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Peekskill Officials Receive Bids for Paramount Management, Chamber Wants More Input

Peekskill officials announced three bids have come in for operation of the Paramount Center for the Arts. Deb Milone, director of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, believes the chamber should be part of the review process.

As Peekskill officials continue to move forward with their search for a new management team at the Paramount Center for the Arts, members of the business community are expressing frustration over their lack of input.

Officials have received three proposals to manage the Paramount, which closed earlier this year due to financial difficulties. The deadline to submit proposals was Wednesday and the interested parties are expected to give their presentations and be interviewed on Jan. 7.

The final selection is scheduled for Jan. 14.

Bob Knight, a spokesman for the City of Peekskill said the city will reveal who submitted the proposals—possibly as soon as next week.

Deb Milone, executive director of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, sent out a letter earlier this week expressing disappointment that the chamber, which represents 440 businesses in the area, was left off the review committee for the Paramount’s next operator. The letter can be read here.

“We have learned informally that the Peekskill BID Director has been appointed to the review committee and we agree, Jason Angell, is a good choice and will represent the best interests of the Downtown,” Milone wrote. “But this "downtown Peekskill only" way of moving forward is short-sighted when it comes to business and is one reason for the Paramount's closure.  The Paramount must be viewed within the context of being a regional attraction.”

Knight acknowledged that the chambers is an important and deeply respected voice for area businesses. But he said Mayor Mary Foster felt the Chamber’s close ties to the Paramount’s former operator might compromise their ability to bring a fresh approach to the project.

“Once the new operator is named, the City looks forward to collaborating with the Chamber and other groups to further Peekskill’s economic growth,” Knight wrote in a statement.


Milone said the Chamber is a non-political independent entity that advocates for business.

"We care very much about the future of the Paramount Center for the Arts and believe we can help ensure its success," Milone wrote in a response. “We remain disappointed in the City’s decision to exclude the largest business association in the region from the committee, a committee whose make-up still has not been made public.”

A copy of the city’s request for proposal can be found in the PDF attached to this story.

