Will support collaborative efforts to restore and expand community spaces on city’s Northside
For Immediate Release
Contact: Riley Johndonnell, Communications Director: 415 797 0110; firstname.lastname@example.org
POUGHKEEPSIE (Dutchess County) — Taking important strides to create safer and more inviting places for residents of the city’s Northside to enjoy recreation and spend time outdoors, the City of Poughkeepsie has made recent investments to improve the neighborhood’s two parks.
On March 1, Poughkeepsie’s Common Council unanimously approved a $325,000 bond to fund improvements to Pershing Avenue Park, in addition to $200,000 of in-kind services the city has already provided. Scenic Hudson also has pledged $200,000 to this initiative for the creation of a new community garden and urban farm, and New City Parks will provide $80,000 in in-kind services. Planned improvements will include reconstruction and replacement of the existing basketball court and playground as well as new park furniture and landscaping.
In his State of the City Address on March 30, Mayor Rob Rolison announced a proposed PKGO-Parks Plan, which will commit more than $3 million to restoring aging infrastructure and completing deferred capital projects in a number of parks throughout the city, including the Northside’s Malcolm X Park. The Poughkeepsie Common Council also has expressed the need for a city-wide parks initiative.
Revitalizing Pershing Avenue and Malcolm X parks supports community-based efforts Scenic Hudson is part of to transform neighborhoods along Fall Kill Creek into community-centered assets by linking a number of civic and public spaces on the city’s Northside. Current goals include promoting environmental and food justice, fostering youth leadership and integrating outdoor educational experiences. This initiative will connect the many Northside neighborhoods and Walkway Over the Hudson, and also link with the future trail Dutchess County is creating on the 2.7-mile rail spur it acquired with Scenic Hudson in 2019. Working side-by-side with community members and leaders will ensure projects help meet the expressed needs of Northside residents to have access to safer places to enjoy the outdoors, provide youth with skills that could lead to career pathways, and foster a greater sense of community and belonging.
Lease ensures long-term operation of new community farm
Along with the bond resolution, the Common Council approved a five-year lease agreement with Scenic Hudson to operate the Pershing Avenue Neighborhood Farm on a quarter-acre of the city-owned parcel adjacent to Pershing Park.
The farm will consist of two segments — an educational farm where young people can learn about agriculture and help grow food that will be distributed to local families via Dutchess Outreach, and a community garden with plots available for residents to grow their own produce. The community garden will be launched this spring in collaboration with the Poughkeepsie Farm Project. Scenic Hudson and New City Parks carried out the initial phase of construction, grading and bringing water to the site, installing a safety fence around it, and creating access with paths and a grassy farm road. The YouthBuild AmeriCorps Program of Nubian Directions II, Inc., is building raised beds for the farm, a tool shed and a greenhouse. The educational farm should begin this fall or in the spring of 2022. Those interested in reserving a garden plot or volunteering at the site should contact Scenic Hudson Event and Community Project Manager Anthony Coneski at email@example.com.
The Pershing Avenue Neighborhood Farm is part of a larger initiative to create a neighborhood-focused “park corridor” along Pershing Avenue. It is being spearheaded by the PARKnership — a group of community leaders, municipal representatives and local organizations created to focus on how to improve health and safety for Pershing Avenue neighbors. Partners include Nubian Directions II, St. Marks AME Zion Church, Dutchess Outreach, the Poughkeepsie Farm Project, the Art Effect, New City Parks, Poughkeepsie Alliance and Ecological Citizens Project.
Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison said, “Safe and inviting parks are critical for sustaining a city’s quality of life and attracting new residents. By investing in the renewal of Poughkeepsie’s public spaces, including Pershing and Malcolm X parks, the city will ensure they will meet the recreational, emotional and public-health needs of residents for generations to come. We look forward to working with our many local partner organizations to carry out this important work.”
Scenic Hudson River Cities Program Director Zoraida Lopez-Diago said, “Scenic Hudson is grateful to the City of Poughkeepsie and community partners for making these investments in enhancing and restoring Pershing Avenue Park, and for supporting the construction and operation of the Pershing Avenue Neighborhood Farm. It means Northside residents soon will have exciting new opportunities to enjoy recreation and connect with the outdoors, inviting and welcoming spaces for the community to come together, and close-to-home access to fresh food. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the city and the many other local groups and residents involved in this project and envisioning the Northside, which will be an enormous asset to all of Poughkeepsie.”
Nubian Directions II, Inc, President and YouthBuild Executive Director Robert Wright said, “We are extremely proud to be a partner in creating the Pershing Avenue Neighborhood Farm and in envisioning — and achieving — a brighter future for the Pershing Avenue neighbors via the PARKnership. Work we’re carrying out meets the expressed needs of the community and promises to have a tremendous impact — by supplying fresh produce, improving opportunities for recreation, and perhaps most important, by creating a welcoming space for the community to gather.”
Progress also ongoing at new Scenic Hudson workplace, community resource
Scenic Hudson also is making important progress in transforming a former industrial site on the city’s Northside adjacent to Fall Kill Creek into staff workspace and a vibrant community resource. The organization acquired the 2.11-acre parcel between Parker and Brookside avenues last June. It had stood largely vacant for the last 20 years, after the Standard Gage Company ceased operations there in 2002.
The architecture firm MASS Design Group, which has worked with Scenic Hudson on other revitalization efforts in downtown Poughkeepsie, is partnering on this project as well. As MASS Design begins shaping the design of the property’s public spaces, Scenic Hudson will reach out to the community for input.
Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan said, “Adapting this historic industrial site into Scenic Hudson’s new workplace and community space reflects and deepens our relationship with and commitment to Poughkeepsie, our home for the last 50 years. At the crossroads of Walkway over the Hudson, Fallkill Creek, and the CSX and Dutchess Rail Trails, the site provides an important opportunity to create a literal and symbolic connection point for Poughkeepsie’s Northside. Through ongoing partnerships with the city, local residents and organizations, we look forward to creating a vibrant new resource that will strengthen community access, safety and health.”