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$15M Price Tag For West Nyack Revitalization

Proposal given to town board includes street, drainage, park improvements, increased parking and utilities relocation.

 

The West Nyack Revitalization plan presented at Tuesday night’s town board workshop amounted to $15 million. The multifaceted project included streetscape enhancements, drainage upgrades, park improvements, increase parking and relocation of utilities.

When councilmembers questioned the price, Public Works Administrator Ed Lettre said the design and engineering team was asked several years ago to look at the hamlet’s downtown area and come up with a plan. Since no dollar amount was set at the time, he described the proposal given to the board as the “Mercedes plan.”

After Councilmember Shirley Lasker said the board needed the “Ford Focus Plan,” several West Nyack residents objected and that their hamlet should not be overlooked any longer. They pointed out New City had considerable work done on its downtown area and other hamlets like Nanuet have seen improvements. Lettre said New City's South Main Street Revitalization ran about $15 million. 

“It’s about time we got something back,” said Bert Dahm, adding the drainage part of the project is imperative. 

“We want our community back,” said Maddy Muller. “We want a chance to revitalize.”

John Behan, principal of Behan Planning & Design, said his firm and H2M worked on the physical aspect of the hamlet’s revitalization for about two years. He described the different sections of the proposal. 

The Streetscape improvements, which would consist of new sidewalks, crosswalks, curbing, lighting, benches, trees and expanded parking, would cost $7.8 million.  He said it would make a difference in the downtown area and that the changes would maintain the historic flavor.

“It will become very much a 'walkable' center,” said Behan.

The  Streetscape improvements would radiate out from the hamlet center. In some areas such as along Strawtown Road the sidewalk is blocked by telephone poles and fire hydrants. Behan said that would be corrected.  He said a sidewalk would be added along West Nyack Road up to Crosfield Avenue.  On Sickeltown Road, the narrow sidewalk would be replaced with a wider one.

The drainage improvements, estimated at $2.2 million, would include the creation of two detention basins.  The north basin would be located near the US Post Office and the south basin behind the town park.  Behan said the combination of basins and raising West Nyack Road by six to 12 inches would lessen the likelihood of that area being impacted in the event of a 100-year flood.

“It’s all to accomplish minimizing the flooding in that area,” said, Steve Hyman, H2M’s director of civil engineering.  

Behan described the park improvements would include installation of a playground, walking trail, kiosk, picnic area and expanded parking at a cost of $350,000.  The relocation of utilities would run about $1.4 million. The elements discussed Tuesday night did not add up to the $15 million figure but totaled almost $12 million.

Supervisor Alex Gromack suggested council members review the proposal and ask questions of the design and engineering firms.  He said the revitalization plan would be further discussed at a future board meeting. 

Kevin Roy October 18, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Again, I'm not sure if these improvements are going to raise taxes and if so, materially. However, if the town doesn't make improvements, wouldn't the counter argument be that businesses would leave or not consider our town as a viable alternative to other areas? The flooding is an issue that needs to be addressed if they hope to rent the unoccupied stores. Until that's done, there will be no tax revenue generated for the town. Your issue seems to be with rising taxes and I don't disagree that it's a problem. But, are these improvements the driver or are there other expenses that need to be addressed?
Lynn Teger October 18, 2012 at 05:25 PM
As a commercial real estate broker almost 20 years, serving Rockland County, I can verify for you that high taxes are the number one problem for small businesses in Rockland County today. Since any government entity is funded by taxpayer money it will be the taxpayers that pay for these improvements, whether it be local taxes, or grants funneled through other government agencies, the State or the Federal government. No matter how you look at it, it is the taxpayer that is paying for sustainable development projects. What needs to be addressed is the high cost of taxes. The taxes are the driving force.
Lynn Teger October 18, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Also, I was at the workshop when this project was discussed. If you notice, the article states, "After Councilmember Shirley Lasker said the board needed the “Ford Focus Plan". Ms. Lasker herself admitted that the Town could not afford a $15 million project, indicating that the Town cannot afford $15 million for this project.
lets talk reality..Nyack...Piermont...both river towns...on a given weekend you will perhaps meet visitors from NYC...New Jersey..they are both poised near a great river.both towns the only places nearest NYC on the west side above the george washington bridge..they are scenic...safe...easy to park and walk...Yet..ask a shopkeeper in both towns hows business? many will say not like it used to be..not even on a weekend...now that is reality... great places having less activity...so in contrast...a few sidewalks..lining a busy narrow road is going to revitalize the area?attract new people??I guess its the same thinking that all the ringmasters in clowntown thought was going to happen to main street new city..people arent attracted to more stores in little malls...or more yogurt places..in fact...I stand corrected...the new yogurt store in the clakrstown mall..does attract large crowds of kids.and families..on most nights there are crowds of people..I dont know how that is effecting the other ice cream places on main street..
Kevin Roy October 19, 2012 at 06:15 PM
I'm happy to hear Councilmember Shirley Lasker talk about affordability/budgets. For the past five years (2007 - 2011), the town's General Fund has averaged total expenditures that exceed total revenues by 3.9% (I removed the $15mm landfill sale in 2008 from revenue).

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