Larchmont to Get $683K for Palmer Avenue Renovations

by Judy Silberstein

(November 2, 2006) Larchmont Village got a very large and pleasant surprise on Thursday, November 2: a $683,704 surprise. That’s how much the NY State Department of Transportation has awarded Larchmont in federal transportation funds to improve the Palmer Avenue business district. The project will update sidewalks, street lighting, signage and other amenities on Palmer near the railroad station.

As explained in the Grant Application, the business district "serves as a major commuter hub for approximately 39,000 riders each week. The proposed improvements will benefit pedestrians, bicyclists and all who travel on Palmer Avenue, including those who commute by railroad or shop in the area."

“It‘s great to have money coming in and not just going out,” said Mayor Liz Feld, who credited Trustee Anne McAndrews and former Trustee Ned Benton for work on the original application, made five years ago, and on the recent update.

”Ned worked so hard on the original grant and I’m tickled that we were able to use all that effort and all of our recent experience with the Boston Post Road streetscape to put together a new application that came up roses,” said Trustee McAndrews. “We had some great support on the state and county level and among the merchants,” she said. She also gave credit to former Mayor Cheryl Lewy, for all her work on the original conception.

Mayor Feld was also appreciative of attention Larchmont received from the governor’s office. Last April and again this summer she was able to lobby Governor George Pataki at Republican functions. “He was very receptive,” she reported.

“Now the real work begins,” said Trustee McAndrews. Among the chores she’s assigned herself is seeing if there’s any chance to bury the utility wires on the stretch of Palmer Avenue slated for renovation. None of the funds from the newly awarded grant can go towards that, she explained. She looked forward to “having a streetscape along Palmer Avenue that Larchmont can be proud of.”

“The merchants are very active and involved – it’s going to be a good project,” Mayor Feld predicted.

More Funds Than Expected

“I’m very pleasantly surprised by the amount,” said Mayor Feld. Larchmont had heard that it was on the list of accepted proposals some time ago, but was waiting to hear about the size of the award, which could have been as small as $100K. Instead, the Village received all that it asked for. “What’s particularly attractive about this grant is that the matching portion from the Village is relatively small,” she added. Unlike other grants with a 50-50 match, this one is 80-20, with Larchmont required to chip in only 20% or $170K of the project’s cost.

Palmer Avenue Will Be Busy

“The Palmer Avenue business district will be busy,” observed Mayor Feld, enumerating a series of upcoming projects: finalization of renovations at the train station; replacement of the water main on the Chatsworth Avenue bridge; and commencement of the streetscape project that will be funded by the new grant. A few blocks away, Commerce Bank will be beginning demolition and then construction of its new branch in a few weeks. In addition, reported Mayor Feld, Westchester County is looking to repair its portion of Palmer Avenue sometime in 2007.

Note: Judy Silberstein and Ned Benton are married to each other.