Planning Board Chairman Jay Sheers Resigns After 22 Years of Service and Thanks Fellow Volunteers

  Photo Credit: Screenshot from Planning Board Video recorded by Peter Skorewicz.

Photo Credit: Screenshot from Planning Board Video recorded by Peter Skorewicz.

After 22 years of public service to Beacon, NY, the chairman of the Planning Board, Jay Sheers, has resigned his position. He previously served on the Zoning Board, and his time on the Planning Board has coincided with some of the biggest growth in Beacon's history.

He told the public of his decision during the December 12, 2017, Planning Board meeting, before the start of the meeting. The meeting was expected to be heavily attended, as development projects were on the agenda. Specifically, the meeting centered on a vote about a planned large apartment complex known as 22 Edgewater Place (see details about this in A Little Beacon Blog's Building and Development Guide), which is proposing 307 apartments in seven buildings, to be built in the woods above the train tracks near Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park. The Planning Board voted to allow the project to proceed to the next step in its development cycle.

Here is Jay's resignation message, thanking city workers and fellow volunteers. He shared this before larger proceedings of the meeting began:

 

“I’m debating a personal note, so I’ll do that now, because it may appear that I’m leaving the Board because of this [refers to the audience], but it’s not true. I’ve been thinking about leaving the Board for a long time. So and tonight is my last Planning Board Meeting. I’ve been on this Board since 1995 and I’ve been the Chair for 10 years. Before that I served on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

"It has been extremely gratifying to have worked with the many people who have given so much time and effort to bring about the large number of positive changes that have taken place in this fascinating and wonderful City over this period of time.

"Recently, demands on my time from my job and my growing extended family make it harder and harder to fully prepare for and attend meetings. I know that the City is in the middle of a lot of important work, but that’s pretty much always the case. Waiting for a good time to step out would mean that it would never happen.

"One of the most rewarding aspects of my time working on the Board has been with my fellow volunteer Board members both past and present, and I’d also like to thank Mayors Gould, Gold, and Casale for their support over the years, as well as Board consultants and attorneys, and a special thanks goes out to Ann Thomas, Etha Grogan, and Tim Dexter. Beacon would not be what it is today without their hard work and dedication. Thank you.”

 

 

You can watch the full video here, and see what was on the agenda.

NEW GUIDE: New Buildings and Development in Beacon - With Pictures

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Have you seen all of the scaffolding up around Beacon? For the past few years, greenlit development projects have been humming along, from concept to construction. Some of these projects are easily noticed around town, and some are less noticeable when on regularly traveled streets. As development and construction are becoming hot topics in all of the city meetings, including City Council, Planning Board, and Zoning Board of Appeals, it can be very hard to keep up with which property is which, and where, and owned by whom.

A Little Beacon Blog has started keeping a Guide of these projects. Reference it when you spy new bulldozers, or any time you want to get up to speed real quick as to where a project is, and what you need to know about it.

Many New Buildings Going Up In Beacon - Saturday Public Meeting to Understand Zoning

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Building in Beacon is happening very quickly right now. While it seems overnight to people who have not followed the news about it, or attended meetings of the City Council, Zoning Board or Planning Board, it is very much the norm for Beacon residents who have followed those meetings.

The thing is, many buildings that you have been looking at for years and years are about to go away, to be replaced by new construction. In most cases, that will mean taller buildings. Arguments can be made about whether that's a good or a bad thing, but no matter what, when you eventually see them, those new structures will likely induce some feelings in you.

For instance: A project called Edgewater plans to have seven buildings and 307 apartment units, to be located in the woods along the Hudson River, slightly northeast of and uphill from Riverfront Park. The project has been granted a vote to go through the process of getting approvals to move forward and get closer to building. This project was held up for several months while attorneys for the Beacon City Schools' Board of Education argued that so many new residents would have a negative effect on the current school district, as the rapid influx of new kids would overwhelm classrooms. The development attorneys and the City Planner did not agree. Yesterday, finally, a vote was cast by Beacon's Planning Board, and it was voted that the impact would not negatively effect Beacon City School, and that the project could move forward. There are many other potential issues with this project. Among them: anticipated traffic impacts. The official projection is that vehicular traffic from this 307-unit collection of buildings (essentially a community) will not impact current traffic. This is just one example.

