas, Common Council Member was “born and raised” near Pulaski Park and is excited to see the remodel and new benches that this project will allow to enhance the look and feel to a place he knew as a child.
Bartlett Park is the home to various playscapes that were described as “old and worn” and updating and cleaning the place up will be a significant project especially with the increase in its use by the public.
There is a deep historical and emotional connection that many citizens of Poughkeepsie have towards these parks and to see a loving and caring effort to prioritize them for adults, children and animals is a happy and joyous event for much of the public.
“We will be working on this collaboratively to come to the best solution that we can move our parks forward because the people are there, there’s just some things we need to do to make it better for them,” Mayor Rolison said. “We can make a big difference.”