HOMETOWN HAPPENINGS: Preserving Open Space

By George Hoehmann
Supervisor, Town of Clarkstown

A few weeks ago, I was proud to announce the Town will purchase the St. Peter’s Syro-Malankara Church property on Mountainview Avenue in Valley Cottage. The purchase will preserve 4.3 acres of open space and prevent the development of a 10,295 square-foot building and 55-space parking lot.

The church had acquired the property with intentions to construct a 10,000 foot structure. I saw the importance of this property and preserving it as open space, particularly because of its proximity to the already existing 71-acre County Park known as the Moutainview Nature Park.

Under the deal, the Town will purchase the property for $235,000. We plan to develop nature trails that will connect to the Long Path and also integrate the trails into the county-owned Mountainview Nature Park.

The Long Path is a hiking trail that goes from the George Washington Bridge up to the Appalachian Trail in Orange County.  From Mountainview Avenue, the Long Path leads into Rockland Lake State Park and then up to Harriman State Park.

In addition, we’ are protecting 2.357 acres of wetlands, which is a natural mitigation for flooding. The wetlands also provide groundwater recharge, when the water gets back into the ground and then pulled out as drinking water through wells and the water company.

Many of you know that Mountainview Avenue in Valley Cottage is home to a large condo complex, various other apartment complexes, single family homes, and religious institutions. It’s also the route many take from Congers and Valley Cottage to the New York State Thruway every day. Purchasing this property from the church will prevent more development in this area and protect the character of the residential neighborhood.

This agreement is a win-win. It’s good for the residents and good for the environment.

Preserving our environment and the bucolic nature of Clarkstown has been a hallmark of my administration.  From increasing code enforcement to passing our No Knock Law, this agreement is another bold step in protecting Clarkstown from overdeveloping residential neighborhoods while protecting the quality of life our residents demand and deserve.