ELLENVILLE – Things are moving. As we write, the heavy machines are demolishing the building on Main Street/Route 209 in Ellenville that will be replaced by the new Stewart’s Shop. This destruction is a visible sign of the changes coming to the village and the area.
The new Stewart’s Shop will be built across the footprint of the building now coming down, and then across into the empty corner space where Center Street intersects with South Main Street. While it is being built, the current Stewart’s will remain open, and that shop will only close when the new one is up and running. In addition to the new shop, there will be an expansion of the gas station side, with two more fueling stations. Then the old Stewart’s will be demolished to make way for more parking spaces. This will be a big change to the look of the center of the village, replacing an old, cavernous building and an empty lot with a bigger and better Stewart’s Shop and an upgraded gas station.
But this is just part of the revitalization that is coming. A project with approvals is in the pipeline to remove the former Burger King-cum-Diner building and replace it with an office building with commercial space for rent.
And, farther north, the Taco Bell franchise is moving towards its opening day in the mini mall.
In keeping with these changes, the village and the town are continuing the Revitalization Forum, which began on April 23. The next meeting is scheduled for May 16, 6:30 p.m., again at the Village Town Hall.
Ellenville and Wawarsing-area residents, business and property owners, and community groups are invited to attend and share their ideas to identify revitalization targets and strategies that could bring new funding and financing incentives to our area. This forum is being held to further the New York Department of State BOA Pre-nomination Study funding received by the Ulster County Planning Department.
The goals of the forum are to assess the full range of community redevelopment opportunities in terms of underutilized spaces and buildings. This can include "brownfields" and rundown structures that could be replaced. For this to work, the community needs consensus on a vision for the future and then needs to coordinate with various agencies, at the county, state and even federal level to come up with funding for suggested improvements and revitalization solutions.
Since part of all this is to develop public-private sector partnerships, the input of local businesses and citizens is sought. A wide variety of outcomes is envisaged. Clean up of contaminated areas is one aspect. Another is to develop a portfolio of "shovel-ready" sites that are ripe for redevelopment. Then comes marketing such sites, with renderings of what might be put there, with all the usual materials that are produced in such efforts.
The public’s input into the process is seen as a very important aspect of all this, and thus, Mayor Jeff Kaplan of Ellenville, and Town of Wawarsing Supervisor Terry Houck, urge residents to attend the meeting on Wednesday, May 16!