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Letter: Is Now The Time For The Heights Revitalization Project?

Councilwoman Susan Siegel and Councilman Vishnu Patel.
Councilwoman Susan Siegel and Councilman Vishnu Patel. Photo Credit: Yorktown.org

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Yorktown Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send signed letters to Yorktown@dailyvoice.com .

To the editor:

As currently planned, Supervisor Grace’s $4.8 million Yorktown Heights Downtown Revitalization Project raises serious concerns, the most important ones being the speculative nature of the project and its cost to taxpayers.

No private developer has publicly come forward with a proposal to buy the highway garage site and erect a new commercial building. The town has no guarantees that it would be able to sell the land, or how much it realistically would fetch or how long it would take to sell — especially given all the vacant space that already exists in Yorktown. While the town has two renderings of what might be built, we have no idea what a developer might want to build on the site, or whether the developer’s plan would include a significant amount of public outdoor space and amenities.

Cost figures from the town’s grant application:

  • Total project cost: $4.8 million
  • Total amount requested in grants: $2.1 million
  • Total amount of required local share: $2.7 million

The grant application is silent on how the town will come up with the $2.7 million local share. The grant application also states the vacated highway garage site will be marketed after the new garage is built. It estimates the sale of the property would generate $1.5 million. With no guarantee from a developer, that figure is speculative. Even if the $1.5 million estimate is realized, that leaves $1.2 million remaining.

The revitalization plan also assumes the town will be able to recoup the money it has to lay out to build the new garage from taxes on the new commercial development as well as savings from “efficiencies.” However, the town assessor has estimated the building would generate only an estimated $11,000 to $13,000 a year in town taxes. There are no numbers detailing what the “efficiency” savings would be. It could take the town 100 years to recoup its initial investment.

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