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Superblock RFP Approved: But Is it RS?

The Village Board voted 3-2 last night to approve Mayor John Shields’ resolution to move ahead with a Request for Proposals (RFP) to redevelop the “superblock” (the space currently occupied by Riverspace,the M&T Bank building, and surrounding parking). The resolution included three items:

  1. A declaration that redevelopment of the “superblock”  is in the best interests of the Village
  2. Permit Riverspace to develop an RFP on behalf of the Village.  Riverspace would assume all expenses.
  3. Establish a citizen’s committee, with a $5,000 budget for consulting expenses, as an advisory group to the Village Board.  The Committee is to be set up in a week, and using the Village’s Comprehensive Plan, establish development parameters for the project.  The Committee is to report back in 60 days.

Trustees Louise Parker and Denise Hogan joined Shields in voting for the resolution with Richard Kavesh and Marie Lorenzini voting to oppose it.  Kavesh’s opposition is based on scale, saying that the project scope should only be between Cedar, Franklin, Artopee and Main Street.  Lorenzi says the Village needs to follow the Mayor’s task force’s “white paper” recommendation that Nyack needs to decide if redevelopment is a priority in the first place.  She feels that question hasn’t been answered.

If this sounds suspiciously like Riverspace Downtown without using those explicit words, it is. And it isn’t, too. Which makes the future of the arts center a little fuzzy.

Yesterday’s Journal News included an op-ed piece from the Riverspace Board predicting a $500,000 shortfall in revenues for the upcoming season. At last night’s meeting, RS Board member and benefactor Josh Goldberg urged the board to move forward, reminded the packed house at Village Hall that it costs $17-18,000 a month in rent to keep the space open and the window on the option to buy the M&T property closes this June.

Citizens who want to join the Superblock Task Force should contact Village Hall.

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