What’s going on behind the library?

16 Oct

A few readers have asked me that question recently, which means that many other people are almost certainly wondering the same.

This graphic accompanied the blog I wrote about the land swap back in March 2011. It shows the plaza and Van Ingen Drive before construction.

The short answer is that the owners of Webster Plaza are creating some new parking behind Savers.  The project involves re-routing Van Ingen Drive — the road which allows Town Hall access from Hard Road — and has required taking down some trees.  The work should be completed by the end of the month. Next year the Town plans to work with the Friends of Webster Trails to create some trails in the remaining parkland.

The project has been in the works for more than a year, when the plaza owners first asked the Town Board to rescind the easement rights the Town had been granted, so that more parking could be put in for the proposed Savers store.

This is where the story gets a little complicated.  The Town proposed a land swap involving property at Yankee Stadium on Boulter Parkway (apparently a new parking lot was needed there as well), the whole thing went up for public comment, and a deal was struck. Supervisor Ron Nesbitt detailed the process for me in a recent email. I’ve posted it on my blog Facebook page.  Click here if you’d like to read that and get the long story.

Bottom line is, a new Van Ingen Drive will be created, which will now be a dedicated Town access road.  Trees are coming down and a parking lot is going up.  The amount of parkland back there is now smaller.  But it’s not the end of the world as we know it.

Frankly, before this project began, I never even realized there was a park back there, despite all the times I have taken that shortcut behind the plaza.  The way I see it, this little park is getting reborn. Once the Friends of Webster Trails get their hands on it and create some new hiking trails, it will finally get the appreciation it deserves.

 

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