joshua tanner December 21, 2012 at 11:17 AM
"The Paramount must be viewed within the context of being a regional attraction.” That is 100%true
jo December 21, 2012 at 12:28 PM
would like it to be out of the city's hands.. private all the way.. functioning well and paying taxes..
Joanie Sirefman December 21, 2012 at 12:43 PM
To leave the Chamber out of this process is more than disappointing and shows a lack of trust in an organization that has always acted in the Region's behalf.
Frank a Catalina December 21, 2012 at 01:03 PM
sad, but this is not surprising. is there no room for a differing view in this administration? the city's response should be read. it states the mayor and council feel the "close ties to the former operator" was the reason the mayor shut out the voice of the entire business community (with all due respect to the BID - which i am a member of; the HVGCC and the business community reaches well beyond the geographic boundries of the BID). so i wonder, did the 6 blind mice go along to get along or did they too believe excluding the business community was another "great" idea? i dont recall any meetings where this exclusion was discussed or debated, let alone voted upon and it clearly is not executive session material. lets see what this policy of exclusion results in and hope the paramount isn't 'dark' much longer because we, in the downtown, are dying!
sayitsnotsojack December 21, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Stop it! Since when does any city government ask what amounts to a club to make decisions for what will be allowed to happen in the city. If the HVGCC wanted to have input it could have spoken at the many common council meetings that are held monthly.
leesther brown December 21, 2012 at 02:47 PM
What the "Hell"are we paying a PR firm?!!!!
Peekskill Business December 21, 2012 at 03:12 PM
As an actual taxpaying business owner IN Peekskill, I am glad the Chamber isn't vetting these proposals. First, the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce has interests beyond the taxpayers of Peekskill. With all due respect to the Chamber, this is a Peekskill institution, and the City's first priority should be Peekskill businesses and taxpayers, not Putnam Valley, not Cortlandt, not Croton, which is Mrs. Milone's priority. Her leadership of even that institution hasn't been anything awe inspiring. I'm not sure she has ever even owned a business to understand what local business owners actually go through. My understanding is that the BID is represented here, which despite its problems, I believe will care more about Peekskill businesses than it will about neighboring businesses. Secondly, when it was clear that the existing management of the Paramount was failing, Deborah Milone was running all over Peekskill trying to salvage the existing board and making excuses for its failure. She was either blind, or covering someone's butt, by pretending not to see the gross incompetence of the not for profit that was running it. She was more interested in propping up a failed enterprise and a failed board than she was in getting new management into that place. I'm interested to see what proposals come in and I am hopeful none of them will be buddies with the usual Peekskill crowd.
Frank a Catalina December 21, 2012 at 05:49 PM
im not a member of the HVGCC but i think the point here is that they were SHUT OUT of the process. the excuse offered by the PR guy (they were "too close to the former operator"... whatever that means) just doesnt make sense. would the council be excluded from input on the naming of a new executive director of (for example) the BID because of their "close ties" to the current ex dir? of course not! but that was the stated reason for shutting out the regional business commmunity. milone's job performance has nothing to do with the issue on the table and personal attacks (especially from one without the backbone or courage to even state their name) are inappropriate all the time. HVGCC wasnt looking to MAKE the decisions, just have input. its just common decency but i guess even that is got gutted at city hall
Peekskill Business December 21, 2012 at 06:22 PM
If you ever were at the receiving end of the tirades that comes out of the Chamber, you too might choose not to publish your name. Mr. Catalina, all you have done on this message board is level attacks. That's not what I am doing. But as a member of the HVGCC and as a business owner, I have a right to voice my opinion about its leadership, just like you have about this City's leadership. There are a lot of decisions at the City Council level that I don't agree with. Some in this administration, some in the Testa administration and some in your administration with Mayor Kelley (like tearing down historic structures). On this one though, im grateful for their quick action to seize the theater from the former operators. The point, however, is that in business, if you see bad decisions being made and see excuses for bad decisions or complicity in those bad decisions, you really don't bring the bad decision maker back to the table. Most business owners in Peekskill recognize that the Chamber's leadership was intimately involved in the Paramount and had close relationships with its leadership. So it just makes sense to have fresh eyes. If you cannot see the problem, how do you expect to solve it? Mr. Catalina, like you, we are all entitled to our opinion.
joshua tanner December 21, 2012 at 06:45 PM
"the Chamber's leadership was intimately involved in the Paramount and had close relationships with its leadership. " Really? The Chamber of Commerce was involved with the Paramount? Sounds pretty normal. Your attempt to insinuate something sinsiter just based on an association is weak. "if you see bad decisions being made and see excuses for bad decisions or complicity in those bad decisions, you really don't bring the bad decision maker back to the table. " People should rememebr that on election day. Having lived in Peekskill my whole life I've never seen a mayor and council so univerally unpopular, and with such a wide wake of destruction trailing behind it.
leesther brown December 21, 2012 at 07:13 PM
@Joshua...You have hit the nail on the head....I don't know for sure who Peekskill Business is...!! :)..but it ain't hard to tell!!...#thedevilisaliar..
Frank a Catalina December 21, 2012 at 10:41 PM
to peekskill business: 1. you have the right to your opinion but not your own facts. 2. if you dont have the courage to 'sign' your name to your post, you really dont, IMHO have the right to even post. are you so embittered that you think retalitatory action would be taken against you for publishing your heartfelt opinion? and commenting on milones tenure is a cheap cowards shot not worthy of print absent a face behind it. 3. i dont think saying the mayor and her subjects are wrong in excluding the overall business community from this, is 'attacking' them. i questioned the real reason; whether the council members really feel the way the PR man spun the response; and if so, what EXACTLY are they talking about and when did they come to that conclusion. maybe uncomfortable questions (asking anyone to explain a bad decision usually is) but not an 'attack'. 4. getting back to #1, about your 'facts', first its "kelly" not "kelley". second, nobody tore down a historic building... and i have a federal judges opinion on that issue as well as setting forth exactly what that administration did. feel free to stop by my office and read all about it anytime you want... BTW, you wont miss my building, its the only one with lights "on" on this previously beautifully lit "broadway-like" block..... the one that used to have hundreds of people walking around every weekend spilling foot traffic onto restaurant row that is now like a ghost-town. have a nice weekend.
Francis T McVetty December 24, 2012 at 09:15 PM
There we go again, letting the "government" get involved with something they know very little about, PRIVATE BUSINESS. You can see how that has turned out with green energy.
R Rice December 26, 2012 at 09:00 PM
In that it is a completely amiguous grouping of english language "words," with no real definition, I guess you could say it is true. Other than that, I think it's "newspeak" for "we who have no fiscal obligation, want our say too..."
john simon December 30, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Its just a shame the paramount could not get the money needed to keep the place going.

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