By Aleesia Forni –
Peekskill officials introduced a new economic development initiative that they hope will transform the city into a multimedia metropolis.
At a press conference on Wednesday, The Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce announced its newest division, Art Industry Media (AIM). Officials said the goal of AIM is to promote Peekskill and the surrounding territory as a media hub for the lower Hudson Valley.
Ben Green, chair of the division and owner of 80,000-square-foot business park The Peekskill Hat Factory at 1000 N. Division St., said the chamber created the initiative to advocate for the continued growth of the creative arts industry in the city.
The city’s proximity to New York City, ease of transportation and competitive commercial and residential real estate are some of the assets of Peekskill that make it “a uniquely favorable media business environment.”
Green added that a number of these media companies have already congregated in Peekskill, noting that 40 percent of his tenants are engaged in the arts or other creative industries. Many of these companies found themselves priced out of New York City.
“Because the city of Peekskill invested so heavily in creating an artist community, there’s now a uniquely concentrated and qualified creative workforce,” Green said. “That’s important. That means businesses can come in here, come up here to Peekskill, and tap into this foundation that’s already laid before.”
To promote the initiative, the chamber scheduled a weekend of events on March 24 and 25 that include a panel discussion on economic development and the media, poetry readings, film screenings and a reception at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art.
Participating organizations include Westchester Community College, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill Arts Alliance, Peekskill Film Festival and Peekskill Clay Studio.
For more information, visit artindustrymedia.com.