Yonkers Mayor Spano Opens Phase III of the Daylighting of The Saw Mill River at New Main Street
Yonkers, NY – November 14, 2018 -- Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano today officially opened Phase III of the Daylighting of the Saw Mill River at New Main Street where the City unearthed another portion of the Saw Mill River, constructed a 1.25-acre park, and improved river water quality and plant/aquatic life.
“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 New Main Street, we are providing an open urban civic space that provides residents and visitors greater access to our waterfront district and revitalizing city.”
Phase III of the Saw Mill River Daylighting has revitalized additional portions of the long-buried river, and includes a water wheel, improved river banks and plantings to create a 1.25 acre park, making it a gateway to the Yonkers shopping district.
The $18 million project is funded with support from Empire State Development (ESD), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) and New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA). PS&S designed and engineered the project.
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “The Saw Mill River projects reflect how strategic investments in placemaking, energizing urban spaces and access to waterfronts, boost economic growth by supporting job creation and creating destinations for residents and visitors to Yonkers and cities around New York State.”
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New York State recognized the Saw Mill River Daylighting project as an unprecedented opportunity to protect and preserve ecosystem function while enhancing fishing opportunities in Yonkers. The State’s multi-million dollar investments here will bring this once buried waterway back to life and provide more habitat for the Hudson River fishery.”
Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, “The Clean Energy Communities program continues to inspire cities, towns and villages across the state to take innovative steps that support Governor Cuomo's clean energy clean and climate goals. Congratulations to Yonkers for celebrating another milestone in this forward-thinking project that supports a cleaner, greener community and provides critical stewardship of precious natural resources.”
The Daylighting of the Saw Mill River is a three-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 and Phase II at the Mill Street Courtyard was completed in 2016.
“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.”
Groundwork Hudson Valley, a local non-profit environmental group founded in 2000, worked closely with the City to convene a coalition of government, community, and business leaders to help build the early vision for Daylighting the Saw Mill River. Groundwork is currently working to expand educational programming in the Daylighting to build awareness of the rich cultural, historical, and ecological significance of the Saw Mill River.
Groundwork Hudson Valley Executive Director Brigitte Griswold said, “Groundwork Hudson Valley is proud of our nearly twenty year partnership with the City of Yonkers to restore natural areas for Yonkers residents to enjoy. We are equally inspired by the return of wildlife that has not been seen in Yonkers for almost 100 years.”
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.