Poughkeepsie… Another important milestone has been reached in the planned transformation of the Perx Property, a 20-acre “brownfield” site in the Village of Red Hook. Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus officially kicked off the environmental restoration of the site on Wednesday, October 19. Mr. Steinhaus was joined by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 3 Director Marc Moran and other local and County officials.
The 14-year County Executive said, “This event marks the start of demolition of derelict industrial buildings that will soon be replaced by a residential and commercial neighborhood known as Red Hook Commons which will be designed specifically to meet the needs of senior citizens in Northern Dutchess.”
County Executive Steinhaus stated, “This project has been an investment of problem-solving, passion, perseverance and patience. It is one of those unique opportunities we have to join forces to reclaim land, make it healthy, plan and assist in its redevelopment, provide quality housing options for senior citizens, make available commercial development and return the property to the tax rolls at the same time. There’s no better example I can think of that promotes the positive results of collaboration and partnership for the greater good of our residents and community.”
In March of this year, Dutchess County secured a state award of $1.26 million to implement a $1.76-million remediation plan approved by the DEC. The remediation plan is the result of a comprehensive environmental assessment of the site conducted by Dutchess County under the auspices of the state’s Environmental Restoration Program. According to NYSDEC Region 3 Director Marc Moran, “Through the 1996 Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act, Governor Pataki has made it possible for communities like the Village of Red Hook to investigate and clean up abandoned properties, and return them to productive use. In March, when Acting Commissioner Denise Sheehan announced a State grant of $1.26 million to make this day possible, it proved once again that working in collaboration with county officials, local municipalities and the private sector, we can clean up the environment, preserve ‘green space’, and promote local community priorities like affordable senior housing.”
County Executive Steinhaus kicked off the Perx Initiative in 1999 after the Village and Town of Red Hook’s Affordable Senior Housing Committee identified the Perx site as a potential site for development. In 2003, the County approved an option agreement with the Village of Red Hook to transfer the Perx property to the village upon completion of the cleanup with the stipulation that the site be dedicated to housing for senior citizens and appropriate commercial development.
Red Hook has committed $295,000 received from the county through the Community Development Program for the environmental restoration of the Perx property. Red Hook Commons developer Kenneth Kearney will receive a $1.385 million grant from the NYS Housing Trust Fund Program and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to finance construction of the first 48 units of senior housing on the restored Perx site. County Executive Steinhaus has also committed an additional $153,000 from the County’s HOME Investment Partnership to the project.
Steinhaus directed the county to use cash of $1.26 million to front the expense to expedite the clean up pending receipt of state funds.
Steinhaus said as a result of this dynamic partnership among the village, town, county, state, and private sectors, the Perx initiative will achieve five goals of his:
- Provide up to 100 units of senior housing, a critical need in Northern Dutchess
- Return the Perx property to local tax rolls
- Promote village-scale commercial development along South Broadway/Route 9
- Create pedestrian connections to surrounding neighborhoods, to the commercial district along Route 9, and to the shops in the village center
- Eliminate the County’s financial obligation for the property
As County Executive Steinhaus noted when he signed the State Assistance Contract, “It is special when Dutchess County can help transform a financial and environmental liability for the taxpayers into an economic and social asset for local communities.”