Yonkers Mayor Spano Opens Mill Street Courtyard, Phase II of the Daylighting of the Saw Mill River
Yonkers, NY – June 30, 2016 -- Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano today officially opened Phase II of the Daylighting of the Saw Mill River at Mill Street where the City unearthed a 100-foot portion of the Saw Mill River, constructed close to 20,000 square feet of open public courtyard space, and is providing for the rehabilitation of adjacent buildings and properties.
“The daylighting of the Saw Mill River has provided a tremendous boost to Yonkers’ economy, helping to spur economic development, create jobs and bring new businesses to our downtown,” said Mayor Mike Spano. “With the continuation of the daylighting at Mill Street, we are providing an open urban civic space that provides residents and visitors greater access to our waterfront district and revitalizing city.”
The newly constructed courtyard has transformed a commercial block within the center of downtown Yonkers into a European style piazza which includes a pedestrian and vehicular bridge, a new pedestrian gateway that will provide seamless access from the Saw Mill River daylighting at Van Der Donck Park and public artwork. Artwork includes a three-story mural (‘Wildfire’) painted by a Dutch artist Eelco Van Den Berg, which is his largest mural yet in the United States as well as a mirrored glass pole (‘As We Reflect’) created by Haifa Bint Kadi of Groundwork Hudson Valley, which is described to reflect the diversity of Yonkers. Also featured in the courtyard is a mill stone that was uncovered during construction and is believed to date back 150 years when the old Yonkers Flouring Mill was once housed there.
The $8 million project is funded in part by the Environmental Facilities Corporation Green Innovation Grant and Empire State Development’s Saw Mill Acquisition Grant. Edgewater Design, LLC. and PS&S designed and engineered the project.
“Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the Consolidated Funding Application process allows New York State Communities to tailor their economic development priorities to meet local needs,” said Sabrina M. Ty, President and CEO of the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation. “The Mill Street Courtyard and Stream Daylighting Project highlights that investment in green infrastructure not only yields environmental benefits, but improves the community’s quality of life and pays economic dividends.”
“The opening of the Mill Street Courtyard is a major milestone in daylighting the Saw Mill River, which is already creating jobs, by attracting business investment and visitors to downtown Yonkers,” said ESD’s Mid-Hudson Regional Director Meghan Taylor. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, downtowns across the state are being revitalized and restored as the economic engines they were intended to be.”
Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “Phase II of the Saw Mill River Daylighting Project continues the progress we have made in revitalizing this area and provides an economic boost to our community. This is an excellent example of the great work that can be accomplished when state resources help spur local growth and investment. I am proud of the work my colleagues and I have done to ensure state funding for this vital project, and commend Mayor Spano for moving forward on this effort.”
“Yonkers is recognizing that the new generation of our workforce desires walkability, wants convenience to work, home and leisure,” added Mayor Spano. “I believe we are accomplishing that here in Yonkers – attracting millennials with each new development and innovative project. I want to especially thank our Governor and delegation for supporting our efforts so that projects like this can attract more people to stay here, make a living, and take part in our City’s future.”
The Daylighting of the Saw Mill River is a four-phase project which includes new urban river and parks through the center of downtown Yonkers, in which the Saw Mill River was once buried beneath the City in the 1920s. The first phase of the daylighted River at Van Der Donck Park was completed in 2011.
Phase I of the Saw Mill River Daylighting, known as Van der Donck Park, has earned national, statewide and regional recognition, including the “National Recognition Award” by the American Council of Engineering Companies, “Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award” by the New York State Society of Professional Engineers, “Project of the Year” by the Westchester/Putnam Chapter of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers, “Project of the Year” by the Construction Management Association of America, “William White Award” by the American Planning Association, and the “New York Honor Award” by the American Society of Landscape Architecture.
Phase III, expected to break ground in 2017, will revitalize more portions of the long-buried river, including improving river banks and installing plantings to create a 1.25 acre open, green public space and a gateway to the Yonkers shopping district.