Home Economic Development How Peekskill plans to use the $10M for downtown revitalization

How Peekskill plans to use the $10M for downtown revitalization

Almost nine months after Peekskill was selected as a recipient of funding for New York state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) program in August 2019, the finalized projects for the city have been announced.

The $10 million in awards will span 12 projects, according to city officials, that will invest in mixed-use, housing and public space development; pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure; arts and tourism; and small businesses and cultural spaces that add value to the community.

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A view of the pier from the joint permit application prepared by The Chazen Cos. Photo by Lauren Lembo

For each round of funding, one municipality from each of New York’s economic development regions is chosen. The previous recipient for the Mid-Hudson region was New Rochelle in 2018. Peekskill’s award is part of the fourth round of the initiative.

“The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is strengthening communities in the Hudson Valley, on Long Island and across the state, making them great destinations to work, play and raise a family,” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said in making the announcement. “A healthy downtown is vital to a community’s overall economic health, especially as we enter a post-pandemic future. The projects announced in Peekskill and Baldwin … will change the trajectories of these communities and help them build back better, stronger and more resilient for the future.”

The projects were recommended for funding by Peekskill’s DRI local planning committee, consisting of public, private and nonprofit sector representatives at the city, county and regional level, with input from residents.

“I think of these projects as new tools in Peekskill’s toolbox,” said Brian Fassett, president of the Peekskill Business Improvement District and a member of the planning committee.

“The dozen approved projects will help link the downtown with the waterfront, boost the visibility of our artist community, provide much-needed support for small businesses and create a branding and marketing campaign to encourage visitors to discover everything Peekskill has to offer.”

The approved projects include:

  • A home for the Peekskill Art Center at 41 N. Division St. The building will be renovated to become a mixed-use property, housing micro-apartments on the upper levels and multimedia production studios in the basement level, at a cost of $1,638,752.
  • Creation of a Peekskill Plaza downtown hub on South Division Street, to include a redesign of Gazebo Plaza, conversion of car lanes to pedestrian space, a redesign of street spaces for pedestrian safety and beautification projects for $1,626,000.
  • A connection of the downtown and waterfront areas for pedestrians and cyclists, with bike lanes, curb extensions, crosswalks, bioswales, bike racks, signage, trees and pedestrian signals for $1,102,00.
  • A new renovated location for the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester at the Kiley Youth Center. The upgrades will include repairs and improvements and will provide offices, an art room, computer labs and a cafeteria at a total cost of $1.5 million.
  • Renovations and upgrades to the Paramount Theater, both exterior and interior, along with expanded hospitality programs, costing $1 million.
  • The establishment of a $700,000 small-business fund to let businesses make capital improvements under the categories of business creation and expansion, exterior improvements, solar energy installations and adaptations for operating in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines.
  • A public art installation series, at a cost of $500,000, which will be curated by arts organizations.
  • Implementation of free Wi-Fi access along the Main Street corridor, including Lepore and Pugsley parks, and creation of a low-cost internet service that would be offered to residents of Bohlmann Towers and Barham House Apartments, at a cost of $380,000.
  • Creating a strategic marketing and branding campaign for the city to attract new residents, visitors and businesses, at a cost of $500,000.
  • $313, 248 in enhancements to Pugsley Park.
  • $260,000 in enhancements to Monument Park.
  • The reconstruction of Fleischmann Pier, for a new pier that will allow tour boats to dock, along with a later phase of reconstruction to include secondary piers, expanded parking and improvements to Charles Point Park, for a cost of $180,000.

“New York state is making a big bet on the great city of Peekskill, because they know we have the people, the vision and the community engagement necessary to keep the city moving ever upward,” Peekskill Mayor Andre Rainey said. “They see strong, visionary leadership that is balancing growth and affordability, while remaining true to the creativity and diversity that brought us to this point.”

Fassett expressed confidence in Peekskill’s leadership to carry out the projects, which will build upon the city’s existing physical and cultural landscape.

“We have a committed local government, an active business community and several key investors who all see a gleaming future for Peekskill,” Fassett said.

“The DRI process forces communities to define their assets and their vision for the future. Peekskill has tremendous assets to build upon — art, history, the Hudson River, a century of preserved architecture and a culturally diverse population to enjoy the results.”

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