By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville
Jan. 16, 2019: Unlike national and state government, the village’s legislative “new year” is an April-to-April cycle consistent with municipal law. However, once the calendar turns a new year, the trustees and I also react with a human renewal of purpose, energy, and resolve.
As we conduct our first trustees’ meeting of 2019 this week, I wanted to share what initiatives are in the pipeline and their various stages of completion.
Avalon Parking Lot. The Avalon parking lot has been long a sought-after parcel of land for village ownership; we will now have title to the lot after truly a decade of starts and stops.
The lot will be designed for the future, with proper drainage, trees to enhance the aesthetics as well as to cool the cars and the blacktop, special scooter parking, safe slots for bicycles, and even a charging station. The removal of the asbestos-filled gas station will also add spaces to the overall inventory. Redesigning the entire walkway from Parkway Road to the Metro-North platform is also part of the plan, as is offering some overnight parking opportunities for nearby neighbors.
Department of Public Works Garage. Frankly, this is a project we have kicked down the road in lieu of infrastructure repairs that appeared more exigent; the condition of the building is unworkable.
Without an overhaul/refurbishment since the mid-1940s, structurally the building is in disrepair and the layout is totally inadequate for the storage of the equipment used in 2019. Most of our vehicles, because of height and dimensions, must be stored outdoors, diminishing useful life by upwards of one-third, and some repairs are forced to be done outside despite the weather. The “yard” of equipment by its nature is unattractive, making Palumbo Place a bit of an eyesore vis-à-vis other village streets.
The plans are not finalized, so the bidding process is not yet under way. During actual construction, Palumbo Place will have to be closed for a period, and we will keep you fully informed of that schedule.
An added plus to the whole Palumbo Place reconfiguration will be additional public parking spaces, which we assume will be used by our Senior Citizens group and area school teachers.
Comprehensive Plan. Ideally, every community should periodically revisit its practices, laws, and goals from 30,000 feet and think globally as to the future health and sustainability of the community. Bronxville’s last comprehensive plan was completed in 2009 and the trustees have made many changes over the last decade. A fresh look at all things Bronxville is prudent and proactive.
As an example, regulations, policies, and priorities will be examined from the residential, commercial, and institutional perspectives. The following is a small sampling of issues that are clearly front burner.
• Optimal length of time for a construction project
• Ratio of open space vs building on a lot
• Tree care and preservation
• Building demolition
• Value of recreational opportunities
• Lighting in residential neighborhoods
• Zoning and planning process
• Attractiveness of business district
• Parking needs
• Condition of underpass
• Lighting and safety
• Traffic patterns
• Stores needed for a vibrant retail mix
In an effort to gauge all the stakeholders’ concerns so our list is as inclusive and comprehensive as possible, we will be disseminating a village-wide survey in the coming months to residents, merchants, people who work in the village, non-profit institutions, and shoppers to ascertain priorities and point out deficiencies.
It is vital that we hear from you, and although the survey is proving lengthy, we strongly ask you to register your opinion.
As a wonderful historic side note re: surveys, when the Girl Scout Cabin burned down, I immediately formed a committee to discuss its future, new plans, etc.
Luckily, I chose former Mayor Sheila Stein to chair the committee. As we looked over possible cabin ideas, Mayor Stein said, “How do we know that the residents want to spend taxpayer dollars on this?” Well, we didn’t! After sending out a survey, it became overwhelmingly clear a new cabin was not at all a taxpayer priority at the time.
Other initiatives for 2019, though perhaps not as large in scope, are the refurbishments of Bacon Woods, our park straddling Kensington and Sagamore Road, and continued discussion/lobbying with Metro-North to improve its property in the village. Increased lighting, near the west side traffic circle, is also in the works, as well as the use of a $400,000-plus state infrastructure grant we won to improve our sewer system.
Farther down the road, but very much on the trustees’ radar, is the condition of the neighborhood in the Paxton/Milburn area and the need for revitalization and aesthetic reshaping commensurate with the character of the rest of the village.
I promise you a productive and positive new year at village hall.
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