The lights are on at the Nyack Marina!
Adding lights to the new marina walkways is just one item on a punch-list of village projects to come out of the New York State-funded Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, also known as the LWRP.
Started in 1992 as a state-wide endeavor to renew activity and improve water quality in waterfront towns and villages across the state, the village has been using the LWRP to update their own Hudson River waterfront.
Earlier this summer, Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez came to check in on the village’s LWRP progress. Rodriguez, along with Nyack Mayor Don Hammond and other state and local staffers and stakeholders, visited the sites of proposed renovations and new features at Memorial Park, the still-undeveloped Gedney Street site (a former brownfield) and the marina.
All of the projects were designed to increase public access to the riverfront and bring more business to the area.
The most recent projects involve accessibility changes to Memorial Park and surrounding waterfront areas, including rehabilitation to the Great Lawn at the park, accessibility compliant walkways from the playground to the children’s splash pad, renovating the site of the Nyack River Club restaurant and adding lights to the marina walkway on the river.
While many of the projects have gone relatively smoothly, the one standing in the way of completing the overall grand vision for the waterfront remains stalled and without a clear path for regaining traction.
The empty four-acre brownfield site between Gedney Street and the waterfront (the so-called “Gedney Street Site”), which has grown lush with tall grass, weeds and wildflowers during this rainy summer, is loaded with potential.
A 2017 Gedney Street site plan, which was approved by the village’s land use board, described 128 condominium units with a restaurant as well as a public park on the waterfront with a walkway that would essentially connect the area north of Main Street to the marina and Memorial Park.
However, the development for the apartments and the public access are far from becoming a reality as permits for the development lapsed this spring and the developers and the project’s architect remain tied up in litigation.
According to Rockland Business Journal, Stony Point developer Bill Helmer and Nyack-based architect Drazen Cackovic, have fought over the property, formerly known as TZ Vista, since 2015. Several lawsuits and arguments caused the planning permits for the brownfield project to expire in April of 2023.
The lot underwent environmental hazard cleanup in 2017 under New York State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program but has remained untouched since then.
Mayor Don Hammond told Rockland Business Journal that in order for anything new to happen at the Gedney site, developers would have to “start the process again” and submit new building applications.
Several new apartment complexes have gone up around the village in the last few years, raising concerns about gentrification and inaccessibility to housing. Many residents were critical of the Gedney Street project even before it was approved.
Some residents expressed concerns about new developments, saying the town didn’t need more apartments and parking spaces. Others said they hoped the village focused more on cleaning up the riverfront and making the area more accessible and affordable for residents who already live there.
Nyack resident Jessica Goodman, a member of the school board (and former writer for Nyack News & Views) says she would like to see affordable housing go up at the Gedney Street site instead of the proposed condominiums.
“We think about that as something that only the very wealthy should be able to have access to, but it’s not,” Goodman said. “I think Nyack is a community that should support everyone having access to not only go there to a public park but also to live on the water. Why shouldn’t that be affordable housing? It’s a beautiful spot.”
Greta Goldsten has lived in Nyack for over 40 years. She says the village should prioritize river clean up instead of building new housing.
“All of the housing that they are building, none of it is affordable,” Goldstein said. “They need to concentrate on making things available and ready for the people that live here already.”
The Gedney Street brownfield and the state-owned land parcel next to Memorial Park on Piermont Avenue are the last pieces of waterfront land in Nyack that have not been developed.
Greta Goldsten is not the only resident concerned about river pollution and the impacts of potential construction. Jim Glaser has lived in Nyack for 16 years and he said wants to see a day where the river is clean enough to swim.
“Anything that would increase public access will be good,” Glaser said.
The first phase of the original 1992 plan helped build the Nyack Marina and the iconic Nyack River Club restaurant. In 2008, the village created a Memorial Park Master Plan that aimed to make the park more accessible by reducing parking, redesigning the playground and connecting the park to the marina with a bridge that was built in 2018.
The LWRP guidelines emphasized that all the developed projects have taken steps to mitigate water waste, prevent erosion of the coastline and protect vital ecosystems.
For more information about the Waterfront Revitalization Program and the projects involved, interested residents can attend village board meetings or visit nyack-ny.gov for official documents and updates.