Up on Main Street, the old single-story building across from Homespun Foods was demolished this week; a new building is set to replace it. The empty factories at Madam Brett Park are proposed to be new apartment buildings. All of these projects are moving forward at the same time, and while it's exciting in theory to watch it all, people living in Beacon are feeling a desire to take a minute to catch up, to see how these are planned to progress, before it all happens, and to learn more about who owns these properties.

More and more residents are "coming online" about this issue. People who normally don't pay attention to boring Zoning Board meetings are starting to pay attention, so that they can know what to expect - what's coming down the pike. Because no matter what, when you see major construction happening, it can be surprising.

In Beacon, there are only a few local media sources. A Little Beacon Blog, The Beacon Free Press, and based in Philipstown but covering Beacon, The Highlands Current. Which sometimes makes it difficult to get information. Facebook groups often turn up leads, but are awash with emotion, speculation, facts, and everything else. Beacon beat reporter Jeff Simms has been covering these building projects for some time for The Highlands Current.

A Little Beacon Blog will begin covering development as well, and we will do so as carefully as we can. The learning curve is steep, and we are all in this learning process together. The feeling of Community is very strong in Beacon. That feeling does not exist in every community - it's something really special here. There is a desire to preserve that feeling, and continue living small, even while the city grows. Living smaller but bigger. It's possible, it's just a careful job.

This Saturday, The Beahive is hosting a public forum that focuses on zoning in Beacon. It seems to serve as a Zoning 101 for people who are unfamiliar with nuances in Beacon's code that could allow - or not allow - buildings to get built in a certain way. And exactly what that "certain way" is, is varied and can look like pretty much anything. To help see what that looks like, the forum this Saturday at Beahive will be facilitated by City Council Member Lee Kyriacou (who will be acting as a private citizen, not representing Beacon in any official capacity). Those who watch City Council meetings or other meetings know that Lee is one for detail, whose jam seems to be property issues. At a recent City Council meeting that had a very large public turnout to discuss the rezoning of Central Main Street, Lee commented that he was happy to see how many people were "nerding out" about issues that usually very few do. The whole City Council, the Mayor and the City Administrator are working together to address growth issues in Beacon.

A number of planning and zoning experts will be at the Beahive event to take questions from the audience.

The forum is on Saturday, December 15, from 9:30 to 11:30 am at Beahive, in the Telephone Building at 291 Main St., Beacon, NY.

The Lofts at Beacon Falls - Gorgeous Apartments in the Heart of Beacon in a Historic District (Sponsored)

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The very first pioneers to The Lofts at Beacon Falls, the new apartment complex located in Beacon's Historic District at 50, 52, and 54 Leonard Street (between Grove and Amity), were true out-of-towners: Many of them were parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, of couples who had moved to Beacon with their young families to start their new lives as Beaconites. The Lofts at Beacon Falls are located on the mountain side of Fishkill Creek, just up the road from Dogwood and The Roundhouse. If you sit on the benches across from Wickham Solid Wood Studio and what used to be The Hop, you are looking right at them, though they are hidden behind trees (see the picture below). Current residents moved from Florida, Michigan, North Carolina and other far-off states to settle in here and live within walking distance of Beacon's businesses. Small city living has a strong appeal, and The Lofts at Beacon Falls are delivering on that.

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The Historic District

Because the Lofts at Beacon Falls are nestled into Beacon's Historic District, the newly designed buildings needed to conform to certain standards to keep with a historic look. You'll notice similarities between The Roundhouse complex and The Lofts at Beacon Falls on Leonard Street, with the gray-brown coloring, brick and black trim on the exterior. According to Bob Murphy of the Beacon Historical Society, the property was part of the Matteawan Manufacturing Company; by the mid-1930s, it was the Braendly Dye Works.

