The successes Mayor Mary Foster and the Democratic Common Council have had in reclaiming Peekskills reputation as a destination is rooted in an economic development strategy that is guided by their vision of Downtown Peekskill as a regional hub for arts, culture, entertainment, dining. Ultimately, economic development comes down to four things.
1. Make the cost of doing business in Peekskill minimal, by keeping taxes down and services up.
2. Leverage the Citys existing assets, such as historic downtown buildings, beautiful waterfront and growing arts, music, and dining scene to attract visitors and entrepreneurs and create jobs.
3. Re-develop property that was off the tax rolls, like industrial sites on Lower South Street, to attract technology-based industry and commercial companies that create good paying jobs.
4. Make smart, strategic investments in infrastructure and building stock to enhance the attractiveness of the City
Knowing full well that businesses are looking to develop in communities with low tax rates and a high level of services, Mayor Foster and Democrats on the council have worked to make Peekskill friendly to business by maintaining one of the lowest tax rates in Westchester County, keeping annual rate increases to 1.2%, maintaining a AA credit rating, and providing support to the business community with a City run Economic Development Office.
Over the last four years, Mayor Foster and Democrats on the Council have attracted thousands of visitors to Peekskill, from as far away as Brooklyn, Saugerties, Connecticut and New Jersey by supporting and promoting major entertainment events like the enormously successful Jazz and Blues Festival, Cinco de Mayo Festival, Festa Italiana, Juneteenth Parade and the Peekskill Celebration.
At the same time, Democrats have gotten three rounds of Main St. Grants that have helped make substantial improvements to many historic buildings, streetscapes, lighting, and sidewalks throughout the downtown, changing the face of Main St. These improvements have given local downtown property owners the confidence to invest in renovating their own buildingslike the Te-Amo, Riley, Hugos and Kurzhaus buildings and the Inn on the Hudson.
New local business means new local jobs. In the last four years dozens of new jobs have been created with the opening of new downtown businesses. Of the many new establishments that have opened over the last four years that have created new, local jobs, are Birdsall House, the Quiet Man Public House, Walgreens, 2nd Nature Skate Park, Nellies, the Patio, Guilante Tools, Nutley Heating and Cooling, and several new medical practices.
The city has also been working to utilize properties on Lower South Street to attract bio-technology and agricultural industries to bring higher-paying professional jobs to Peekskill. Their strategy is to aggressively focus on the development of light industry to create a broader job base in Peekskill. Mayor Foster believes that the Peekskill area has a skilled, trained workforce than can help attract businesses to the area.
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