GovernmentThe Northern Westchester Examiner

McKenzie Declares State of Peekskill is Strong in Address

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Peekskill Mayor Vivian McKenzie delivered her annual State of the City Address last week, declaring “The state of the city is strong. We’re doing well.”

McKenzie, the city’s first female African American mayor, spoke for almost an hour April 8 in a packed City Hall chambers that included guests Westchester Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, State Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg and Buchanan Mayor Theresa Knickerbocker.

She highlighted the diversity of the city, with 44% of Peekskill’s 25,704 residents being Hispanic, 30% White and 22% Black.

“Peekskill is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Westchester,” McKenzie said during her third formal address. “You can find everyone living here in Peekskill.”

As the city grows, McKenzie mentioned the need for Peekskill to develop a Comprehensive Plan, saying, “It’s a long time coming.”

McKenzie said currently 11.7% of Peekskill’s 1,216 households are living below the poverty threshold, emphasizing the importance of the city having more affordable housing. Since 2018, 485 affordable units have been built.

“The city is working hard to make sure we are providing affordable housing,” McKenzie said. “This is an exciting time for planning and development in Peekskill.”

Peekskill is stepping up enforcement efforts to make the city cleaner and safer. A traffic safety task force will be created this year, with one of its missions addressing pedestrian safety. McKenzie noted there were 19 vehicular crashes at the intersection of Broad and Main St., resulting in three pedestrian injuries.

“These are really a big concern for the City of Peekskill,” she said.

McKenzie said the city is also looking to crack down on illegal cannabis sales, stressing there are currently no dispensaries in Peekskill that are fully licensed.

The Peekskill Police Department has instituted a park, walk and talk program with an emphasis on community policing.

“It’s not about arresting people. It’s about building community for betterment and quality of life for all,” McKenzie said.

Besides quality-of-life issues, McKenzie said climate change and dealing with inflation were the biggest challenges facing Peekskill.

The Common Council approved a 2024 budget with a 2.6% tax hike, appropriating $2.1 million from fund balance, leaving the city with more than $15 million for emergencies.

“The city is implementing changes that will minimize the budgeted use of fund balance to ease the city into sustainability in 2025,” McKenzie said. “If we don’t take action now going down the road we will be in trouble.”

Meanwhile, McKenzie said Depew Park and Pugsley Park will soon be open to residents following substantial upgrades. In early 2025, extensive renovations are slated to begin at The Paramount Theater.


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