POUGHKEEPSIE – The City of Poughkeepsie Common Council has postponed advancing the 35 Montgomery Street Youth Center project at the former YMCA in Poughkeepsie. The council was originally provided with the information in February and given a presentation by Mayor Rob Rolison and Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro in early March.
On Monday evening, Garfield Place resident Donna Levinson spoke out against the plan for the multi-million-dollar venture involving the county, the city, and several other community partners including Dutchess Community College and Community Matters 2. Levinson called the proposal “very suspicious” in describing the makeup of the coalition. Levinson also called the long-discussed plan a “political stunt” that will enable the county to do “whatever they want.” The property does have deed restrictions that seriously limit the activities that the parcel can be used for.
The council was slated to approve a resolution transferring ownership of the former YMCA to Dutchess County in exchange for $10. In return, Molinaro was going to present a resolution to the county legislature seeking to spend upwards of $25 million to create a community center in the heart of Poughkeepsie. In April, Council Chair Sarah Salem said that the May 3 vote was right on schedule.
Councilman Evan Menist represents the second ward where the Montgomery Street site is located. When the bill came up, Menist said, “It’s been a long time coming for this type of investment for a community center here in the City of Poughkeepsie.” Calling it a “phenomenal opportunity” that he fully supports, Menist then asked that the vote be rescheduled for the May 17 meeting, citing concerns of language raised by some city residents. Menist indicated that the constituents are “seeking minor changes that will ensure we retain more local control via the common council.”
Mayor Rolison was upset with the continued postponement of the project. “I am disappointed and perplexed by the actions of the council. They have had the plans for more than two months. All of a sudden a resident speaks and the plan is once again pushed back,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that some residents think that a plan to help the children is a political ploy.”
Molinaro told Mid-Hudson News, after the postponement, “The councilmembers are doing their due diligence and we appreciate that. We are confident they’ll provide this community the opportunity to move this transformational project forward and strengthen services, support, and opportunities for county young people for generations to come.”