State Announces Peekskill’s Winning DRI Projects

Awarded proposals include new bike lanes, streetscape improvement, arts center, and Kiley Center overhaul


By Jim Striebich

After months of public radio silence, the Governor’s office awarded a total of $10 million in state grants to eleven of Peekskill’s proposed Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) projects at a Tuesday morning press conference.

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul at Hudson Room Tuesday.

Speaking before a small audience at downtown’s Hudson Room venue, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul announced the projects selected by a state-appointed panel from a slate of eighteen proposals submitted to the state by Peekskill’s DRI Local Planning Committee in late 2020.

The dozen projects awarded funding include:

    • Create a Downtown Civic Hub and Improve the Downtown Public Realm: Create the Peekskill Plaza on S Division St by converting two lanes to a pedestrian civic space; redesign Gazebo Plaza as the civic heart of Peekskill; improve streetscapes to enhance pedestrian safety and beautify downtown Peekskill. Awarded $1.6 million.

      Image from above of what S. Division St. pedestrian proposal will look like.
    • Redevelop 41 N Division St as a Mixed-Use Building Housing the Peekskill Arts Center, Multi-media Production Spaces, and Apartments: Redevelopment of 41 N Division St (Workers’ Compensation Board Building) as the primary home of the Peekskill Arts Center (PAC) on the ground floor, multi-media production spaces in the basement level, and new micro-apartments on the two upper floors. Awarded $1.6 million.
    • Revitalize the Paramount Theater: Renovations to the building façade and marquee, improved interior spaces for audience and artists, expanded hospitality programs, and upgraded equipment and utilities. Interior upgrades include lighting and sound equipment, stage rigging, accessible seating, flexible seating, and box office renovations. Awarded $1 million.
    • Transform Downtown Peekskill with Public Art: Series of public art installations throughout Downtown Peekskill through a locally administered selection process involving long-time arts organizations in the city. The joint venture includes three proposals, Enlighten Peekskill, Making Connections, and the Five Arches Mural. Awarded $500,000.
    • Improve Connections for Pedestrians and Cyclists between the Waterfront and Downtown: Improve sidewalks and crosswalks, add landscaping and bike lanes on Railroad Ave, S Water St, Central Ave, and South St.  Awarded $1.1 million.
    • Transform the Kiley Youth Center as a New Location of the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester: Renovate the Kiley Youth Center as a new location for the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester. Upgrades include interior/exterior improvements, utilities, and structural repairs providing offices, an art room, computer labs, and cafeteria. Awarded $1.5 million.
    • Downtown Revitalization Fund: Creation of a fund to help small businesses in the DRI area make capital improvements. Eligible activities include facade improvements, small business creation and expansion, solar installations, and adaptation to social distancing guidelines. Awarded $700,000.
    • Implement Public Wi-Fi in Lepore and Pugsley Parks and Low-Cost Internet Service for Bohlmann Towers and Barham Senior Houses: Construct a mesh Wi-Fi network that provides low-cost broadband internet to residents of Bohlmann Towers and Barham House Apartments; free access to a local resource gateway; and free Wi-Fi along the Main St corridor. Awarded $380,000.
    • Enhance Pugsley Park as a Downtown Attraction: Improvements to Pugsley Park including creation of new plazas and seating areas; pedestrian-scaled lighting; small-scale play equipment to attract children; trash cans; bike parking; plantings of trees, shrubs, and flowers; and infrastructure to support power hook-ups and watering. Awarded $313,000.

      Rendering of Puglsey Park
    • Enhance Monument Park, a Gateway into Downtown Peekskill: Monument Park would be enhanced by lighting and maintenance improvements to improve the quality of the public space for daily use by residents. The project proposal seeks DRI funding for lighting; landscaping; and LED informational sign at the bus stop. Awarded $260,000.
    • Reconstruct Fleischmann Pier and Improve Charles Point Park as a Premier Waterfront Destination: Improvements to Charles Point Park to accompany upgrades to Fleischmann Pier (funded through CFA). Park improvements include floating docks, seating areas, landscaping, signage, lighting, and expanded parking. Awarded $180,000.
    • Create a Marketing and Branding Strategy with Wayfinding Signage: Develop a brand for Peekskill that describes the City’s history and culture, create a marketing strategy to communicate the City’s brand and attract new residents, businesses, and visitors, and implement components of the marketing strategy with wayfinding signage. Awarded $500,000.

The announced grants total around $9.7 million of the overall $10 million state DRI award, which Peekskill applied for several times before being named the Mid-Hudson region’s  winning community in 2019. That announcement kicked off a lengthy process that involved forming a local steering committee, an application process, several community charrettes, and submission of recommendations to the state that included detailed project descriptions, renderings, and budgets. 

In announcing the grant money Tuesday, Hochul spoke warmly of Peekskill’s history and character. She mentioned the significance of Abraham Lincoln speaking at Peekskill on his inaugural tour in 1861, and also of the city’s role as a key location in the Underground Railroad.

“Think about this day in the future, and say ‘I was there, when Peekskill was headed toward that peak again. We’re going to reach that mountaintop. And we’re going to get there together.’ The Lieutenant Governor continued, “These projects I’m announcing today will be the very start of that.”