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County’s Commissioner of Planning & Development Kealy Salomon to Retire

Published: 1/24/2014

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie…Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro has announced Dutchess County Commissioner of Planning & Development Kealy Salomon will be retiring in April, following more than 31 years of dedicated public service.   Ms. Salomon has spent her career in various positions within the Department of Planning & Development, including the last four years as Commissioner.

County Executive Molinaro stated, “Kealy Salomon has truly left her mark on Dutchess County, helping to shape communities and improving our quality of life.   Whether implementing sidewalk plans to make a community more walkable or protecting farmland and open space to maintain our agricultural heritage and natural beauty, or any of the other numerous projects and initiatives she has brought to fruition over the years, Kealy’s work has helped preserve the unique character of our individual cities, towns and villages while responding to the evolving needs of the community and ensuring our communities remain vibrant for generations to come.”

As Commissioner, Ms. Salomon has been responsible for oversight of the Department of Planning and Development and its mission to help maintain and enhance the County's quality of life. The Department is responsible for countywide planning, coordination of economic development activities, planning assistance to local governments, and comprehensive mapping and geographic information systems (GIS) data.  

The Department of Planning & Development also provides administrative oversight and support to the Poughkeepsie-Dutchess County Transportation Council (PDCTC),  Dutchess County LOOP Bus System, the Traffic Safety and STOP-DWI programs, the Criminal Justice Council and several community agencies, which provide a wide range of programs for the County's residents, businesses, and visitors.

Ms. Salomon was appointed as Commissioner of Planning & Development by former Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus in 2010.   Under her leadership, the Department of Planning & Development has accomplished numerous priorities including:

  • Nearly 600 acres of open space and farmland have been preserved at Locust Grove in the Town of Poughkeepsie, Bos Haven Farm in Union Vale, Sunset Ridge in Millerton, Mead Farms and Greig Farm in Red Hook through the Dutchess County Partnership for Manageable Growth/Open Space and Farmland Protection Matching Grant Program;
  • 180 affordable housing units have been developed including Poughkeepsie Commons, Boulevard Knolls and Pendell Commons through HOME funding priorities;
  • $3.5 million  in Community Development Block Grant funding has been awarded for 34 local municipal projects and nearly $600,000 awarded for 28 public service projects;
  • Hybrid vehicles were introduced into the Dutchess County LOOP Bus system fleet;
  • Seven new Greenway Guides have been published providing detailed recommendations on a variety of current planning topics including: Centers and Greenspaces; Convenience stores with gas pumps; Rural Roads; Slower, Safer Streets; Building Bicycle Networks, Recycling and Waste Collection; and Green Infrastructure;
  • Publication of Moving Dutchess, a long-range transportation plan that provides a framework for addressing transportation needs and priorities for Dutchess County;
  • Creation of the Healthy Communities Trail Mapping Series and webpage in cooperation with the Department of Health, connecting residents and visitors with information about the nearly 70 trail systems in Dutchess County;
  • Adoption of Dutchess County’s local solid waste management plan, Rethinking Waste,   a ten-year plan focused on significantly increasing the amount of material recycled in Dutchess County by nearly 60% in order to decrease the total amount of waste;  
  • Draft update to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan was completed.

Recently, the Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development has been leading the administration of the new Agency Partner Grant Program as well as the Municipal Shared Services and Consolidation Program, both initiated by County Executive Molinaro in 2013.   The Agency Partner Grant Program provides funding to non-profit agencies who provide outcome-based programs in specified service categories. The program allows the County to respond to evolving community needs through a competitive process designed to produce better outcomes and allocate scarce resources more effectively.   The Municipal Consolidation and Shared Services Grant program is designed to reduce the total cost of local government through increased efficiencies and the elimination of unnecessary or redundant services, resulting in smaller, smarter government.   Grant funding is available for municipal projects designed to consolidate services and functions, share services with other local government entities, and/or cooperate in multi-town service delivery.

Additionally, the Department is leading the Waterfront Redevelopment Strategy and Rezoning project in the City of Poughkeepsie, which is primarily focused on the waterfront district between the bridges and around the Railroad Station, but will also feature connections to the new Walkway elevator, north and south along the river into the Town, to the Mt. Carmel neighborhood, and up lower Main Street.  The final Redevelopment Strategy will include plans for major park improvements, green infrastructure initiatives, an economic feasibility and financing analysis, phasing steps, and draft waterfront rezoning to fully position the area for subsequent implementation.

Kealy Salomon began her career with Dutchess County Government in 1982, beginning as Planner following her graduation from Cornell University with a Masters of Regional Planning.    She worked her way up through the Planning Department, serving as Senior Planner and Transportation Program Administrator and then as Assistant Commissioner.   During that time, she was responsible for a variety of projects in communities around the County, including the City of Poughkeepsie Transportation Strategy, the Hopewell Hamlet Pedestrian Plan and the Route 22 Corridor (Pawling to North East) Management Plan.   Other projects have included the Route 52 Alternatives Analysis and the Poughkeepsie Land Use & Transportation Plan Study.

Ms. Salomon said, “It has been a privilege to work here in Dutchess County for the whole of my career.  Planning is all about community and I feel extraordinarily fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with so many people at all levels of government and in local organizations and with many creative individuals who are committed to making our neighborhoods, our communities and our county a great place to live, to work and to enjoy leisure time.  I appreciate the confidence and support County Executive Molinaro has shown me and this department during the past two years.  He has a strong commitment to strengthening this community and I am glad to have played a role in implementing some of the new initiatives and programs.”

Ms. Salomon, who resides in the City of Poughkeepsie with her husband Robert Cook, plans to remain active with volunteer work in the community and looks forward to spending time at Lake George and having the opportunity to travel more extensively.

County Executive Molinaro concluded, “I am grateful to Kealy for her leadership as Commissioner.  The Department of Planning and Development has seamlessly taken on new challenges as part of our efforts to transform county government under Kealy’s leadership.   As a true planner at heart, she has set the Department of Planning & Development on a course for continued future success.”