PK Priorities

Poughkeepsie's Most Important Issues

Why Prioritize?

One of the hallmarks of a good plan is that it gets the “big things” right. It identifies a few issues that are so important to a community’s future that they require focused attention and resources to ensure they are handled correctly.

When this doesn’t happen—when communities fail to prioritize—limited resources are spread too thin over too many issues to make a meaningful and lasting difference on anything in particular. When attention and resources are scattered, inaction or half-measures become the norm.

What are PK's Emerging Priorities?

Public engagement efforts during 2021 identified three broad priorities for special focus during the planning process. Those priorities, and key findings about issues related to those priorities, include the following:

Improve residential quality of life

School performance is a damper on family well-being and limits the appeal of city neighborhoods

School quality has a major influence on household location and Poughkeepsie’s schools rank much lower than neighboring districts on basic measures of school performance.

Safety concerns have been heightened during the pandemic

Neighborhood safety emerged as a key concern during the planning process, influenced by an uptick in shootings during 2020 and 2021.

Parks are a tarnished asset with much potential

Parks are receiving an infusion of resources after a period of neglect. There is a sense that parks are not currently the residential asset they have the potential to be.

Expand access to good and affordable housing opportunities

Deteriorated housing prevalent and at risk of spreading

A large share of residential properties (30%) shows signs of deferred maintenance and physical distress, and an even higher share (40%) are vulnerable to decline over the next decade.

Comparatively low prices present opportunities…

Home prices and rents have been rising in the city but still lag behind suburban jurisdictions. Lower values represent opportunities for some.

But housing is unaffordable for a large share of households

Despite generally lower prices and rents, fully 50% of households are cost burdened by their housing (a rate that is unchanged from 2010).

Strengthen civic life and commercial viability

Main Street continues to struggle

The resurgence of downtowns and Main Streets is now commonplace in the region and nationally. But Poughkeepsie’s downtown and Main Street corridor—though improving—is lagging behind noticeably.

Disconnection and disengagement a growing problem

The fading of reliable local news sources and a growing sense of civic disengagement and distrust are not unique to Poughkeepsie. But they are having an impact on the community’s capacity to make decisions and work together, and the north/south divide exasperates this.

Competitive position in region an open question

Growth in Beacon and other areas to the south and a pandemic influx of new residents to Poughkeepsie may suggest that a wave of growth and investment is on its way. But is Poughkeepsie ready for it? And who stands to benefit?

Stay tuned!

As key issues are identified and analyzed, this page will be updated to report what is being learned and how it is shaping the development of the comprehensive plan.