Guest Column

An Open Letter to the Yorktown Town Board

The Yorktown Chamber of Commerce proudly serves as the voice of Yorktown’s vibrant business community. A vital part of our mission is to help improve the quality of life for all Yorktowners.

The chamber’s Board of Directors is more ambitious than ever, as we work hard to find new ways to enhance our great community through marketing opportunities and smartly placed commercial and residential development.

Through its expanding activities, the chamber seeks to achieve several goals: benefit our member businesses, improve the local economy, attract new businesses, generate additional tax revenue and help raise property values.

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In our unique and pivotal role as the business agent for Yorktown, the chamber looks forward to working hand in glove with the Town Board on several exciting projects.

For the convenience of taxpayers, listed below is a punch list of high-value proposals that the current Town Board has the good fortune to inherit from the previous administration.

In the spirit of working together to move ahead on these projects in a timely and efficient manner, please feel free at your earliest convenience to update the chamber and all residents on the status of the following:

Roma Building

The owner of this very visible structure on 1.35 acres, at the juncture of Routes 118 and 202/35 in the Heights, is eager to convert it into a mixed-use commercial/residential property. Parking and in/out access can be dramatically improved. The 57-year-old building’s aging bones and facade, from top to bottom, can be architecturally transformed into a beautiful, proud showpiece in the heart of the Heights. The owner’s December 2017 proposal for redevelopment awaits Town Board approval. Please advise what the Town Board’s position is on the Roma Building.

Weyant Project

Situated adjacent to the westward side of Roma Building is a 2.6-acre parcel that local contractor John DeVito will develop into a 36-unit rental community. He awaits Town Board approval of his application for transitional zoning. Please advise what the Town Board’s position is on the Weyant Project.

Highway Garage Revitalization

The long overdue relocation of the Yorktown Highway Department garage to Greenwood Street has far-reaching ramifications for the revitalization of Yorktown Heights, which lags behind the town’s other four hamlets in fulfilling its potential for economic sustainability.

Environmental studies on the garage site have been conducted and the site plan is endorsed by the town Planning Board. More than $1 million in state-funded grant money has been committed, but it will expire unless the Town Board quickly greenlights the project. Once the garage is relocated, sale of the vacant parcel to a developer will fetch the town as much as $2 million. Taking the garage’s place can be a mixed-use office/retail space that would create a halo effect to benefit other businesses in the area.

Placing the highway garage in a more logical and expansive space that can house all the valuable heavy equipment indoors (instead of some of the fleet now exposed year-round to the elements) is more financially responsible than the currently untenable conditions, where equipment wear-and-tear is worsened even when it is idle. Proper care of the fleet will save the town for years to come on costly maintenance bills.

The Greenwood campus also will enable maintenance savings for another town department. Parks and Recreation also will be able to move its equipment indoors at the new site, instead of storing its machinery in containers and on tennis courts at Downing Park. That’s another untenable situation, which needlessly ties up valuable recreation space that now is off-limits to taxpayers.

In addition, the Patriot Park destination that emerges on the garage site will feature ample open space with a town green for walking, sitting, outdoor events and a gazebo, with the Battle of Pinesbridge Revolutionary War statue as a majestic centerpiece. It’s small-town Americana come to life that will boost other local businesses and attract taxpaying occupants for such glaring, long-standing vacancies as Food Emporium. Please advise what the Town Board’s position is on the highway garage relocation.

Conclusion

The aforementioned three projects combined are linchpins in bolstering what amounts to Yorktown’s downtown hub. We anxiously await the Town Board’s response on how the Chamber of Commerce—with its stable of professional experts—can help you make these dreams a reality for the sake of every taxpayer—both residential and commercial—in the Town of Yorktown.

Eric DiBartolo is the president of the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

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