Possible Agreement Between Nyack, Riverspace Would Move Along Superblock Project

The village has drafted a tentative agreement that—if signed—would allow both parties to move toward initiating the Superblock project

Nyack officials are in the process of drafting a document that would outline the village's role and Riverspace's role in carrying out the proposed .

The document is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), a preliminary, non-binding deed that sketches out how both groups will work together to move forward with the downtown overhaul. Tentatively, the Superblock project would transform the Riverspace building, nearby parking lots, M&T Bank and other areas on Main Street into a residential, commercial and cultural space.

"The Village has determined that it is in the best interests of [Nyack] to facilitate redevelopment, enhance attractiveness and advance economic interests in its downtown area," the document reads.

(Read more about the different overhaul proposals .)

"The purpose [of the MOU] is to put into agreement that Riverspace and the village will contribute significant assets to redeveloping this area," explained Walter Sevastian, Nyack's village attorney.

According to the document—which Riverspace has yet to sign or officially weigh in on—Riverspace would be charged with funding the project's $200,000 pre-development account. This includes securing money for planning, legal and consulting purposes.

Riverspace would also work to obtain the portions of the 3.65 acres that are privately owned—like the Millbrook and M&T properties—and launch a campaign to raise $2,000,000 for the proposed cultural centerpiece.

Nyack would be tasked with the bulk of the work, like developing a budget, seeking state and federal aid, helping fundraise and working alongside developers.

"At the end of the day it's a village project," noted Nyack trustee Steve Knowlton.

Knowlton was also quick to point out the MOU is an early step in the process, and the project is still very much in its nascent stages.

"We can't move on the assumption that there will be redevelopment," he said. "Developers will tell us whether it will work or not… the thrust of this agreement [the MOU] is to get us to that point."

The document notes that if either party fails to meet their requirements, the MOU can be terminated.

Village officials said the draft will be ready to be voted on later this week. In the meantime, Sevastian will work out smaller, semantic kinks in the document, like whether the area will include a "cultural" arts center or "performance" arts center. Trustees are more comfortable with the word "cultural."

"Historically we have struggled with performing arts," said trustee Jen Laird-White. "We should give developers an option, and [cultural] arts are more inclusive."

nyack ace April 25, 2011 at 08:30 PM
attract better performers for the arts center. tarrytown has big name performers at their music hall. entice acts to stop in nyack before they perform in the city. use rosie as a resource person along with demme. upper nyack has many people that work in the theatre and tv. get to these people for suggestions for performers. the old playhouse was cool because it had famous performers doing cool plays. we've had oriental acrobats and some rockland almost famous. really.... combine dinner and a show specials. before you do anything, fix the damn parking problem. this is one of your biggest draw backs.
Judy Kurland April 26, 2011 at 03:04 PM
These are difficult times to raise large amounts of money with the state and feds in trouble and people hurting from the economy.. I'd love to see performing arts and cultural activities with occasional "big" names. But if they are too big, the price to attend might become too expensive. And I definitely don't want to see what Helen Hayes Theater used to show - old revivals of musicals. More jazz!!
arthur July 16, 2011 at 03:35 PM
I hope they will not increase taxes
Faith Fusillo July 17, 2011 at 06:43 PM
I work in the performing arts. A few years ago I had several discussions with members of the Board of Riverspace about bringing top name entertainment to the theatre; even got The Turning Point involved to co-promote so as to limit Riverspace's financial exposure. The idea of bringing national acts -- such as Etta James, Bo Diddley, Taj Mahal, as well as Spring Valley's own Darlene Love -- was summarily dismissed in favor of "more culturally appealing" entertainment -- such as movies and plays. The Board, afterall, is comprised of theatrical, not music, professionals. The music that was offered after my conversations was a mix of bands who were friends of friends of Board members. I don't know how well the jazz nights did, financially speaking (when offered in the lobby area) but there certainly exists a desire for quality entertainment in Nyack...not limited to the immediate fields in which the Board members work. Do we really need to go to Tarrytown or Pleasantville or NYC to fill those needs when we have a respectable space sitting stagnant?
John Gromada July 18, 2011 at 12:46 PM
well it's hardly a respectable space in its current condition now.


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