Revitalizing Haverstraw in the Eyes of Bob Baird

persbilde.jpgThere’s no overestimating the value of access to the Hudson River, and so there’s no way to put a price on the promenade being built in Haverstraw as part of builder Martin Ginsburg’s Harbors at Haverstraw development.

The promenade, which will run for 1.5 miles along the riverfront, will cost $14 million to build. Ginsburg will gradually line that part of the river with 850 units of mostly luxury housing.

Think of it like one of those credit card commercials.

New housing replacing mostly abandoned industrial sites: $400 million.

A 12-foot-wide walkway with benches, decorative lighting and historical markers: $14 million.

Public access to 1.5 miles of the Hudson River: Priceless.

Haverstraw and Rockland residents haven’t had easy access to that part of the river since before the village’s day as “Brick Capital of the World.”

Now, with a new era dawning as Ginsburg’s project takes shape, the village is about to undergo a transformation unmatched since the closing of the brickyards.

Driving through the development’s first section on a rare recent evening without rain, a visitor could see people going about life along the emerging riverfront — arriving home to their townhouses, making dinner, watching TV. Although a little taller and on roads a little narrower than my mind’s eye envisioned, it’s easy to see why the townhouses command prices in the $400,000 to $1 million range.

There are other signs of new life. New shops and restaurants; a Rockland Community College satellite campus serving the community; and, after a delay, the Haverstraw Community Center getting its addition.

The parking lot for the Haverstraw-Ossining ferry is surprisingly full on a Monday evening, and there’s funding taking shape for a Haverstraw-Yonkers-Manhattan ferry. With some design changes, a bridge at Short Clove Road will ease access from Route 9W.

Before long, a streetscape project funded with $800,000 from the state Department of Transportation will unfold along Main Street and Broadway. It will expand sidewalks, and add decorative pavers and period street lighting to enhance the outdoor dining experience where appropriate.

Some of the first Harbors at Haverstraw residents have told us they like to drop into the local establishments, using the $100 in “Haverbucks” Ginsburg has given them to promote trips into the village’s downtown.

There will be new and revitalized affordable housing as part of Ginsburg’s project, and the village is also considering a “floating zone,” one that would allow for inclusive affordable housing for seniors and emergency services volunteers.

The above was happily borrowed from The Rockland Journal News, a Gannett Suburban News Corporation. The article was written by reporter and columnist Bob Baird, a Rockland County resident and activist…


3 thoughts on “Revitalizing Haverstraw in the Eyes of Bob Baird

  1. Grew up in Haverstraw, live in West Haverstraw. I was there last week to enjoy a nice dinner with my wife and saw the disaster that is Haverstraw and the reason my family moved out when I was 17. Nothing has changed…not a thing. Walking back to our car, my wife heard catcalls from drunken slobs on the corner, and crossing onto Main Street we laughed at the collection of loiterers standing directly beside the “No Loitering” sign. There is a nice new clock on New Main Street. There are three trendy little hipster food joints trying to cater to the poor, deeply regretful yuppies living near Tilcon. That is all I see new. Revitalization? I see nothing of it.
    Here’s the plan:
    1) two-person foot patrols through Main Street and Broadway stationed out of a substation at the Bank on Broadway and New Main Streets. These officers will patrol and cite any and ALL loiterers as often as they are seen milling about Main and Braodway. MANY tickets will be written collecting revenue for hte town. For each offense, the village rings up $25 in it’s till.
    2) Buy out the slumlords along the river on First Street and along the sidestreets of Main Street. Money? Find it. The TOWN remodels and refurbishes these homes with programs from local BOCES and local technical schools, who would love to train students on actual homes. In turn, they are sold to prospective buyers with heavy local tax breaks designed to lure them in and keep them in.
    3) Designate a large lot of land to parking. Nothing but parking. 25 cents an hour gets you a parking spot to enjoy the town in safety. The lot cameras see to that.
    4) THEN buy the chamring lamplights, brick crosswalks, and repave every single sidewalk in the downtoan area. Rename the downton “Bricktown” complete with an ad campaign in papers as far away as NYC.
    There’s a ton more to say, but who can in this little slot on the site…it’s impossible to speak enough about what needs to happen here.

  2. Haverstraw needs to set standards. They need to let people set up businesses all over the main streets. That includes Main st., Broadway, and New Main St. In order for the village to attract others they need to commercialize the whole village. The members of the village board need to look at Nyack as an example but think of ways how they can make it better. Why are people affraid of making the village have a city-like feel to it? I think that would be great. A friend of mine went to the village to get a permit for a hotdog cart and they told him if he wanted a hot dog cart to go to New York City. I think that is ridiculous! Are these board members out of their minds! Why are they pushing this away? They don’t even enforce requirements for the signs on their store fronts. All store fronts should require nice signs that are all similar. Havestraw has potential to be a great place that attracts people but they won’t be if they don’t allow small changes to happen. Something as simple as a hot dog cart will make a difference.

    1. Jon: You’re right on with this. Unfortunately, most of the people that run the Village government do not share your concept of a more “urban” environment, which only means more revenue and a more vibrant downtown. In the suburbs, as you might know, the word “urban” is something of a dirty word – aligned with “blight,” and “crime,” and all sort of unsavory characters and situations. Example: If you go into an urban area, you might get mugged by a rapist or drug dealer. . . See? I live on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. This is a very urban area. I’m sometimes in danger when there, in danger of being run over by a nanny pushing a stroller, or dog-walkers walking a slew of Dachschunds. Unfortunately, Suburbanites automatically connect the city with negativity, perhaps because when their ideas were formed about cities (probably in the late 1960s and 70s), urban environments were actually fairly negative places to live. It is arguable, these days, that urban environments offer a better standard of living than suburban environs.

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