Neighbors watch as the demolition begins
POUGHKEEPSIE – A rundown abandoned house at 85 Smith Street in
Poughkeepsie, long the focus of criminal activity, is being demolished
to make way for a new two-family house, which will be sold to a first-time
homebuyer and include an affordable rental unit.
Mayor Robert Rolison and Hudson River Housing Executive Director Christa
Hines were onsite Tuesday to witness the razing of the old building.
The house was home to squatters and the site of a tremendous structure
fire in 2015 that damaged not only the house but neighboring properties
The area has been described as “Death Row” due to the illegal
drug activity in the area and this parcel is considered to be on the city’s
top-10 list of properties considered to be a danger to public safety.
Rolison expects that projects such as this will help remove the negative
spotlight from the neighborhood.
The city seized the property for taxes in 2016 and has been working with
Hudson River Housing, an agency that provides programs including “supported
permanent housing,” to develop a plan for the parcel to improve the
neighborhood. Hines noted the new house with its rental unit will remove
the absentee landlord from the equation. It is often those homes with
no local or onsite landlord that fall into disrepair and are abandoned.
The project is expected to take between nine and 12 months. Hines said
that HRH will be applying for funding through the New York State Homes
and Community Renewal program to help pay for the new project.