YMCA proposal revised again ahead of Monday’s vote

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Former Poughkeepsie YMCA

POUGHKEEPSIE – Lawyers representing the City of Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County have made changes to the latest YMCA proposal that both parties agree upon, according to Councilman Evan Menist.  The council is expected to vote on it Monday evening.

On Thursday, Menist had submitted a revised bill that would authorize Mayor Rob Rolison to enter into an agreement with the county for the transfer of ownership of the former YMCA property on Montgomery Street.  Certain aspects of the legislation were not acceptable for legal reasons, and the bill needed to be changed again.  On Friday night, Menist provided the latest resolution to Mid-Hudson News, noting that city and county attorneys had made changes, and both agree on the revisions.

Menist had disagreed with the original proposal, saying that the common council was omitted from having a say in the project that is supposed to create a “Youth and Community Center” at the site of the former YMCA.  The latest revision requires that the county establish a coalition including the 35 Montgomery Street Coalition, the common council, the city, Dutchess County, and the Dutchess County Legislature.  The group, according to the bill, “shall have input on operation, direction, and  design of the youth and community center, before and after its construction, and with regard to its future operations.”  Menist, who represents the ward that includes the former YMCA justified adding the council, saying, “The council will be included in the committee that shapes the overall direction of the final center instead of being removed from the process.”

Another change from the original proposal covers the upkeep and operation of the Youth and Community Center.  The latest proposal gives the city an opportunity to regain possession of the property if the county fails to meet certain deadlines including groundbreaking, construction, and completion.  If deadlines are not met, the city would reimburse the county for any county money invested into the project at that point, and regain possession of the property.  According to Menist, the change means “the county commits to being responsible for keeping the center operational, which was a major concern raised by many community members that there was nothing ensuring that the center would continue – since we have seen too many community centers lose funding and fail over the years.”

If the council approves the latest version of the legislation on Monday, it will allow Mayor Rob Rolison to enter into an agreement with the county for the transfer of the property, pending legislature approval.