Petition to Immediately Reopen the Southern Waterfront and Develop Educational, Cultural, Recreational, and Water-Related Activities
We, the undersigned citizens of the City of Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County, New York petition the Mayor and Common Council Members to enact the Southern Waterfront Redevelopment Task Force (SWRTF) recommendations to reopen and reinvigorate the southern waterfront.
Mr. Mayor and Common Council Members, you nominated 11 members to the SWRTF in the spring of 2021 to advise on the future of 13 acres of waterfront known as the DeLaval site. The Task Force issued the following recommendations:
Short Term Recommendation - Take Down the Fence and Open the Site for Public Use
On June 8, 2021, the Southern Waterfront Task Force unanimously adopted its “Recommendations for Immediate Public Access” to the DeLaval site. The recommendations outlined a reasoned plan to safely open the bulk of the site to public access and install a trail along the waterfront. The target date was Spring 2022. Spring is here and the fence is still locked to keep the community out. The land has been inactive for 20 years, and it is time to utilize the property. This recommendation must be acted on now.
Long-Term Recommendations – Redevelop the Property for Educational, Cultural, Recreational, and Water-Related activities.
The Task Force considered the NYS Dept. of State Development Policy 1 as a guideline which states:
Restore, Revitalize and Redevelop Deteriorated and Underutilized Waterfront
Areas For Commercial, Cultural, Recreational, and other Compatible Uses.
Nowhere does it include residential development.
The Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) draft developed in 2019 included residential. The following comments were made by the NYS Dept. of State on the LWRP draft:
“The addition of commercial is fine but residential is not. I do not believe residential is one of the uses contemplated by the policy... Water dependent and enhanced uses should receive priority (residential is neither).”
The community survey conducted for the 2013-2015 waterfront development study and the most recent Southern Waterfront Redevelopment Task Force survey found that your citizens overwhelmingly want this property developed for community use including recreational, cultural, educational, dining, and small retail. Your citizens adamantly opposed residential, hotel, or office space development on the waterfront. Where is the economic benefit of holding empty land?
The waterfront belongs to the citizens, and they have spoken. You represent the citizens of the City of Poughkeepsie, and the Dutchess County Government represents the citizens of the surrounding towns and municipalities that would use this space. Elected officials need to follow the will of the people who brought them into office.
Therefore, we, the undersigned, present this petition to the Office of the Mayor and the Common Council, on behalf of the citizens of the city of Poughkeepsie, the citizens of Dutchess County, and future generations, to provide immediate public access to the property and to quickly process a Request for Proposal (RFP) to obtain bids to redevelop the waterfront in accordance to the specific and documented SWRTF recommendations that City Administrator Nelson indicated he had at the March 14, 2022, Common Council meeting, without delay.