Discover more from Tri-State Lookout
Port Jervis and Mayor on Brink of Change
Projects proposed to revitalize downtown Port Jervis were sent to the state for evaluation. Meanwhile, Mayor Kelly Decker looks back at achievements and forward to life without mayoral responsibility.
A decision to send 13 proposed Port Jervis projects to New York State officials for consideration for the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative awarded to the city was made last week at a meeting of the DRI Local Planning Committee of 16 residents and a few state officials.
“The governor's office would be expected to announce the projects moving forward sometime in the early Spring of 2024,” said Mayor Kelly Decker. “Actual work probably won't start until the Spring of 2025. The first project will be whatever can get contracts and contractors in place to begin the work.”
However, he predicted that the Riverside Park recreation project, if approved, would likely begin in the spring of 2025 and be completed in 2026. The $5 million project, for which the city requested $4 million from the state, would add a new pavilion, an “all-inclusive” playground, six pickleball courts, a basketball court, skatepark, mini-golf course, adult fitness area, paved walking trail, new benches and tables, river access capacity and a 100-vehicle parking lot.
“My understanding is that the playground would be suited for kids of different abilities and ages, with physical challenges and perfectly healthy,” said Jim Blanton, an LPC member.
Participation on the LPC was a climactic point in Decker’s closing chapter as mayor. After 10 years in the position, he chose not to run again.
“I have no regrets at all,” he said. “I have pretty much accomplished all the goals I set out to fulfill or at least a version of them. There is always more to do, but I believe it is the time for re-focus and a new vision.”
He summarized what he sees as his most important accomplishments:
“Revitalization of the city itself, from turning the lights back on, both physically on the bridge that had none and downtown, where store fronts were few. Home ownership increased, as the city had about 83% rentals in 2014 and now 63% today, with a conversion of 267 homes from multi-family to single family in the last 10 years. I would also say working with others to bring to Port Jervis, and put Port Jervis on the map for, its hiking and biking trails.”
Asked what he will do with the time he has when he is no longer mayor, Decker said, “No grass will grow under my feet for sure. I have a few ideas but most certainly getting our youth involved, even more, is essential to our city's continued revitalization and sustainability.”
As for involvement with city activities, Decker said, “I will certainly not be a stranger to the activities that happen in my hometown, whether I am a volunteer, a participant or a bystander.”
Community focused news can only succeed with community support. Please consider the various subscription levels.