Over 50 local residents and business owners attended the Framing Croton’s Future Workshop on Revitalizing Harmon and South Riverside Saturday afternoon, June 14, at the Croton Free Library’s Ottinger Room. The larger than anticipated turnout produced many ideas for improving the commercial district in Croton centered on South Riverside Drive between Croton Point Avenue and Oneida Street.
For property owners and residents not able to attend, all the notes taken about ideas for revitalizing Harmon are available to download at www.crotondems.org.
Former Village Trustee John Harbeson opened the Workshop recalling that it was almost 20 years ago that concerned residents gathered in a similar effort, “The Croton We Want” to discuss proposals for major developments that would have altered the character of the village permanently.
Former Village Trustee Leo Wiegman presented ten “reality checks” of demographic and geographic trends that shape the village now and will impact immediate future development. He closed with five “walks” that are reasons that Croton’s Harmon District will be attractive to newcomers: walk-to-train, walk-to-shop, walk-to-dinner, walk-into-history with nearby Van Cortlandt Manor, and walk-to-parks-and-rivers with recreation opportunities abounding at Croton Point and elsewhere. Village Trustee Ann Gallelli presented the details of what the current zoning for the commercial area in Harmon allows now as of right or by special permit. And Village Trustee Richard Olver then asked participants to gather at tables for small group discussions on what kind of businesses Harmon needed, what kind of spaces are needed for such businesses, and whether residents would shop locally more often.
Participants clearly expressed concern about improving the attractiveness of the area and “fixing what is broken.” But attendees also came up with a great many positive ideas for which there appeared strong, if not always unanimous, support. For example, many discussion groups arrived at similar conclusions a few of which are listed below:
Participants continued to raise good questions well beyond the original finish point, and the Library generously extended the time available for the Workshop. At the close of the Workshop, Trustees Gallelli and Olver promised to deliver all the ideas to the Village and the volunteer Harmon Business Development Committee that is studying the potential for zoning revisions in the area. Gallelli and Olver also indicated the potential for future workshops on related topics, given the strong turnout and lively discussion on Saturday.
See links at www.crotondems.org for all the suggestions put forth at the Framing Croton’s Future Workshop.