Sunday, November 18, 2001
Parade marks street reopening
By Elizabeth Lynch
''This is the best thing that can happen,'' said City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Colette Lafuente.
Main Street downtown was closed to traffic in 1973 and turned into a pedestrian mall.
Saturday, after years of planning, the Main Mall was reopened to traffic -- a move city officials
say will help local businesses' bottom line.
''This beginning is great and soon there will be more and more people down here,'' said Lafuente.
In addition to thanking the organizations that worked to reopen the road, Lafuente thanked the
local businesses for their support during the construction.
The $2.25 million project was paid for with state and federal aid.
The parade stepped off from South Hamilton Street and stopped at Market Street for speeches,
performances and a ceremonial ribbon cutting to open the road. The marchers then continued
on to the riverfront.
Lafuente, waving heartily to the crowd, led the parade of a half-dozen community groups, the
Poughkeepsie Steppers, a local dance troupe, fire trucks, police cars, the Wappingers School
District Marching Band and a horse-drawn carriage carrying members of the city council.
Six-year-old Michael Wallace of the City of Poughkeepsie thought the fire trucks and the police
cars were the best part of the parade. His brother and sister, David, 4, and Lily, 2, liked the
horses the best.
Firm to get visibility
Their father, Craig Wallace, said opening the street to traffic will provide his law firm with more
Other shop owners agreed the increased traffic will help their businesses.
''It's wonderful,'' said Mary Abdoo, owner of a bridal shop on Main Street for more than 50 years. ''I haven't seen this many people on the mall in years.''
Dartanyan James, a partner in Jordyn's Jazz Club on Main Street, said now neither he nor his customers will have to walk as far.
''Since you can drive through, you'll get a lot more traffic,'' he said.
City of Poughkeepsie resident Pat Vinson is a little sentimental about the change.
''I want to be part of the celebration,'' she said. ''I'm going to miss where I used to sit in the mall at lunchtime but the other benefits coming will make it better.''
|Spencer Ainsley/Poughkeepsie Journal
During the parade Saturday to reopen the former Main Mall to two-way traffic in downtown Poughkeepsie, Herb and Phyllis Lorenz, of Milton, enjoy the beautiful day in their 1929 Model A roadster.
Spencer Ainsley/Poughkeepsie Journal
Poughkeepsie Mayor Colette Lafuente addresses the crowd gathered Saturday for the official reopening of the former Main Mall.
Applause and cheers greeted the marchers as they paraded down Main Street to mark its reopening to traffic.