Long an eyesore, the school’s original, architecturally distinctive archway was preserved and integrated
into the design of the 50-unit building for low-income
seniors and another 70-unit building designed for low-income families.
At the grand opening ceremony last year, Yonkers mayor
Mike Spano praised the effort and said, “We have transformed what stood for years as a symbol of neglect and
deterioration into a symbol of hope and new opportunity,
providing quality, environmentally sustainable, affordable housing for Yonkers families, seniors and newcomers
to our city.”
Cottage Place Gardens is close to a rapidly improving
waterfront and downtown in which the city has been
investing years of time and energy. The neighborhood is
also close to mass transit and there are sight lines throughout the neighborhood of the Hudson River and Palisades.
“Most importantly, many long-time stakeholder residents,
homeowners, and organizations who have a vested interest in improving the community are here,” Batus added.
“Together we have been working in concert to address
the physical, economic and social challenges in order to
turn our vision into reality.”
We have transformed a symbol of neglect and deterioration
into a symbol of hope and new opportunity.
“Our goal in this effort is to create a true mixed-income
community which will gradually increase density and mix
incomes without displacing long-time residents. Attracting more middle-income families and individuals will
generate more capital which can be spent locally. This
will spur the economy in the neighborhood, leading to
more active and lively storefronts and more jobs for lower-income residents.
Batus said he met scores of people in planning meetings
who “have fond memories of going to school here, raising their families here, having fun here. They truly care
about what happens in the future, not just for them but
for their children. We’ll know if this effort was a success
if we find the right balance of attracting new families and
businesses to join this community while not displacing
or alienating those long-time stakeholders.”
Brian E. Clark is a Wisconsin-based journalist and
a former staff writer on the business desk of The
San Diego Union-Tribune. He is a contributor to the
Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dallas Morning News and
Courtesy of the City of Yonkers Photo by Paul Sableman