GovernmentThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Esther Street in Peekskill to Remained Closed to Vehicle Access

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Esther St. in Peekskill will remain off limits to vehicles after the city was inundated with requests from residents to keep the short roadway between South Division St. and Brown St. permanently closed.

On March 27, the Common Council was poised to approve a resolution to spend $30,000 to purchase removable bollards that would have permitted the street to be open for trash and snow removal and emergency vehicle access, and closed, at times, for special events and outdoor dining.

However, City Manager Matthew Alexander suggested the council remove the resolution and simply apply the parameters for Esther St. that were spelled out in a temporary closure resolution that was approved on June 29, 2020.

“What happens inside Esther St. is something that can be addressed later,” Alexander said.

Alexander said placing u-shaped barriers at the end of Esther St. and South Division St. can address any crosswalk issues that have been mentioned and allow access to delivery trucks and emergency vehicles when needed.

Peekskill Walks obtained more than 800 signatures on petitions to keep Esther St, or Esther Place as it has more commonly become known as, as an area for residents to enjoy the outdoors.

That effort was supported by a majority of nearby businesses, including Peekskill Coffee House, Bucko and Flatiron Gallery.

“There are very few places where you can go in public where you can interact with people without any expectation of spending a dollar,” Liz Greene of Peekskill Walks told councilmembers. “It allows people to feel welcome in the downtown. People love this place.”

Brian Orsi, owner of Bucko, an apparel, household and gift shop along Esther St., also supported the permanent ban.

“Everybody is in support of closing that street off to cars,” he said. “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

Councilmembers agreed to remove the resolution from the agenda and stick with the original plan passed in 2020.

“I’m really happy to go back to this plan if it addresses the issues we’re talking about,” said Councilwoman Kathie Talbot, who lives in the area. “I was impressed with the passion that people expressed themselves.”

“As long as the original plan is fine with the community and we can move forward with it, I’m with it,” Councilman Rob Scott remarked.

Mayor Vivian McKenzie said city officials still needed to have a discussion with property owners and business owners on Esther St. to iron out some issues.

“It’s all about the safety of this place,” McKenzie said.


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