For More Information Contact:
Colleen Pillus, (845) 486-2000
Colleen Pillus, (845) 486-2000
Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro presented his 2020 State of the County Address Thursday evening at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park to residents, business and nonprofit leaders, as well as local and state officials, focusing on a theme of “Home.” With Dutchess County Government’s fiscal condition strong, as evidenced by reaffirmation of the County’s AA+ bond rating by Standard & Poor’s earlier this week, the County Executive’s annual message focused on the challenges of ensuring our community is a home for everyone and the County’s efforts to provide support and opportunities for all to flourish with a sense of stability and security.
“We cannot hope to overcome our greatest challenges, solve our most intractable problems without the opportunity provided by a true home – a loving and supportive place – where one can dare to dream; where we can disagree but come together; where we heal and grow; where we are free to fail and find a path to greater promise. … We know we are building a home – the starting point in the race for life. We strive to make it a fair start, where when the horn sounds in this grand race, every person of every ability and background is standing shoulder-to-shoulder on that starting line,” County Executive Molinaro told the nearly 400 people in attendance at the event.
The event began with video review of many of the accomplishments achieved over the past several years. In his Address, County Executive Molinaro looked ahead to what’s next for the County:
Dutchess County, like communities throughout the nation, continues to be challenged by the issue of homelessness, with an 18% increase in homeless population from 2018 to 2019. In 2019, the Department of Community & Family Services provided placement for more than 170, including families, couples and individuals. Most of those people are employed, but unable to find affordable housing, despite a record number of affordable housing units being constructed in the past year, or they are struggling with health conditions, often co-occurring mental health and substance use problems.
County Executive Molinaro outlined four bold steps the County will embark on to reduce the homeless population, provide more effective transitional housing and increase the availability of affordable housing:
In 2019, Dutchess County experienced its first year-to-year decline in opioid-related deaths since 2014. Last year, there were 77 overdose deaths in Dutchess County, compared to 93 in 2018. Among Dutchess County’s effort to battle this epidemic:
The State of the County Address featured a new video highlighting the power and reach of Dutchess County’s ThinkDIFFERENTLY initiative to build a community of inclusion that is accessible and welcoming to people of every ability. The ThinkDIFFERENTLY movement continues to expand across the state, and even the nation, and in 2020, new events will include:
Under the leadership of the newly appointed Assistant Commissioner for Youth Services, Dutchess County’s Path to Promise initiative has an ambitious agenda ahead, including:
2020 will be a transformational year for Dutchess County’s park system as design development of the Lake Walton Preserve into a universally accessible park gets underway to create connections to the Dutchess Rail Trail, including the construction of a loop walking path around the lake and viewing areas.
Early stages of design has begun for the new urban trail along the former CSX rail corridor in the City and Town of Poughkeepsie, creating a unique linear park that will connect neighborhoods, local businesses, restaurants, educational institutions, major development projects, and playgrounds to the Walkway Over the Hudson and the rail trail network.
Quiet Cove Riverfront Park - where several projects have been recently completed including a second waterfront deck, kayak rentals through an ADA accessible launch, and upgrades to the historic naval boathouse - will begin its final phase of improvements which include opening up the Hudson River viewshed with the removal of unneeded buildings, a new parking area on the river side of the tracks, and a redefined entrance to improve vehicular and pedestrian access.
The County Executive also highlighted numerous other initiatives in his Address including:
County Executive Molinaro’s full 2020 State of the County Address is available on Dutchess County’s website. Citizens are invited to participate in conversations about the 2020 State of the County at town hall forums to be held over the next several weeks including: