On the evening of June 6, Scenic Hudson was joined by nearly 300 supporters and project partners at a gala to celebrate the Saw Mill River "daylighting" initiative in Yonkers.
The daylighting success story epitomizes Scenic Hudson's commitment to revitalizing downtown riverfronts. Scenic Hudson planning experts first recognized the benefits of uncovering portions of this historic Hudson River tributary, buried beneath pavement for nearly a century, as the catalyst for attracting jobs and new development to the city center.
The magnificent riverwalk park along the Saw Mill's restored banks also embodies the enormous power of collaboration in making our communities better places to live, work and have fun. This project would not have occurred without the strong leadership provided by the City of Yonkers, financial support from New York State and the passion generated by citizens through grassroots groups like Daylight Yonkers—led by Peter Boodell—and Groundwork Hudson Valley. Mr. Boodell was honored during the festivities along with Dr. Dennis Murray and Dr. Leonard Schleifer, co-chairs of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council.
Now the Saw Mill flows freely through Larkin Plaza down to the Hudson, where the city's magnificent Esplanade Park represents another historic, transformative victory. For more than a decade, Scenic Hudson persevered with local citizens to ensure permanent public access to a riverfront reclaimed from industry. Today, people flock here for concerts, art exhibits and to admire views of the Palisades—the city's natural "skyline." The park also has played a key role in drawing new residents and businesses back to the city.
We've achieved similar collaborative successes all along the river. The lumberyard we helped turn into Scenic Hudson Park at Irvington has spurred development in adjacent historic industrial buildings. Our Long Dock Park in Beacon, once the site of a junkyard, now is a prime destination for fishing, kayaking, enjoying art exhibits in Scenic Hudson's River Center and admiring stunning views of Newburgh Bay. In Poughkeepsie, 1.3 million visitors have passed through Scenic Hudson Gate on their journey across Walkway Over the Hudson. Now we're engaged with other stakeholders in developing a master plan for the city's downtown to capitalize on the Walkway's popularity.
We're very fortunate to have a staunch ally in the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council as we continue our riverfront revitalization work. The council recognizes that creating vibrant downtown waterfronts and protecting the valley's irreplaceable natural resources are the keys to securing lasting prosperity. For this reason, it was fitting that at the gala we honored the outstanding leadership of Dr. Murray and Dr. Schleifer along with Peter Boodell’s essential contribution to the Yonkers daylighting victory.
The gala received strong media coverage.
As the daylighted Saw Mill proves, together we can—and will—make great things happen.