PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- Folks in the Peekskill area looking for a place to stay just have to follow the yellow brick road.
A $10.4 million Holiday Inn Express and Suites at 2 John Walsh Boulevard had its grand opening on Thursday, July 24. The hotel has a yellow brick road out front in honor of "The Wizard of Oz." Author L. Frank Baum was told to follow a yellow brick road when he arrived in Peekskill to attend Peekskill Military Academy.
Characters from "The Wizard Of Oz" were in costume and sang "Ease On Down The Road" from "The Wiz."
The 76-room hotel is the first platinum LEED (Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design) certified hotel in the Northeast. The property is owned by George Liaskos and managing partner Monika Wojcik and managed by Coakley & Williams Hotel Management Company.
Mayor Frank Catalina said the hotel would bring jobs and tax revenue into the city.
"It gives people a reason to come here," Catalina said. "Peekskill is the gateway to the Hudson Valley. When you make your way up here, now you have a great place to stay. Besides the inn, there was nowhere from here to White Plains for people to stay."
Catalina said if someone stays at the Holiday Inn, he recommends they head downtown and check out Peekskill's many restaurants. The hotel languished for years as it attempted to get funding.
"We are a new administration and we are open for business," Catalina said. "No project will flounder for six or seven years under my watch. You have my word on that."
County Legislator John Testa said this means a lot to the city. The hotel was first proposed when he was mayor of Peekskill in 2007.
"We are getting a property back on the tax rolls," Test said. "This brings a needed service to the region."
Testa said this hotel will allow for baseball tournaments at Peekskill Stadium and will make it easier for families planning events in the city.
"This is a big shot in the arm for the community's economic development," Testa said. "This makes Peekskill more of a destination."