The future of Port Chester’s waterfront is the topic of a meeting tonight as the village updates a state-mandated planning document. Environmental protection, development and public access are among the issues on the table during a discussion of the village’s “Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.”
A draft of the plan gives some history, going back to the boat-building days (when the village was known by its pre-1837 name of Saw Pit) and looks ahead to the impact of global warming. It goes into detail about the lack of public access and scenic views along the shoreline. In urban-planning-speak, “few significant scenic resources exist along Port Chester’s waterfront.”
These days the waterfront is, in a word, “underutilized,” according to the draft. The downtown portion has a big parking lot, and village-owned land on the Fox Island peninsula has a DPW storage and leaf-mulch operation, sewage-treatment plant, garages, machinery and an abandoned incinerator. The Greyrock residential neighborhood has choice views, but no public amenities.
Among the recommendations in the draft:
Fill in the rectangular cove in the Byram River near the foot of Westchester Avenue, which was once used to maneuver tankers bound for Greenwich. Convert the area into a waterfront park.
Redesign the walkway along the river so that it’s inviting and not visibly cut off from the surrounding area. The current configuration (not to mention the collapse of the bulkhead beneath it) make the walkway unsafe, the report says.
Build a walkway and fishing pier that links Columbus Park to the shore.
The document is available at this village website. The workshop, being held by the Port Chester Waterfront Commission, begins at 7:30 p.m. in the senior center behind Village Hall at 222 Grace Church St.