The results of the Peekskill taxpayer paid “Peekskill Downtown Retail Recruitment Study” is in. This study, lasting about a year was presented to the Peekskill Council by Larisa Ortiz of Larisa Ortiz Associates. The results are from 1,711 respondents, about 60% from Peekskill, the rest from surrounding areas. The idea was to find out what people want to see developed on the waterfront and downtown.
Of course the starting point was the artist district, The Paramount Center and the various top notch restaurants. What was being sought was ideas for businesses to supplement this base of destinations of interests. The ideal group desired are those 35 and older with disposable income, as they already make up the majority of visitors and residents who shop Peekskill.
Realizing the available retail space and parking can not accommodate big box stores, the respondents said they wanted more boutique type businesses like clothing, and food. Yet, one obstacle to luring business to Peekskill are the hurdles one has to go through just to get started. The recent saga of the attempt to open a tatoo parlor in the artist district is a case in point. It has taken two years just to change the law to permit it.
Like most local governments, they do not take into account that the endless delays equals time and cost to those seeking to open a business.
The second major obstacle is the perception that still persists and the survey confirmed that people avoid downtown and the waterfront over safety and security. As a local Peekskill business man, I would like to address this. I am part owner of a taxi company licensed out of Peekskill and work the majority of my hours at night. It is my opinion that this perception of safety is not warranted.
Peekskill cabs unlike New York City do not have a barrier between customers and driver. Were safety at night a major concern, don’t you think the cabs would install those barriers? Yes, there have been in the past problems, but that is because like most problems people encounter at night, they put themselves in a position to ask for trouble When one asks for trouble, it generally accepts.
Like you I do read police blotters and know that crime does exist. It also exists in other towns. In reading the blotters you would see that most crime is committed by those who reside outside of Peekskill. It is a testament to the Peekskill Police Department that dealing with a population with more economic disparities than the surrounding area, that they are as on top of the problem that they are. At any given time patrols and “stings” are a constant. Come on down, spend your money, in this case perception is not reality, you will have a safe, good time. This is my opinion, you may beg to differ.
Anthony. J. Bazzo
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