HARRISON, N.Y. – The Harrison Town Board is hoping that an update to the town’s master plan will serve as a catalyst to improve business.
Having last updated its master plan fully in 1988, Harrison is in the process of updating it. A presentation last night by BFJ Planning to the board suggested that downtown Harrison and the area of Westchester Avenue known as the “Platinum Mile” should be the primary focus of any master plan going forward.
“We know that our downtown needs revitalization and we are hoping that by updating the master plan it will start the whole process,” said Trustee Fred Sciliano.
Trustee Steve Malfitano said that the focus of the master plan needs to be on the central business district, specifically the Halstead Avenue corridor where the town is looking to update its train station to accommodate transit-oriented development more fully.
“Some time has passed since the town last looked at updating its master plan,” Malfitano said. “We need to take a good look again at it going forward to make sure this is the proper plan for our central business district.”
The Platinum Mile faces a similar situation as downtown with businesses leaving the area. Malfitano said that businesses on the Platinum Mile used to make up approximately 60 percent of the town’s tax base, but that number has dropped down to 40 percent in the midst of the economic recession.
“We have to start thinking about ways we can maintain businesses in this town and be very careful about addressing it properly,” Malfitano said. “We need more consistency in our plan that will satisfy the community’s interests.”
Trustee Marlane Amelio serves on a committee in town that explores different opportunities for corporate buildings. Amelio said that the committee has discussed building residential units in the area. She added that if residential development occurs along the Platinum Mile, it would be an ideal location since it is located between the business districts of Harrison and White Plains.
“There is not a lot of opportunity for empty nesters who sell their homes but want to keep living in Harrison,” Amelio said. “We need to focus on how we can restore the luster of the Platinum Mile with a different slant. This is not a novel idea in the Northeast because of the trend of businesses moving South because of the lower taxes.”