SCHUMER PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR TRANSFORMATIVE POUGHKEEPSIE WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENT; CONNECTING WALKWAY OVER THE HUDSON TO SERIES OF RIVERFRONT TRAILS, PARKS, METRO-NORTH & MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT WOULD BE A GAME-CHANGER – SCHUMER LAYS OUT FEDERAL FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES TO GET PROJECT MOVING FORWARD
Poughkeepsie Waterfront Development Project, Which Has Been In Planning Stage for Over 10 Years, Now Has A Pathway Forward – Plans & Designs for Greenway Trails, Interconnected Neighborhoods & Commercial Development, Are Coming Together & The Next Step Is To Find Funding To Get The Project Off The Ground
Schumer Says Developing the Waterfront Has The Potential To Transform Poughkeepsie & Turn Its Hudson River Waterfront Into A Destination For Locals & Tourists Alike; Connection To Metro-North Station Could Make It Real Tourist Hub, Attract & Retain Young Adults to New Walkable Community All While Increasing Affordable Housing Options – Other Cities Like Poughkeepsie Have Seen Huge Benefit From Revitalizing Waterfront & Poughkeepsie Can Join That Group
Schumer: Now Is The Time To Begin Pursuing Fed Funds To Make Poughkeepsie Waterfront Vision A Reality
Today, at Victor C. Waryas Park in Poughkeepsie, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer pledged his support for re-development efforts along the Poughkeepsie waterfront and laid out potential avenues for federal funding to get the project underway. The project, which has been in the planning stages for over ten years, would build a continuous trail along the riverfront, create a spectacular waterfront park and build a regional destination center between Downtown Poughkeepsie, the Metro-North station, and the Walkway over the Hudson. Schumer said that these plans have the potential to transform the waterfront and turn the area into a hub for tourists and locals alike, who could come to Poughkeepsie from far and wide once the development becomes a reality. These new plans could also enhance residential opportunities for current and future residents alike and improve the quality of life for residents across Poughkeepsie. Schumer said that the plans have reached the point where we must begin considering federal funding streams to help finance the efforts, and he laid out possible federal programs that could provide the funding the project needs, including programs within the federal Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing & Urban Development. Schumer said that waterfront revitalization has proven to be a great way to grow cities across the country and Poughkeepsie should be no different.
“Plans for the redevelopment of the Poughkeepsie waterfront have been in the works for over a decade, and now that the city has an agreed-upon strategy to transform the area, it needs full-fledged support on the federal level to make it happen. I’m here today to pledge my support to this project and help the city begin exploring federal funding streams that can help us make this project a reality,” said Schumer. “This redevelopment strategy has the ability to completely revitalize and reinvigorate the city by connecting Downtown Poughkeepsie, the Metro-North station, and the Walkway over the Hudson, and I will be working hard on the federal level to fight for the kind of funding this community needs and deserves. We have seen what waterfront development has done for communities up and down the Hudson, from Yonkers to Kingston. Those investments are spurring local economies, attracting tourists and creating an enhanced quality of life for residents both old and new. It is time to add Poughkeepsie to that list.”
Schumer explained that development of the Poughkeepsie waterfront has been a priority for the city for over a decade. Currently, the Poughkeepsie Waterfront Redevelopment plan aims to build a continuous greenway train along the riverfront, knit together surrounding city neighborhoods and redevelopment projects, and create a high-quality waterfront park and regional destination center between Main Street, the Poughkeepsie Metro-North Railroad Station, and the Walkway Over the Hudson elevator. Schumer said this mixed-use development project and added green space would be a game-changer for the City of Poughkeepsie and the Mid-Hudson region. During his visit, Schumer pledged his support for this transformative plan and discussed ways to pursue federal funding opportunities that would get this project underway.
The Poughkeepsie Waterfront Redevelopment Strategy aims to protect and improve access to the waterfront while also creating economic benefits and opportunities for the entire area. According to the City of Poughkeepsie, the redevelopment plan seeks to provide important public amenities for residents of the area, support a growing tourism economy, create jobs, increase land values, and provide opportunities for private investment. The primary focus of this planning project will be on the land surrounding Waryas Park on the Poughkeepsie waterfront and the Poughkeepsie Railroad Station, with connections east into the city. The plan aims to increase greenspace by removing surface parking lots in addition to integrating a wide variety of park features, including connecting the Walkway Over the Hudson to a series of riverfront trails. Park Plaza will also act as a gateway at the base of the Poughkeepsie Metro-North Railroad Station overlook and commercial development will be focused around the Main and Water Streets corridors. This project is expected to create significant new private investment in the area as well as many jobs.
Specifically, the waterfront park and surrounding areas on Main and Water Streets will be expanded to include more local shops and restaurants, bringing in revenue for the city and local businesses. New residential buildings will also be created in the waterfront park area and contribute to both the local tax base and reinvigorating the neighborhood. Additionally, a hotel has been discussed as another means of increasing tourism and revenue in the direct area surrounding the waterfront. The waterfront park itself is also intended to be home to a new event lawn and stage area that would serve as a space for local events. A new walkable lane that can host public food and craft markets will also be created, in addition to a new public plaza with outdoor seating for restaurant-goers, grand stairs down to a new boat dock, children’s parks, and historic displays that celebrate the past of Poughkeepsie’s great historic port.
During his visit, Schumer said that the plans have reached the point where we must begin considering federal funding streams to help finance the efforts, and he laid out federal funding opportunities that could be used as a means of moving this project forward. He said now is the time to begin pursuing the kinds of funds that would make this Poughkeepsie waterfront redevelopment vision a reality. Specifically, Schumer highlighted programs within the federal Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing & Urban Development as avenues that could be worth pursuing during the planning process, such as:
- U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) funds – These funds are an annual discretionary program through DOT that Schumer has championed in the Senate. Total funding for next year will be $500M nationwide, which communities can compete for to conduct transformative infrastructure projects.
- Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funds - TAP provides funding for projects such as pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects for improving non-driver access to public transportation and enhanced mobility, community improvement activities, recreational trail projects and other similar non-traditional highway projects. Schumer has successfully secured millions of dollars in annual TAP awards for communities around the State.
- Economic Development Administration (EDA) Economic Development Assistance Program funds – Funding from these programs can help communities leverage and develop existing assets to attract new jobs to the region. As communities like Poughkeepsie attract additional private investment in their waterfront, EDA funds can be used to help leverage that investment and build out additional infrastructure.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Green Infrastructure Grant funds – Schumer has been a champion for Green Infrastructure Grant funds that are administered by the Environmental Facilities Corporation. These funds can help Poughkeepsie incorporate creative park and green features into their plan that also help to address storm water runoff and other environmental improvements.
- HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds – The CDBG program is a federal program aimed at creating viable communities by providing funds to improve housing, the living environment and economic opportunities, mainly for persons with low and moderate incomes.
- HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning (SCRP) funds – The SCRP grant program supports locally-led collaborative efforts that bring together diverse interests from the many municipalities in a region to determine how best to target housing, economic and workforce development, and infrastructure investments to create more jobs and regional economic activity. The program places a priority on investing in partnerships, including nontraditional partnerships, like arts and culture, recreation, public health, food systems, regional planning agencies and public education entities.
Schumer was joined by many local elected officials and economic development representatives, including Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, City of Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tzayick, the Dutchess County Chamber of Commerce and Walkay Over The Hudson officials.
“The Waterfront Redevelopment Strategy provides a blueprint to build a continuous Greenway Trail along the entire Hudson Riverfront, connect the waterfront to the rest of the City to foster redevelopment of Main Street, and create a high-quality waterfront park for our residents and a destination for tourists,” saidMarc Molinaro, Dutchess County Executive. “I’m grateful to Sen. Schumer for being here today, recognizing the importance of this collaborative effort, his continued support of Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County and offering his assistance.”
“On behalf of the business community, we thank Sen. Schumer for his support in helping the City of Poughkeepsie continue on its path of redevelopment and realizing its potential as the Queen City of the Hudson River Valley,” said Charles S. North, President and CEO of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce. “A vibrant City of Poughkeepsie is essential for keeping our economy on track, generating tourism revenue for our local businesses, and improving the quality of life for residents of our communities.”
“The City of Poughkeepsie is currently undergoing a revitalization. This new push will enhance the City further and serve as a way to propel projects that will make our community an even better place to live, work, and visit. Our City’s rich cultural history is being preserved, while enabling our Downtown and Waterfront to grow to attract more businesses, residents, and make our City a destination that people are excited to visit,” said John Tkazyik, Mayor for the City of Poughkeepsie.
As the Mid-Hudson region’s largest city and the halfway point between the New York City metro area and the State Capital of Albany, Schumer said Poughkeepsie could greatly benefit from waterfront redevelopment that attracts residents and travelers to shop in the area, visit local tourist destinations, and contribute revenue to the regional economy. Schumer said there are millions of potential visitors located an easy train ride away, meaning this area is ripe for redevelopment and success. The Poughkeepsie Waterfront Redevelopment Strategy has the potential to benefit both Poughkeepsie and the greater Mid-Hudson region by providing important public amenities for the residents of the area, supporting a growing tourism economy, creating area jobs, increasing land values, and increasing opportunities for significant private investment. According to the city, the plan establishes a vision for the waterfront that is consistent with city?wide and regional plans for Poughkeepsie, as well as local resident interests. Schumer noted that small cities around the country have undertaken major waterfront redevelopment projects and had extremely positive results.
Schumer explained that development of the Poughkeepsie waterfront has been a priority for the city for over a decade. According to the city, since 2000, over 39 acres of waterfront property, from the Hyde Park line south to Locust Grove, have been transformed into new, publicly accessible parkland. This includes Quiet Cove Riverfront Park, Marist College’s Long View Park, Upper Landing Park, and Kaal Rock Point. In addition to these development efforts, the former Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge was transformed into the pedestrian-friendly Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, which serves as a major tourist destination for the area. The Walkway attracts more than 700,000 visitors annually, of which nearly half come from outside of the region. The Walkway has also resulted in 383 new jobs and $9.4 million in new wages. Schumer said this Poughkeepsie Waterfront Redevelopment plan would aim to connect the Walkway to a series of riverfront trails, parks, and the Metro-North station, and could add to that job and wage number.
Schumer has been involved in many efforts to revitalize areas surrounding the Walkway Over the Hudson destination, including securing $1.7 million this year in federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding for the Village of New Paltz, located just across the Hudson River in Ulster County, to improve Village of New Paltz’s sidewalks and to link the town to the Catskill Rail Trail with a bike path. Schumer also secured $950,000 in federal funding for the Walkway Over the Hudson Construction; and was instrumental in securing a $440,000 Save America's Treasures grant from the National Park Service to help pay for steel repairs necessary to preserve the historic railroad bridge. After construction, Schumer worked closely with CSX, Dutchess County and The Dyson Foundation to broker a deal securing the necessary real estate to connect the Walkway Over The Hudson to the Dutchess County Rail Trail. It is expected that this bike link will bring significant economic benefits to the entire Hudson Valley region by encouraging more residents and travelers who stop in New Paltz to connect to the Walkway and areas across the Hudson River like Poughkeepsie.