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Dutchess County Legislature Accepts Land, Approves $10 Million for Youth Center

Published: 7/13/2021

Poughkeepsie, NY … The Dutchess County Legislature Monday authorized a land agreement and a $10 million request from Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro to begin work on creating a state-of-the-art Youth Opportunity Center in the City of Poughkeepsie.

The center, to be constructed at the former YMCA site on Montgomery Street, will be a multi-use facility that focuses on recreational, educational and healthy opportunities – both physical and mental – for youth. The center also will be a fixture for County’s Path to Promise initiative that employs strategic ways to ensure all young people in Dutchess County have the assets they need to realize their full potential as they grow into young adults.

“Just as we have transformed mental health services and led a national movement to change the way we care for and support those with intellectual and physical disabilities, we will begin to set a new example, create new opportunities and help Dutchess County kids and their families in new ways,” said County Executive Marc Molinaro. “We are partnering with a passionate coalition of trailblazers and are dedicated to rebirth in our city centers, connections to our suburban and rural communities and establishing a new foundation upon which we will harness the passion, professionalism and potential of this team – and help our kids and their families set out on a new path to promise for generations to come.”

On Monday night, two months after the City approved sale of the property to the County for $10, the County Legislature authorized acceptance of the property, while also declaring the County as lead agency and accepting a negative declaration in the State Environmental Quality Review process; the City had taken ownership of the property in 2019 after the site had been dormant for about a decade. The Legislature also authorized the County to spend $10 million from American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds for the initial costs of the center, which will include demolition of the former YMCA building and site remediation, design services and $1.5 million toward construction.

Once construction estimate costs are determined, County Executive Molinaro will request the County Legislature authorize $15 million in bonding to complete the County’s $25 million commitment to the project.

Legislature Chair Gregg Pulver said, “The time is ripe to build this center. The County has made a firm commitment to its youth through the Path to Promise initiative, and a youth center is a sound investment that will pay dividends for the county far down the road. I’m proud the legislature is taking this bold step to create a youth center that promises to serve as model for the region and beyond.”

Legislature Minority Leader Rebecca Edwards said, “This has been a long time coming, and I am grateful we find ourselves at this juncture. The legislature’s commitment to this process is imperative, and we look forward to a robust public engagement that will help shape the design plans and lead the way to legislative approval of a bond to see that construction goes forward.”

Legislator Randall Johnson, whose district includes the site of the future youth center, said, “The county investment in the city and our youth’s future will lift their spirits so they will become productive members of their community.”

MASS Design Group has been selected as the design consultant for the Youth Opportunity Center, following a recent Request for Proposals and review by the County Legislature’s Architect/Engineer/Construction Management Consultant Selection Committee. A comprehensive public design process, including extensive public engagement, is expected to take approximately a year.

After taking ownership of the property two years ago, the City issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) to obtain proposals to develop a youth and community center. The 35 Montgomery Community Coalition — which includes Dutchess County Government, youth-oriented organizations, as well as education and healthcare leaders — was selected by the City as the successful respondent to that process.

An advisory board that will include county and city representatives, as well as members the 35 Montgomery Community Coalition, will work to secure funding sources in addition to the County’s $25 million commitment.