Active Rain October 31, 2010

Re-elect Bill Hanauer Ossining Mayor

Only one derelict building is left downtownOssining has always had its share of problems through the years, and among them, since I was young, was always the blighted downtown area. The story goes that Ossining always had a vibrant, prosperous downtown until the early 1960’s, when Arcadian Gardens shopping center was opened on the south side of the village, and all the commerce abandoned Main Street. By the time I was a kid in the 1970’s Main Street was a crumbling mess. Village governments came and went, but no one ever seemed to be able to bring sustainable development. In the late 70’s federal money underwrote a large urban renewal project, which gave many of the old buildings a facelift and needed restoration, but it brought no real change beyond the cosmetic. 

The Ossining Post office was moved in the 90’s from South Highland Avenue to the corner of Spring Street and Main, once the mecca of downtown, but it would be years before anything developed beyond that. Prior to that, the only improvement downtown ever had was the demolition of blighted structures, leaving vacant lots and piles of rubble. I would post photos, but there are few to find online. The book Ossining Remembered jarred my memory, with quite a few photos of the downtown I remember as a youngster. 

I cannot give an accurate timeline as to when the tipping point of downtown’s resurgence was, nor can I tell when it truly turned the corner. The facts is this: downtown Ossining is in better shape now than it has at any point in my lifetime. Main Street is down to one lonely boarded up edifice (the old AL Meyers Furniture, which ironically, was one of the few occupied stores when I was young); the rest are occupied, alive, and, added up, make a pretty sight. As I said, the genesis of the resurrection of downtown may predate Mayor Hanauer significantly. Well, so does the decision on some of my clients to sell their homes. And three agents later, when they hire me, they sell. The same way, one mayor or 5 mayors later, Bill Hanauer presided over the comeback of downtown Ossining, and he therefore has “scoreboard.” For that reason alone (although there are many more), I am departing from my apolitical policy on this blog and supporting the re-election of Bill Hanauer for mayor of Ossining. 

Bill Hanauer is the guy I want to deal with the progressing development of the waterfront when that project becomes viable again, as well as whatever else comes onto the scene. Just the fact that we can say “development” and “progress” in the same sentence as “Ossining” speaks volumes. 

Looking west on Main Street Ossining hasn't looked this good in decades

Upper Main Street Ossining is alive and well

Looking south on revitalized Spring Street