Beacon Plans Community Forums

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Will address police reform, budget, climate

The Beacon City Council plans to hold the first of a series of quarterly community forums at 10 a.m. on April 30 at the Tompkins Hose fire station.

The council agreed in January to hold public sessions, each with a theme, “to make government more accessible and participatory,” at-large member Paloma Wake said on Wednesday (April 6). 

The April forum will cover community safety and police reform; a second will be held in June to discuss the city’s operating budget and capital plans; and the third forum, planned for September, will examine climate goals and green infrastructure. A topic has not been set for the fourth forum, which is tentative for December. 

The forums are inspired by the Ecological Citizen’s Project, which has run numerous community-engagement projects, including the Philipstown Community Congress, a 2017 initiative organized by Jason Angell and Jocelyn Apicello, who own Long Haul Farm in Garrison and are active in climate change and food security issues.

“The purpose here is we want to gather ideas and feedback from the public — not just pitch ideas that we as a council already have,” Wake explained during the council’s March 28 workshop. 

Beacon Planning Board

The Beacon Planning Board has a stacked agenda for its Tuesday (April 12) meeting, which will take place at City Hall at 7 p.m. 

  • The board will continue a public hearing on the proposed three-story, mixed-use building at 364 Main St.
  • It will continue its review of applications for a three-story development at 172 Main St., a 62-unit development on West Main Street and the redevelopment of the historic Tioronda Estate, which includes the former Craig House psychiatric center. 
  • It will review an application for an indoor and outdoor event space at 4 Hanna Lane, across the street from Memorial Park. 

On April 30, Beacon residents will be asked to consider the question: What is a key aspect of community and public safety that is missing or requires improvement and that the city should provide?

That could include law enforcement as well as health care, food, housing and recreational resources — elements that, together, “encourage critical community connections, a sense of unity and belonging that are critical to our shared safety,” council members wrote in an outline for the forum. 

Beginning tomorrow (April 9), residents or groups of residents may submit ideas addressing the question and, in one to two sentences, offer a solution that’s within the scope of municipal government. An online submission form has been posted on the city’s website at bit.ly/BeaconCQ; paper forms are available at the Howland Public Library, the Recreation Department at 23 West Center St. and City Hall. Submissions are due by 4 p.m. on April 22. 

Individuals or groups submitting ideas will then have three to five minutes during the April 30 forum to pitch their plans to the council. 

Afterward, the council will publish a ballot online and in the same locations where submissions were collected. City residents, whether they attended the forum or not, will be able to vote on the best proposals for the city to pursue. 

The April 30 forum was initially planned to cover recreational needs in the city before the council pivoted to the community safety idea.

During the March 28 workshop, Mayor Lee Kyriacou noted that the city has already held three public safety forums in conjunction with the state-required Police Reform and Modernization Collaborative Report and also created a citizen advisory committee. “I’m not sure if [another forum] is going to give us new material,” he said. 

“I don’t think there’s a limit to how many ways people can feel safe,” Council Member Justice McCray responded. “I would like to make sure I’m hearing from everyone.”

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