POUGHKEEPSIE – City of Poughkeepsie economic and community development officials Paul Calogerakis and Paul Hesse will be the featured presenters at the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s monthly breakfast in November.
Calogerakis is the economic development director for the city and Hesse is the community development coordinator for the city. The two will be providing updates on various projects and will take questions from the audience. The Chamber breakfast will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20 at The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel & Conference Center, 40 Civic Center Plaza.
According to officials, the city has seen a considerable uptick in economic activity in the last few years, including new residential units and businesses. “We have been making great strides,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. “I am looking forward to having part of our team here at City Hall give key details of what has been happening — and why it is good for the city.”
More than 1,200 housing units have been either recently completed or are under construction — and one-third of them are below market rate. And one million square feet of commercial space has been recently completed, under construction or in the approval process.
City officials also say the Federal Opportunity Zone Program is attracting more interest from developers, people who want to invest in the city.
“The combined forces of greater personnel capacity at City Hall, Opportunity Zone tax legislation, creation of the Innovation District, abundant available real estate inventory and the high demand for housing has created a ‘perfect storm’ for development in the City of Poughkeepsie,” Calogerakis said.
Frank Castella Jr., president and CEO of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, said, “The Chamber’s monthly breakfast events include presentations regarding economic issues that are relevant for our membership. With the growing number and scale of developments in the City of Poughkeepsie, we wanted to provide this update for our audience so they can see the increased level of activity that is happening in and around downtown.”
City officials recently created an Innovation District to streamline projects in the downtown area and are working to overhaul the City’s comprehensive plan and waterfront vision. As its finances have improved, the City has been able to leverage grant money from the state to undertake pedestrian safety and green infrastructure projects.
The City also has created an Anti-Blight Task Force that includes non-profit housing partners Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County, Rebuilding Together Dutchess County, and Hudson River Housing. Since its inception in 2018, the task force has addressed more than 100 vacant properties. The City had slightly more than 600 in 2018; that number is now below 500. As part of this effort, the City also took ownership of the former YMCA site on Montgomery Street and has held three well-attended public meetings focusing on community-minded reuse of the property.
Hesse said, “The City’s been making strategic policy shifts, particularly with respect to planning and zoning, that have signaled our soundness for investment, and you’re now seeing the fruits of those policy shifts blossom. At the same time, the City is now investing in places for people, undertaking meaningful improvements to public spaces that enhance the quality of life for residents. We’re demonstrating our commitment to investing in our community, and the private sector is taking notice.”
Chamber members and guests will need to pre-register for the Contact Breakfast by visiting dcrcoc.org or calling 845.454.1700 x 1000. Tickets are $25 for members and $35 for non-members.