 

Insider Tip: If you sit on the benches across from Wickham Studio or the former Hop to reflect on things on the Fishkill Creek, you can see parts of The Lofts at Beacon Falls through the trees.

Another Insider Tip: Leonard Street is one-way if you are driving towards the Lofts at Beacon Falls, so you'll need to take a right on Amity to drive around the block to come into the entrance down Grove Street, which turns into Leonard Street.

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Modern Apartment Life in Beacon's Historic District

Inside, you'll find modern design and amenities of apartment living. Designer kitchens and open floor plans make for a spacious feel in the one- and two-bedroom apartments, trimmed with granite counters, laminate wood floors, and Edison-style lighting. A washer and dryer come with each unit, making it super convenient to plan a cozy day of laundry, tucked inside an apartment surrounded by the wooded landscape of the Fishkill Creek.

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Walk outside of the apartment complex and follow East Main down to Main Street at Beacon's famed Dummy Light, and you're just about at Beacon's East End, an area dominated by more former factory buildings with renovations under way, making room for more art galleries, boutiques and eateries to frequent. Numerous boutiques, including Style Storehouse, Kaight, King + Curated, Lambs Hill Boutique, and more, cater to a variety of personal styles. Need something as specific as a brow wax? Find it at The Blushery, at the T where Main Street meets the end of East Main - just one of the niche storefronts available to Beaconites.

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The Perks

A full workout center is located in the heart of the apartment community for anyone who needs easy access to a quickie workout on the machines. Residents may even bring in their personal trainer for a guided workout. Staying fit is certainly do-able from this location, with access to trailheads on Mount Beacon, as well as nearby fitness centers on Main Street like Zoned Fitness (formerly Hudson Valley Fitness), and the Shambhala Wellness Center and Live Your Life Gear.

The planners at The Lofts at Beacon Falls made certain to build pet-friendliness into their offerings, allowing animals as residents for an additional fee. No one's circling the neighborhood looking for parking, because one spot is allotted to each unit, and additional parking spots are available. Security is of top importance, so there is surveillance inside and outside, as well as keyless entry that can even work from a smartphone. The full list of what's included can be found here on their Amenities page.

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Pricing for 1- & 2-Bedroom Apartments

There are 78 apartments available at The Lofts at Beacon Falls. The community of already-established residents is waiting to grow. Monthly rental prices range from $1,800 to $2,700, with spaces ranging from 800 to 1,400 square feet. Some apartments boast an office, a feature that has attracted people who work from home as well as commuters who want to set up a workspace in their home.

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About the Developer, James M. Bello

James founded James M. Bello and Associates, his family-run business, in 1985. In the decades since, he has employed several hundred subcontractors to design and build homes, renovations, and light commercial projects. A native of Brooklyn, James and his wife have lived in Dutchess County for the last 18 years, and currently reside in Hopewell Junction. Says James: "We noticed a big change in Beacon and we wanted to be part of it. We want to offer value to some of the people who live in Beacon, or are moving here."

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Looking to Move? View an Apartment

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT
Dorothy Bizzoco
Call: (845) 765-8044
Email: Dorothy@loftsatbeaconfalls.com

You can view the apartments any time, just contact Dorothy Bizzoco, who would love to show you around. Who knows, maybe you'll be moved in in time for their Christmas Party this December. Bring the eggnog from your kitchen down to the party!

Publisher's Note: This has article has been produced as Branded Content, and was written in partnership as an advertisement for The Lofts At Beacon Falls. It is through sponsorships like this one that A Little Beacon Blog can continue to bring you coverage of Beacon and beyond. Please see our Editorial Policy for more information. Thank you for supporting businesses who support us!

The Telephone Building – Unearthing the Past to Create the Future

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This article was written and prepared by Diane Lapis, Trustee of the Beacon Historical Society.

The hand-written signature discovered on a section of window molding in the Telephone Building tells two stories: one of the man who signed it, and the other of the woman who saved it.  

