“Bottom line, town looks worse now than before they started, stopped, started and stopped again with this project.”
Larchmont–Residents, store owners and an embattled Mayor are expressing frustration with the temporarily aborted Streetscape project, but are unable to clean up damage to the aesthetics or economy along Palmer Avenue in Larchmont and into Chatsworth and Larchmont Avenues.
The avenue is lined with ragged tree stumps, bright colored tape, and sidewalks are spray painted for utility companies.
While construction equipment was finally removed from the Pine Brook Park playground, a situation that caused an uproar among residents in that area, this occurred because the Village issued a stop-work order to the contractor, DiMarino Brothers of Mount Vernon. “Significant construction, management and safety issues” were at issue, said Larchmont Mayor Anne McAndrews.
Now the work begun along Palmer Avenue has been frozen until those issues are resolved, perhaps until 2014, according to a source.
“Bottom line, town looks worse now than before they started, stopped, started and stopped again with this project,” says Judy Graham, a business owner. I am not against the project but the execution has been so poorly done, I have very little hope that things will get better.”
Other residents bemoan the removal of trees.
The $1.36 million contract included replacing 4,000 square feet of sidewalk, planting trees and installing benches and lampposts.
At a recent Village of Larchmont Board meeting, Ms. Graham owner of Pink on Palmer, Clutch, and Manor Home and Jennifer Deutsch of Crush Wine Bar complained about the condition of the sidewalk and trees outside their businesses.
Ms. Deutsch told the panel some of her customers are unsure if the restaurant is open, due to the orange tape and lack of signs.
“Look down by the movie theater – it looks ridiculous the way the trees are cut to about 4 feet high,” says Ms. Graham. In front of Lusardi’s the trees have ugly metal poles with yellow, looks like crime tape. wrapped around them in front of a restaurant. Terrible. Who would want to sit outside and look at that? ”
Graham and other business owners support the idea removing the half cut trees and replacing them with planters.
Larchmont Mayor Anne McAndrews referred us to a letter she wrote on the Village Web site.
“We are very disappointed that the plan to pour new sidewalks during the quiet time of July and August has been upset,” Ms. McAndrews writes.
“About fifteen trees, all in bad condition, were cut down, leaving high trunks and exposing overhead wires. (The trunks were left high to facilitate the removing of the roots.) Since the planting season for the new trees is the Fall, those stumps will be removed and replaced with flower boxes as much as possible, given the complications caused by underground gas lines,” the letter continues.
Many residents have asked about burying overhead wires.
“ConEd would charge the Village over $1000/foot to bury the wires. Property owners would incur substantial costs in changing where electrical power enters their buildings,” says the Mayor.
“I wonder who paid to bury the wires in Mamaroneck, Rye, Scarsdale, Mount Vernon?,” says one resident who asked not to be identified. “I know they say it is expensive, but just about every other village has done it. Why are we going through this mess if we’re not going to get something really great out of it?”
Chris Cassese of Coughlin Insurance, new President of the Larchmont Chamber of Commerce suggested a hearing.
“This is a state funded project, along with some issued debt by the Village of Larchmont… There needs to be a public hearing so everyone is on the same page.”
“If I were a new person looking for a town to live in, I might find Larchmont disappointing since its charm is now marred by all this,” says Ms. Graham.
The project received a grant of over $800,000 from the State Department of Transportation, and was put out to bid last summer. Work began this Spring and was to continue for five months.