Like many legacy cities, Poughkeepsie struggles with economic and racial segregation, failing public schools, rising violent crime, and blighted neighborhoods. Families have moved out lowering the demand for housing. This depreciates property values and degrades the funding source for our City and schools. The quality of life is declining in our City. These patterns are not new, but many cities have transformed themselves with a plan.
The cornerstone to a healthy economy is stable families. My plan prioritizes the needs of the family through strong support for the public-school system, 24-hour childcare and high-quality early childhood education. With more affordable housing and a reliable path to home ownership, our city will sustain families. True community policing from a diverse force will keep our City’s campus safe for families, visitors and investment.
Education lies at the heart of revitalizing legacy cities like Poughkeepsie. My plan acknowledges education for what it really is: a community-wide effort. Our priority must be graduating college and career ready students. I will create a network of professional and collegiate mentorship to increase the one-on-one attention that each student in the City receives. Paid work-study will expose our young residents to the high-paying career options that exist in this City and equip them with the skills necessary to compete in today’s economy. In partnership with our local colleges, my plan outlines a clear path for our young people to finish college debt free—an average of $36.5 thousand in savings per student.
Additionally, I will make Poughkeepsie a hub for trades learning with employment through apprenticeships leading to professional licensing and entrepreneurship opportunities. With the average tradesperson now approaching retirement, and a market of 300,000 home and business in Dutchess County, we have a tremendous opportunity to make Technical and Trades careers a prime avenue for bringing our residents back into Poughkeepsie’s economy.
These Public-Private partnerships with our anchor institutions and small businesses will help us transition away from our current rate of poverty which is double the national average. My plan also squarely addresses the 40% youth unemployment that disproportionately affects Black and Latinx communities.
Legacy cities that come back do the small things well. That means leveraging technology to help improve service delivery to our residents. The City will partner with small businesses and secure contracts with our anchor institutions to localize the supply chain for goods and services. As the capital of Dutchess County and the Mid-Hudson Valley, Poughkeepsie should make the most of its location as a significant strategic advantage.
Historic Preservation will be accepted as integral to sustainable development of the City as we invest in adaptive reuse of our older buildings and new green building technologies. My plan, anchored by updated school buildings, a new community center at 35 Montgomery Street and a Neighborhood Rehabilitation fund will create a City-wide all-season, walkable campus for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. Culture and arts, dining and education will fill our daily lives with new recreational possibilities as the City utilizes its parks and public places for the assets they are.
My plan creates strong physical, economic and social linkages between the North and South sides, the Waterfront and Main street to reverse the decisions that segregated this city. We are a city of neighbors, and my plan will enhance the cultural, artistic, and historic assets that bring us closer together. Rebuilding our tax base and forging a reliable path to the middle class for all residents will be hard work. But communities can grow by choice or by chance. My plan chooses growth that leaves no one behind. My plan is Poughkeepsie’s chance to develop on its own terms.