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The City of Yonkers is moving forward with a plans to develop a Minor League Ballpark at Chicken Island, a centrally located area in economically depressed downtown Yonkers.
The Proposed Project would be adjacent to and affect the Saw Mill River, investing the City with the opportunity and responsibility to enhance and protect this degraded waterbody. Riverkeeper recognizes and encourages Yonkers’ efforts to redevelop the downtown area, however, we are concerned that key opportunities to improve and protect the Saw Mill will be lost if the proposed project is approved in its current form.
The plans call for the existing 230-foot section of the Saw Mill River at Chicken Island to remain open and unaltered from its current state and the proposal would enlarge the existing narrow strip of open space surrounding the banks of the River at the corner of Nepperhan Avenue and New Main Street. The FEIS fails, however, to offer any additional restoration or enhancement measures to the project. A legacy restoration opportunity will be lost that could turn this project into a world class urban and environmental restoration project.
Riverkeeper and member organizations of the Saw Mill River Alliance hope that the City will consider “daylighting” portions of the River associated with this development proposal. The term “daylighting” describes projects that deliberately restore to the open air some or all of the flow of a previously covered river, creek, or stormwater drainage. Daylighting projects liberate waterways that were buried in culverts or pipes, or otherwise removed from view. Daylighting re-establishes a waterway in its old channel where feasible, or in a new channel threaded between the buildings, streets, parking lots, and playing fields now on the land. Some daylighting projects re-create wetlands, ponds or estuaries.