The Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program puts Poughkeepsie's economy in the middle of the 100 metro areas it measures. Most of those "middle" cities have some mix of government, education, health care, professional services, and food service, says Mark Muro, policy director of the program.
But that did not insulate Poughkeepsie economically.
As a result of the recession, the city's revenues fell $3.5 million, and Mayor John Tkazyik had to cut the city's workforce by 10 percent, mainly through attrition. "We cut overtime, we cut contracted services, we are cutting out the waste," says Mr. Tkazyik in an interview at his office.
But at the same time, the city is attracting developers through various incentives. At least 35 projects – ranging from condos to new medical facilities to a $25 million office and shopping complex on the banks of the Hudson River – are in the works, says Michael Long, the city administrator. "We have a handful of developers who want to turn this city around," he says.
One of those is New York-based Hudson-York Capital, which has invested in a number of mixed-use projects. "I am optimistic about the economy," says Jacob Frydman, the firm's managing partner, adding that Poughkeepsie has a good combination of culture, mass transit, and affordable homes.