Last year was a tough one Peekskill, as the economic troubles witnessed across the country manifested locally in the form of layoffs and cuts to some services.
Still, Mayor Mary Foster said the city remained fiscally sound during her state of the city address Monday night. Foster said that the city has maintained prudent fund balance which, combined with grants and outside investors, will lead to more opportunities for the city in the future.
“The past five years have been difficult as the nation suffered a deep recession and a slow recovery,” Foster said. “The housing market in New York State has stabilized, but is slow to recover, state and federal funding continue to diminish, and city spending has finally come into line with significantly reduced revenues. In spite of all the challenges, the City’s staff has continued to rise to the occasion with creativity and sound ideas.”
Foster said the continued development of the waterfront and business district are key focal points in the coming year. Bob Knight, a spokesman for the Common Council, said 24 of the city's 27 economic development projects are moving forward in 2013.
Some of those projects include:
- Reopening the Paramount Theater
- Opening of the Holiday Inn Express
- Groundbreaking for Scenic Hudson Park at Peekskill Landing
- Groundbreaking for the Southern riverfront park improvements
- Groundbreaking for the Central Firehouse
- Engaging a developer for Lower South Street
“Connecting a welcoming waterfront to nearby restaurants and shops, hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts and our downtown is part of a focused strategy that we build upon each year,” Foster said. “The Holiday Inn Express, the newly renovated Inn on the Hudson, the new zoning allowing bed and breakfasts are accomplishments in 2012.”
Foster also listed a number of projects funded by grants and public-private partnerships that are on the horizon. Some of them include:
- Main Street grants for façade improvements and creating 2nd and 3rd floor residential units for properties along South Division and Brown streets
- Historic lights and sidewalk improvements begin on South, Brown and South Division street
- Improvements and enhancements to the Nelson Ave. garage
- Main Street Commons begins construction
- 1028 Main Street will be the site of a new building for an existing downtown business with onsite parking.
Other goals Foster mentioned for this year include:
- Expanding the use of public-private partnerships for redevelopment and revitalization projects
- Expanding online capabilities of doing business with city hall
- Increase the use of technology in city services, code enforcement and public safety
- Strengthening community outreach and leadership in the police department
- Expanding job training and workplace opportunities for the city’s disadvantaged young adults
- Supporting the Housing Authority Board as it continuesto improve the quality of life for the residents, seek grant funds and resolve long-standing issues
Foster also said that she wants to resolve lease issues with the Lincoln Depot Museum Board so that the Visitor Center and Exhibit Plaza can be built.
“As we have learned from recent experiences with city owned property that is leased to nonprofit groups, the city needs accountability from the nonprofit organization for achieving financial and operating measures so that the city can protect the public good,” Foster said.
A copy of Foster’s address is available in the PDF attached to this story.