Beacon, NY- Hudson Valley’s best Success Story

I only included the pre WW-II portion of Beacon in this evaluation.

Beacon was named to commemorate the historic beacon fires that blazed forth from the summit of the Fishkill Mountains to alert the Continental Army of British troop movements. During the 1800s, the city  became a big manufacturing town and was known as “The Hat Making Capital of the US. Its important to note that Danbury, CT makes this claim as well!

But like most Hudson River Valley cities, Beacon experienced economic decline especially by the 60s.and 70s. By 1990 almost 80 percent of the city’s commercial business spaces and factories were vacant. Starting in the late 1990s, Beacon really focused on an art’s based revitalization strategy beginning with the opening of  Dia Beacon, one of the world’s largest contemporary art museums Dia. This spilled over into the Main Street and other historic warehouse buildings.

Main Street has become so successful that quality urban in-fill is starting to fill the gaps. Beacon’s revitalization success has also spilled over into a high standard of living for its residents, quality schools, good parks spaces, and a great array of cultural and walkable retail amenities focused on Main Street. To help make Beacon a great urban environment, I’d like to see better bike and ADA infrastructure along with a strong emphasis on providing affordable housing as this is a pretty high cost place to live. 
Click here to view my Beacon, NY album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Wonderful historic architecture along the main St. Nothing spectacular
 in the residential areas.
* Dwtn Beacon is becoming such a strong market that there is not quality urban in fill being constructed.
* Good public transit in dwtn Beacon, but it drops off in the neighborhoods esp. east of Fishkill Creek. Beacon is connected to the Hudson line providing convenient access to Poughkeepsie. One can even get to Manhattan in 2 hours.
* Over 60% of households are family households.
* Strong middle class community but still with good economic diversity. Great racial diversity as well.
* Excellent main street overall with great vibrancy, streetscaping, and lots of diverse retail and stores.
* Solid park amenities including a great waterfront park, extensive sport fields at Memorial Park, the South Ave Park, and several other smaller community parks. 
* Crime is low here and blight is limited.
* Very nice array of public, private, and parochial elementary schools within the City core. Middle and high schools are to the north more on the outskirts of town.
* Good cultural amenities including a great array of restaurants, bars, and cafes, several nice live music spots, a performing arts center, movie theater, and one of the world’s largest art museums. Also a good array of art galleries and a couple local museums.
* Not surprisingly lots of boutiques, local creative retailers, a small nature grocery store and a full service grocery store, a drug store, a couple bookstores, several bakeries, a cheese shop, and many antique stores. There is also a dwtn library and post office.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Good sidewalk infrastructure but up-to-date ADA curb cuts are rare.
* A short bike lane along the Hudson is the only one in town.
* For sale housing skews expensive but still a good diversity of product. Start homes run in the 200K, 300Ks, medium sized in the 400-500Ks. Top of the market is 600Ks-700Ks.
* Rental housing is also pretty expensive but good amount of product. 1-bedrooms lease in the $1,000s,  2 & 3 bedrooms anywhere from the high $1,000s to $3,000.

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