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.