BY KATHY KAHN
The New York State Thruway, the downfall of the historic Red Apple Rest, also made going through the villages of Sloatsburg, Tuxedo and Southfields unnecessary for Catskill-bound travelers who used old Route 17 to get there.
Many enjoyed the small-town feel and the lack of “outsiders” coming into their neighborhoods once the Thruway bypassed them—even though it has meant many empty storefronts and even fewer local jobs.
Now, the “project that will never happen” is happening: Tuxedo Farms, on the drawing boards for 27 years, it was approved and bought by Related Companies. Site work has been ongoing for the project which expects to be called home by nearly 1,200 families when completed.
What’s causing the most “agita” right now is the agony of living with or traveling through the construction where workers are putting in sewers along Route 17. Local businesses and homeowners on the narrow stretch must bear up under extreme noise, dust and a plethora of potholes left behind as work moves slowly down Route 17. Some homeowners are also “hosting” heavy duty materials and machinery while the upgrade is underway.
Kelly Schreiner, who works at Sunnyside Restaurant in Sloatsburg, says, “It’s a disaster. We’ve had to open late several times because employees can’t get through the construction—we’ve also had at least one customer a week come in to tell us they’ve ‘lost a tire’ to the potholes all up and down the road. We’ve told them to call the town to let them know. Something really needs to be done.”
Similarly, Jessie’s Bagels, which is now owned by Related Companies and soon to become Jessie’s Market and host a Welcome Center for Tuxedo Farms—warns customers to “be safe on the road. The pot holes are deep and dangerous.” (They’re not kidding, as this reporter can attest to.)
For some Sloatsburg residents, it also means a change of lifestyle they’ve come to enjoy, regardless of the financial benefit of having ratebles in their neck of the woods. (Related’s 65,000 square foot retail center with a supermarket will have its entrance adjacent to Washington Avenue.) “Who needs it?” said one Grant Street resident, while others are chomping at the bit to shop local.
Related Companies has promised to widen Route 17 and to repave it once the work is complete. For businesses and residents along the corridor, that can’t happen soon enough. Work is scheduled to be completed by the end of summer, but repaving the pockmarked road can’t happen soon enough.