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Anti-Costco Demonstration Draws Large Crowd

Yesterday at 5 pm a large crowd gathered to protest the huge superstore and fueling station at the site of the proposed development.

I was having lunch [on Friday] in Beacon with a couple of friends -- fellow violinmakers I had been to school with many years ago. Around 2 I got a call from a member of Yorktown Smart Growth whom I had seen just the night before at the Mohansic Grill when they did the informational seminar. "Have you heard about this demonstration?" he asked. "What demonstration?" I asked. No one had said a word about anything of the sort at the meeting. I figured it had to be that group the developer has paid for, but to my surprise, he told me it was going to be people opposed to the superstore. I got home and checked the net; no notice of any event -- but I decided to lay aside the tools and pop down anyway and see what, if anything, was going on.

To my surprise a large group was gathering at the abandoned gas station that's going to a part of the site. Numbering around forty, the crowd included nearby residents who fear the congestion and added traffic, employees of some of the local businesses along 202 who are worried about losing their jobs, and other residents of the town. I saw my friend Stephen Steenick there, so I asked him what was going on and who had organized it. He waved down the hill. “They did,” he said. “It’s not a formal group. These guys are really worried about what’s going to happen to them.” Nodding toward the demonstrators holding signs and waving to passing cars, and handing leaflets to the many who paused, he said “They’re here because a lot of them are the ones who are going to be out of work. I grew up with a lot of the people here in town who run businesses, and I worry about what’s going to happen to them."

It was a diverse and (considering the scope of the impending development and the gravity of the impact it will have) a festive crowd -- including children, one fast asleep in a stroller, and two dogs. Aside from Stephen, who's not even a member of YSG, I didn't recognize anyone there. He showed me a petition that’s being filed with the Town Clerk, signed by over 150 local residents. “They’ve been canvassing the neighborhood for a few weeks. Do you know how many people live around here? This is right in the middle of a residential community. The last thing they want is to be living next to a strip of big box stores.”

Many passing motorists honked as they passed by -- sometimes you don't know what that means, but many slowed to wave or gave a thumbs up to show their support.

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Bill October 11, 2012 at 08:27 PM
It is my understanding that the Peekskill plant is actually a county plant, and the county makes decisions regarding it. If they have excess capacity, this will be a good thing because they'll bring in more money since they will presumably have to joint the sewer district and pay taxes and usage fees. And the owner of the shopping center where BJ's is located has said that retailers want to be near other retailers because it brings more customers to the area. Also, what was proposed there in the comprehensive plan would have needed sewers, wouldn't it? Was the plan to connect it to the Yorktown sewage plant? Is that even possible? Or does everything in the area of 202 go to Peekskill?
Bill October 11, 2012 at 08:40 PM
BTW, I think White's (which I was not here for) was where Staples and all of those stores are (and which later became the Building Design Center, which was still there when I moved up here). I think that the BJ's building was built when they moved in. As for the "ugly town" remark,it's just because that they (and we) do not have the super special rose-colored glasses that the "smart growth" people have when they see the town and especially Route 202 corridor as "lovely".
Bill October 11, 2012 at 08:45 PM
We should use it as a haunted house for Halloween!
NoisyNeighbor October 12, 2012 at 04:09 PM
If no one wants the Costco or something moving in, please clean up that run down station and hotel. What an eye sore and a place for some kids to get into and get hurt or get into trouble with drugs and alcohol. I can' t understand why no one would want to stimulate the economy around here with jobs and tax help. I for one could use a tax break. I think people are over looking the benefits this could have.
SPK October 12, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Two Thumb Up, NoisyNeighbor! Time for you to run for office with some uncommon sense.

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