Deborah Bigelow was established in the business of conserving antique furniture and decorative arts when she purchased Beacon’s original Telephone Building in 1992. Historic building restoration calls upon the talents of many artisans. Deborah’s passion for fine craftsmanship, as well as her conservation skills, are on view in the impeccable adaptive reuse of this early 20th-century building.

The First Telephone Service in Beacon Conducted from The Telephone Building, 291 Main Street

 The Telephone Building, 291 Main Street, circa 2017.

The Telephone Building, 291 Main Street, circa 2017.

 An original telephone in the Hudson Valley with the familiar 914-831 digits.  Photo Credit: Beacon Historical Society

An original telephone in the Hudson Valley with the familiar 914-831 digits.
Photo Credit: Beacon Historical Society

Travel back in time to 1880 when telephone service first arrived in the twin villages of Fishkill Landing and Matteawan (now Beacon). According to the Beacon Historical Society, telephone service started with 37 subscribers who had devices connected to an exchange. As the two villages grew, so did the need for additional access to telephone service. The Hudson River Telephone Company provided the technology, and moved into its new quarters at 291 Main Street in 1907. 

It had taken two years to modernize the lines, with over 15 miles of cable and a million feet of wire strung between Fishkill and Beacon. Newly designed phones replaced the old ones, and huge storage batteries, charged by an electric generator in the basement, powered the system. Telephone operators ran a switchboard, connecting calls when a subscriber lifted the receiver off the hook. The first floor of the building had special booths for transient users of the service – a precursor to the modern-day telephone booth.

 Beacon's Telephone Building, as replicated on a postcard, circa 1910.  Photo Credit: Beacon Historical Society

Beacon's Telephone Building, as replicated on a postcard, circa 1910.
Photo Credit: Beacon Historical Society

  Photo Credit: Beacon Historical Society

Photo Credit: Beacon Historical Society

Not one Telephone Building, But three Sister Buildings

Completed at a cost of $18,000, the modified Italianate masonry structure - faced in brick and trimmed with limestone, bluestone, slate and tin - was considered an important civic building of its day. Campbell & Dempsey, and A. E. Dederick, contractors and builders from Kingston, built both the Beacon structure and a similar one on Brown Street in Peekskill, NY, in 1907. They knew what they were doing: Two years prior, the team had built a larger building on Broadway in Kingston, NY. 

All three buildings share common elements, but it was A. E. Dederick’s signature on a section of window molding, found while renovating the bathroom in the Beacon building’s basement, that linked together the construction of the three sister buildings. The Kingston Daily Freeman newspaper reported on the construction of these early communication exchanges by this crew.

Today, only the Beacon building is a thriving concern: The Peekskill office was demolished in 1952, while the Kingston office is used as a storage facility for Verizon.

While the Peekskill and Kingston offices featured the title “TELEPHONE BUILDING” engraved in limestone above the door, the Beacon office’s imposing Roman letters are today made of cast iron, assembled with pins on a 10-foot-long cast iron plaque set in the Main Street cornice. According to Beacon architect Aryeh Siegel, the brick and limestone columns are unique for a Main Street façade, signifying the importance of this civic building.  Siegel’s comment directs a passerby's attention to the limestone capitals atop the brick columns and the keystones above the windows and front door, along with the elaborate tin cornice featured along the roofline - all hallmarks of the building’s classical influences.  

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Ownership History of The Telephone Building

The Telephone Building served the Beacon community for almost 60 years before it was sold to James Letterio, CPA, who operated his accounting business from the location for decades. When Deborah Bigelow purchased it, the building had been in use for roughly 85 years. While the original front doors were gone, the rest of the original work remained intact, though buried under layers of flaking paint, a drop ceiling and linoleum flooring. Prior to renovation, the entire building was featured in a B-rated film called “Super Troopers.” With the building transformed into a police station, the film’s art director judged the old battery room’s flaking paint perfect for some of the scenes. He noted that the “look” of the room was almost impossible to fake.  

