Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill loses when developers shut out

Rendering of the proposed Ginsburg Development Corporation project for Railroad Ave. This was the latest illustration from September 2022.

To the Editor:

I just learned that two major, local construction/housing-related items have taken place recently. The first is that the Town of Cortlandt rezoned the commercial/industrial zone from Annsville Circle to the Rock Cut to be mixed-use, and is actively seeking out a range of possible development for this zone including housing, retail, commercial, and a possible hotel. The second is that the Village of Croton has sold part of one under-used parking lot (sound familiar??) at the Croton Harmon Train Station, which will be redeveloped into much-needed, transit-oriented housing.

And here we are, in Peekskill, where our city government is at best doing little to promote growth and more housing, and at worst acting as outright obstructionists to any real growth and change in our city.

The last letter I wrote to the Peekskill Herald was when Martin Ginsburg’s transit-oriented apartment building (across from our own train station) was voted down nearly unanimously by our city council. Who can argue with transit-oriented development?

A downtown garbage pail on April 14, 2024.

The government of the City of Peekskill can. The same government that buries its head in the sand when it comes to so many issues in this city, including but not limited to: near zero maintenance to sidewalks and curbs, near zero maintenance to city-owned landscaping, near zero maintenance to public garbage and recycling bins (overflowing, broken containers, etc), near zero maintenance to lighting and lamposts, parking enforcement, the list goes on and on.

When I saw the amount of money being dedicated to the renovation of Pugsley Park, the first thing I thought was – I bet they’ll spend an absolute fortune, and the park will look nice for exactly one season, and then be left to become an overgrown mess like everything else. The only thing the city is capable of maintaining is grass– with periodic mowing. Tell me why this park needed to be renovated when it was already grass and sidewalks, which is what it will soon become again due to lack of oversight and dedicated gardening staff. Except now it will look like a once-landscaped park that has been left to decay. Great use of public dollars when our sidewalks, curbs, and nearly every aspect of city infrastructure are crumbling to pieces!

The fact that Cortlandt and Croton have the foresight to take action on the housing crisis- both municipalities will also require some dedicated affordable housing- but our government turns their nose at nearly every private developer looking to build in Peekskill is an absolute disgrace. The process for anyone looking to build here is so burdensome and the government is so aggressively anti-development that most people walk away before they lose years of their lives and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Just think of what could be done with the tax dollars that we would have if our government was more actively pro-housing development. Not only would we have more affordable and market-rate housing, which means more people spending more dollars locally, and more small businesses thriving, but there would be hundreds of thousands (if not millions) more in annual tax revenue that could be dedicated to fixing our infrastructure, or maybe even lowering the tax burden on current property owners.

Peekskill’s beautiful location on the Hudson River and proximity to NYC is nearly unmatched, and the City has such an unbelievable amount of potential if our government would start doing the right thing by its citizens.

Todd Seekircher, Peekskill