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Poughkeepsie…Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, Deputy Commissioner of Strategic Planning & Economic Development Ron Hicks and Chairman of the Legislature Rob Rolison joined with Town of Poughkeepsie Supervisor Todd Tancredi and Town Board member Ann Shershin as well as representatives from the Arlington Business Improvement District for a walking tour yesterday of Main Street in the Town of Poughkeepsie near the Raymond Avenue intersection. The group discussed the some of the challenges of the area, including needed infrastructure improvements such as sidewalks and vacant properties.
County Executive Molinaro noted, “Poughkeepsies’ Main Street provides critical economic development opportunity. With the recently adopted Waterfront Redevelopment Strategy, the Main Street Economic Development Strategy as well as the work underway for the Middle Main initiative, we want to make sure there is strong focus on the eastern section of Main Street in the Town of Poughkeepsie, a vital part of the Arlington Business Improvement District. We look forward to working collaboratively with both the Town of Poughkeepsie and the Arlington Business Improvement District to see what opportunities we can take advantage of that can provide an important economic impact for this key area.”
Dutchess County Department of Planning & Development will work with the Town of Poughkeepsie to evaluate the sidewalk system in the Arlington Business District. The study will consist of three components: an inventory of existing sidewalk conditions; recommendations for future sidewalk and crosswalk improvements (repairs and new facilities); and possible design alternatives for one or more signature locations in the study area.
The study will include a GPS inventory of sidewalk conditions and a report with recommended priorities for improvements. The Town of Poughkeepsie will create a local task force to assist the project, which is expected to begin in Spring 2016, including gathering data on sidewalk locations, conditions, and other attributes in spring 2016. The inventory will be used to help develop a draft sidewalk improvement strategy that will later presented to the Town Board.
Dutchess County has conducted similar studies in other communities with significant results. In 2012, the Department of Planning & Development began work on the Hyde Park Town Center Pedestrian Study that included the GPS inventory as well as a public survey on pedestrian/bicycle issues. A final report was issued in 2013 with various improvement recommendations. The efforts paid off in 2014 when the Town of Hyde Park was awarded a $161,000 Consolidated Funding Award (CFA) for retrofitting efforts as well as $675,000 in federal funding through the Transportation Alternatives Program for sidewalk improvements along Route 9.
“This study can lead to greater funding opportunities, including grant possibilities from the County’s Community Development Block Grant program. There is a great deal of potential in this area that simply needs to be tapped into,” said Molinaro.
Town of Poughkeepsie Supervisor Todd Tancredi said, “There are new projects moving ahead on Main Street and we need to be able to be able to build on that momentum in order to really transform this area of the Arlington Business District. We appreciate County Executive Molinaro’s support of our efforts and we look forward to working collaboratively to seize more opportunities for economic development.”
County Executive Molinaro also discussed the possibility of having the Department of Planning & Development draft a conceptual drawing of what Main Street could look like with various improvements. Members of the Arlington Business Improvement District view having a “vision” for Main Street that people can look at and be inspired by could help spur new interest and investment.
To learn more about the Arlington Business Improvement District, visit their website at http://arlingtonhasit.org/