Civilian Complaint Review Board Now on Books


By Regina Clarkin

After nearly a decade of starts and stops, Peekskill has a Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB). The Common Council unanimously passed a Local Law #6 on Monday creating a police oversight committee. The law was given impetus by an 2020 executive order from then Governor Cuomo in the wake of national protests following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

The Civilian Complaint Review Board was the subject of a public hearing at the beginning of the meeting, and NAACP President Valerie Eaton spoke to the organization’s work since 2015 that went into crafting the legislation. 

She especially noted the effort of former NAACP Criminal Justice Chairman Derek Wright and Croton Cortlandt Indivisible representative Jay Forbes, along with the Police Reform Task Force, which was commenced in 2020.  In detailing the history of how a CCRB came to be in Peekskill she cited the groundwork that was laid by former NAACP President Martin McDonald and Criminal Justice Chairman Sam North, who started the formal discussions between citizens and police officials.  She said the creation of the board is a “monumental event, something that goes down in history as one of the good things for Peekskill.” 

Two citizens commented via email to the City Clerk regarding the CCRB. Nicola DiMarco suggested that in addition to CCRB members receiving training from police organizations, that training is best understood when supplemented and utilized by civilian organizations that monitor police forces and official misconduct. DiMarco suggested some groups that could provide resources to the CCRB. 

In another action regarding policing Monday night, the Council authorized City Manager Matt Alexander to enter into an agreement with Westchester County for a Mobile Crisis Response Team. The Mobile Crisis Response Team will be a joint effort between the police department and mental health professionals through the county’s Department of Mental Health. The two will work in partnership when dealing with individuals suffering from mental or emotional issues. Both agencies will be responding together to calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Crisis Response Team will be placed with the Peekskill Police Department and will have an office within the department in the near future. 

A third public hearing, regarding a zoning text amendment allowing transitional housing in the manufacturing zone on Lower South Street, drew many more citizens looking to speak than those who came forward about the CCRB. The Council opened the hearing and will continue to listen to comments at its August 15 meeting. 

The zoning change would allow Caring for the Hungry and Homeless (CHHOP) to occupy a proposed 20,000 square foot facility to be built by developer Abraham Rosenberg. 

Model of new CHHOP building proposed by Abraham Rosenberg

City Planner Jean Friedman told the council that the Planning Commission made a positive recommendation for the zoning change, but wanted the Council to reconsider the number of parking spaces required for the building – along with consideration of the maximum number of client beds allowed.

Business owners from the Blue Mountain Shopping Plaza off Welcher Avenue (across the street from the proposed homeless shelter) voiced their fears about how the perception of unhoused people nearby would impact their businesses. 

Supporters of the proposed shelter cited the need for a facility that would provide a kitchen – something the current shelter on North Water Street does not have – and additional space for vocational training of clients. 

In the 25-item agenda, the Council took action on a number of matters, including opening the bidding for paving of the following streets: Lower Washington Street (Welcher to City Line), Brown Street (So. Division to Broad), Park Street (Broad to Charles), Maple Avenue (Riverview to Broad), Elm Street (Maple to Wells), Larch Court (Hamilton to Main), Frost Lane (Carhart to Stacey Ct), Washington Street Ramp (South to Central), Catherine Street (Reynolds to Pemart), Charles Street (Main to Park), Armstrong Avenue (Main to Park), Southard Avenue (Main to Park), Westchester Avenue (Horton to Howard), Oakridge Parkway (Seymour to End), Kossuth Place (No. Division to Buena Vista), Buena Vista Avenue (Oakwood to End), Water Street (Main to End), Park & Recreation Office parking lot.

The Council also took action related to the 2019 $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), authorizing the city to enter into an agreement with Aspect 120 Landscape Architects for $76,000 to draft design and construction documents to enhance Pugsley Park as a downtown attraction and enhance Monument Park as a gateway to the city. 

Monument Park is an entrance to the city from the Highland Ave. and N. Division St. area.

A second item awarded a similar contract to Syracuse-based Barton & Loguidice to begin planning for two other DRI initiatives: one titled “Connectivity” whose aim is to “improve connections for pedestrians and cyclists between the waterfront and downtown”; and another referred to as “Civic Hub” – with a goal of creating “a downtown civic hub and improv(ing) the downtown public realm”.

The next stage for each contractor includes holding public planning sessions for the proposed improvement projects.

And the Business Improvement District asked for street closure for a later time this Saturday for its music festival due to the hot weather expected. The festival will now begin at 4 p.m. and go until 10 p.m. Seven bands will perform live on two stages at the Peekskill Music Festival. The music is free and open to the public. There will be kids activities, food trucks, indoor and outdoor dining options at participating restaurants, arts, crafts and community vendors, and a wide selection of cold draft beer for purchase.


The volunteer firemen have petitioned for the use of Riverfront Green from August 18 to 22 for a carnival to fundraise for next year’s parade and fireworks. The Council authorized the use of the park from 2 to 9 p.m. each day.