Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

City celebrates new Pugsley Park, state grants for development


If a journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step, then the pathway to the City of Peekskill’s vision of 1,000 new apartments was launched with the celebration of a beautiful new park on Main Street this week.

Speaking to a crowd of public officials and residents on Tuesday, June 11, City Manager Matt Alexander called the grand opening of the new $1.2 million Pugsley Park the anchor project of Peekskill’s downtown revitalization initiative.

City Manager Matt Alexander told those gathered for the opening of the park that Peekskill is ready for the challenge of creating housing in areas that are underutilized and blighted. (Photo by Jim Roberts)

“The city knows of nine locations within two blocks of this park where just over 400 units could be built,” Alexander said. “There are over 600 units ready to be built at the riverfront area. We are very grateful that the governor has this problem on her radar and that we could be a part of the solution for New York state and for Peekskill.”

The marker from Friendly Town Association in 1936 acknowledging the gift of Cornelius Amory Pugsley to the city of Peekskill in 1931. (Photo by Chloe Trieff)

Peekskill used a portion of its $10 million state Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant money awarded in 2019 to completely rebuild the rundown park on Main Street into a crown jewel.

The park follows a gentle slope down from Howard Street onto Main and features dozens of native tree and plant species and a passive storm water management infrastructure. A huge panel of ten paintings by local artists creates a colorful feature of public art along the west boundary.

“We believe this design deserves an award for Aspect 120 Landscape Architecture,” Alexander said. “They helped us highlight the past by preserving discreet aspects of the original park and enhancing views toward St. Peter’s Church while making the space more functional for residents.”

Another piece of the city’s grand vision for revitalization was delivered last week when New York state awarded Peekskill a $10 million housing infrastructure grant.

“Peekskill is uniquely ready and qualified to enact this vision of a growing city that is pro-housing and ready to take on the task of putting the infrastructure in place needed by the city to support new growth,” Alexander said. “So it’s appropriate that the City of Peekskill envisions using the $10 million from Momentum Fund to continue hardening its infrastructure along the corridor of its downtown revitalization area.”

Next steps, putting plans into action

State and city officials attended the Pugsley Park reopening to mark the start of the next steps in Peekskill’s development plans. Common Council members Brian Fassett, Ramon Fernandez, Rob Scott and Deputy Mayor Patricia Riley were on hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon along with state assemblywoman Dana Levenberg and County Legislator Colin Smith.

Deputy Mayor Patricia Riley is flanked by state and county officials as she cuts the ribbon. (Photo by Jim Roberts)

“I am so pleased that Gov. Hochul and the state of New York recognized the need for not only housing but affordable housing,” said Deputy Mayor Riley. “They have provided grants including the Momentum Fund in the hands of municipalities like Peekskill that are committed to using the money for infrastructure improvements that will support nearly 1,100 units of housing in the region.”

Westchester’s Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins congratulated Peekskill’s elected officials and professional staff members on their success in moving projects and progress forward.

“Because of the work that you all do together, not just at Pugsley Park but at Depew Park and all the other projects, we at the county level are going to help keep moving things forward, including at the [proposed] Boys & Girls Club in the Kiley Youth Center and we’ll see how that goes along.

“Peekskill is that shining star on the Hudson. People look around and say congratulations on the Momentum Fund, the pro-housing designation, but that only happens because of all the people in Peekskill through the commitment and empathy and passion that all of us have for your city,” Jenkins said.

Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins tells the crowd that Peekskill is a shining star on the Hudson. (Photo by Jim Roberts)

Alexander thanked the many individuals and agencies that all contributed to the city’s recent progress including Gov. Kathy Hochul, state officials, the state Empire Development Corp. and the Department of State.

“Peekskill planning staff member Peter Erwin and Planning Director Carol Samol deserve special recognition for managing over $50 million in funding currently and they have their ear to the ground for more to come. I also want to thank Jean Friedman, the former planning director, who was  quite instrumental in some of the achievements here today.”

Others recognized by Alexander included state senator Pete Harckham, the Peekskill Arts Alliance, Hudson Valley Museum of Contemporary Art, the Peekskill DRI Resident Advisory Committee, Con-Tech Construction Technology, Peekskill DPW foreman Mark Fetzer and former Peekskill videographer Mike Miner.

Peekskill’s pivotal position in providing new housing

The high cost of housing remains a stubborn thorn in the side of the battle against high inflation. New supply is desperately needed but faces many obstacles. Alexander said Peekskill is ready for the challenge and the push by Gov. Kathy Hochul to address the issue is vitally important.

“The Governor’s plan comes at just the right time because Peekskill is ground zero for the mid-Hudson housing crisis in New York state. Our DRI projects will be completed next year and we have already begun mapping out where new development might transform blighted underutilized structures in our city,” Alexander said.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
  • Pugsley Park, a $1.2 million renovation, is the anchor of dowtnown revitalization. (All photos by Jim Roberts).

  • Displays illustrated the city’s art and wayfaring funded by the state DRI grant, awarded in 2019.

  • Renderings of housing completed or in planning stages.

  • Peekskill’s Summer of Parks include Pugsley, Charles Point and Depew.

  • Recent state grant of $10 million will go towards infrastructure.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right

“The city of Peekskill and Westchester County are not strangers to the housing crisis. Peekskill along with Westchester has been long been plagued with constantly rising costs of living.

“Before the pandemic, millennials out of Brooklyn and new Americans found Peekskill to be a diamond in the rough for their tastes. It is a city that embraces wholeheartedly its diversity and values each and every voice about its future,” said Alexander.

About the Contributor
Jim Roberts
Jim Roberts has been in this business for more than 35 years (hard to believe) and still learning every day. A third-generation Peekskill resident, he started as a lowly researcher at the Westchester Business Journal in 1986 and learned how to be a reporter from many veterans in the field. He’s worked in private companies, Connecticut state government and wrote for the Co-op City Times for 10 years before retiring from full-time work in 2019. Roberts wants to contribute to building the Herald into a news website for residents who care about what’s happening in Peekskill.