Circle of Champions Walk unveiled in Poughkeepsie

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Kroner of MASS Design introducing the projects for the Ingram Circle.

POUGHKEEPSIE – The roundabout at the intersections of Smith Street, Creek Road, and Salt Point Turnpike is dedicated to US Navy Petty Officer First Class Corey Ingram, who died in 2017.  The area surrounding the roundabout dedicated to Ingram in 2018 is now the site of the Corey Ingram Circle of Champions Walk after a ceremonial groundbreaking on Saturday.

Dozens of community members and elected officials gathered on Smith Street near the roundabout to break ground for eight-foot markers that will be installed along the sidewalk on Smith Street to honor community members who have contributed to improving the lives of the residents of Poughkeepsie’s north side.

Rev. Bottoms at the Circle of Champions

Chris Kroner, a principal with MASS Design unveiled a mockup of one of the first five markers that will be sited near the roundabout.  The mockup featured a likeness of the late Theodore “Tree” Arrington along with a brief bio and a quote in their honor.  Kroner noted that in addition to the Champions Walk, MASS Design is working with city leaders on two other projects for the area; a centerpiece in the roundabout that will be a “Gateway to the city,” he said, and noted that a memorial to Ingram will be across Smith Street from the Champions Walk monuments.  “The Champions Walk is being done to help people know what civic leadership looks like on the north side.”

Reverend Dr. Jesse Bottoms Jr., considered one of the most influential community members in the city opened the dedication by referencing the need to celebrate Juneteenth and went on to praise the first five inductees being honored.  “Great people are great because they help make others great – it’s not about themselves but about others,” Bottoms said, adding “We are better because of the five servants being honored today.”

Councilwoman Yvonne Flowers, who serves on the steering committee for the walk, spoke about the impact the honorees had, on the community, and on herself personally.

Mock-up of the memorial for Tree Arrington
  • The late Tree Arrington, founder of REAL Skills Network
  • The late Barbara Jeter-Jackson – longtime elected official in the city and county
  • Wesley Lee, founder of Saving At Risk Youth for Corporate America (SARCA)
  • Perinella “Penny” Lewis, former City of Poughkeepsie Councilwoman
  • The late Lorraine Roberts, community activist, educator, and scolar

Flowers credited Ms. Lewis for paving the way for women of color to get involved in government and paving the way for the next generation of public servants.  Lorraine Roberts, according to Flowers, was the teacher that encouraged Flowers to study bookkeeping, leading to her successful career in the field.  The five honorees were selected by a community vote after the steering committee received more than 50 nominations.