Friday, February 8, 2019

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Poughkeepsie mayor says it's time to act, calls special meeting

POUGHKEEPSIE - After repeated refusals by Common Council Chairwoman Ann Finney to bring the Poughkeepsie Innovation District rezoning initiative up for a vote, Mayor Robert Rolison is convening a special meeting to bypass Finney's refusals.

Councilmember Christopher Petsas tried once again to bring the resolution up for a vote at Monday's council meeting but Finney refused citing the need for more information.

When told he couldn't place it on the agenda, Petsas said Finney's tight control over the agenda resembles that of a dictatorship.  Finney's response drew the ire of several board members who pointed out that they all had questions about the project and after meeting with planning department staffers, the questions were answered.  "At some point you are going to have to make a decision," Councilwoman Natasha Cherry told Finney.

According to Rolison, a special meeting of the common council will be held on Monday, February 11 at 5:15 p.m. in council chambers. 

“The sole item on the agenda is the adoption of the Poughkeepsie Innovative District (PID) ordinance at this special meeting,” Rolison said in a letter to the common council.  The mayor pointed out that "there is overwhelming support amongst city stakeholders, members of the public as well as our local businesses for this legislation.  It is the professional view of the city's Planning and Economic Development team that this proposal represents best practices and, if adopted, will play a pivotal role in the revitalization of our downtown district."

Paul Hesse, the city's Community Development coordinator, said an Innovation District is “a densely populated urban neighborhood that stimulates jobs and local business development by bringing together residents, community organizations, and anchor institutions into new creative partnerships.  The City of Poughkeepsie is blessed with a historic Main Street, excellent academic institutions strong local leadership, and vibrant diverse community.”

Hess said a PID would “build upon all of these assets, converting underutilized downtown land into a new hub for applied design, light industry, maker spaces, and community arts programming.”


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