Restoration of the Telephone Building Since 2003

Since 2003, Deborah has been on a mission to restore the architectural beauty of the building by recovering and saving original material wherever possible. For example, the original oak windows are preserved with their weights, pulleys, and slate sills intact. The building displays other beautiful features such as intricate iron grillwork, elegant cast-iron radiators and staircase, floating maple floors, and brick-lined arched doorways. When Deborah and her crew sandblasted the interior brick, she discovered that the brick came from Dutchess Junction’s own Budd Brick Company (1888-1910). Today, she replaces missing mortar with a version that has been color-matched by Package Pavement in Stormville, NY.

  Photo Credit: Beacon Historical Society

Photo Credit: Beacon Historical Society

The cornice was painted with a sand-filled paint to look like the limestone foundation below and was constructed of galvanized tin fascia and dentils nailed into the brick wall. Paint samples analyzed by the Williamstown Art Conservation Center identified the original materials and colors used in 1907, and this information guided Deborah’s choices during restoration. The icing on the “cornice cake” came when she discovered fragments of original, 24-karat gold leaf on the TELEPHONE BUILDING letters that had eluded sample analysis. A master gilder, Deborah replaced the gold leaf last summer.

Beacon's Telephone Building Today, Circa 2017

Deborah enjoys sharing the beauty of the Telephone Building and its history with her tenants - many of whose 21st-century businesses fittingly involve communication and public service. Among her tenants, Beahive and A Little Beacon Blog occupy the first floor. The second floor includes individual Beahive office spaces, apportioned by shoji screens to provide privacy without loss of light. Deborah’s own business, Gilded Twig, shares the lower-level suite of offices with financial advisor Aaron Verdile.

Now that Beacon is fast-growing and changing, the Telephone Building stands like a stalwart sentinel guarding the past as well as embracing the future. Deborah’s notes and photographic documentation of the building before and after renovation inform its history. Her research will remain part of the building’s, as well as the city’s, historic record.

Live Presentation of the Telephone Building with the Beacon Historical Society

Deborah Bigelow, art conservator, master gilder, and owner of Beacon’s original Telephone Building will talk about her renovation of the building since purchasing it in 1992. Ms. Bigelow will show before and after photographs, artifacts found during its renovation, and offer a glimpse of preservation procedures and the art of gilding. BHS Trustee Diane Lapis will discuss the 1907 building’s architecture and its place in the city’s history. The presentation will take place on Tuesday, November 28, at 7 pm at the Howland Cultural Center, 477 Main St. in Beacon. 

 Deborah Bigelow up on the boom in 2017, completing her restoration of the cornice of the Telephone Building at 291 Main Street.  Photo Credit: Beacon Historical Society

Deborah Bigelow up on the boom in 2017, completing her restoration of the cornice of the Telephone Building at 291 Main Street.
Photo Credit: Beacon Historical Society

Comment

Diane Lapis

Diane enjoys soaking up Beacon’s historical vibes and then sharing them with anyone who will listen.  She is a researcher and author of numerous articles and presentations about local and postcard history.  Her most recent publication was about Nitgedaiget, a vanished utopian camp in Beacon NY. When not actively fundraising or presenting programs for the Beacon Historical Society, Diane can be found working on two books: the history of post-Prohibition cocktails, and a biography about a founding member of the White House News Photographer’s Association, who was born in Beacon at the turn of the century. Diane enjoys collecting postcards, visiting presidential libraries and art museums.
Photo Credit: Peter Lapis

A Love Letter to Beacon From A Reader: "I ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ BEACON!!!"

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Sometimes readers write in to share their thoughts. Sometimes they want driving directions. Sometimes they want to hear a tie-breaker as to which bridge they should take to get here, and what they should do if they can only spend two hours in Beacon as a pit stop on the way to somewhere else (of course we point them to The Things To Do In Beacon Guides for easy access to everything).

But something in this particular reader's letter felt very crisp and fresh, and she gave us permission to reprint it here. Her language has been preserved to convey the enthusiasm, but edits have been made where a word needed capitalization for easier reading:

 
Architectural Digest named Beacon one among 15 most beautiful Main Streets. Only East Coast contender!!! And very well deserved. It’s breathtaking!

I ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ BEACON!!! What a shiny pearl!!! Driving down Main Street in one direction=the wide and scintillating Hudson River. Driving in the other direction=a wall of verdant green mountain! Gorgeous! Brattleboro, Vermont, got nothing on you, pretty Main Street of Beacon!!! Can’t wait to visit again n explore more n more n more. Plus, cool vibe. ENJOY!!!!!
 

I asked her what brought her to Beacon, wondering if it was the Architectural Digest article?

 
I wanted to explore Hudson Valley. I’d been to White Plains many times years ago n once to Troy n Albany. Wasn’t impressed. I guess there’s a lot of press on Hudson Valley now. Maybe it was the HBO show “Girls” where they travel north from the city? Beacon is right by the Hudson River n same trip visited Sleepy Hollow too. But Beacon by far was the star!!! Main Street is so long. The river so wide but really the mountain is most impressive. It’s instant falling in love. You drive Main Street once n you’re ready to pick up roots n retire to Beacon forever. It really made my❤️ sing! Cold Spring was ok too but not nearly as picturesque. AND THAT MAGAZINE AGREES! Of all East Coast, only Beacon rated a shout out!

I visit Brattleboro occasionally—it’s only 1.5 hrs from Hartford. The mountain is pretty but the CT River is just a trickle up there. So Beacon wins again.
 

To illustrate this article, I stepped outside to take a picture of Main Street facing the mountain. I took a moment to look at the mountain to angle out the shot, not intending to cross the street. When I finished deciding where I was going to take the picture, I looked behind me before crossing the street, and a Fire Department vehicle had been waiting patiently for me to cross. I hadn't realized I was standing close enough to the sidewalk to activate someone to wait, and appreciated the gesture. This type of action could be why our reader hearts Beacon so much.

PS: We love Cold Spring! Not to worry, neighbors. We also have mad love for all of the other cities and towns mentioned here. One of the best aspects of Hudson Valley life is the way we all work together here; we all love experiencing the best that each locale has to offer.

Parking Lot Expansion Plans from Scenic Hudson at Mt. Beacon Trailhead Are Voted to Move Forward

  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The City of Beacon's Planning Board voted this week to approve plans put forth by Scenic Hudson to add parking spaces at Mt. Beacon's trailhead, to address the growing problem of hikers' cars overflowing into residential areas. During the November 14, 2017, monthly Planning Board Meeting, Meg Rasmussen, Senior Park Planner for Scenic Hudson, presented the plans, which would increase the number of spots from 44 to 77. The plans incorporated requested changes to stay away from existing wetlands. Scenic Hudson maintains the public trails and parking lot at no cost to the City of Beacon.

Some main points to the enlargement project include:

  • Increasing opportunities for alternate transportation, which would include new bike racks and drop-off and pick-up points for public transit. According to David Martin, a local resident who hikes the trail often, bikes are frequently seen locked to trees.
  • Landscape design to guide people where to park using timber guardrails, "whiskers" and signs, as well as borders of native plants along the roadway. Said Meg on the effectiveness of such design at the meeting: "We are delineating the spaces with 'whiskers,' which come out of the gravel. They use them at the Mohonk Preserve very effectively. People really use them to see where they are supposed to park."
  • The decision to keep the parking lot visible from the road: The plan included a recommendation to keep the parking lot in view of the street (vs hidden from view) for safety reasons. "If we were to locate it back off the roadway... you get a lot of nuisance and partying. We have experienced that at our other preserves," explained Meg during the meeting. Planning Board member Gary Barrack expressed disfavor with the more-visible placement, and was a minority vote against the plan, saying it was is the main entry point of the mountain and should be placed behind the wetlands. "To put this parking lot in this historic spot is not the way to go."

Members of the public who were at the meeting generally supported the increase in parking, and voiced concern that it will not solve the problem of parking as the number of hikers using the area continues to soar, especially as Breakneck Ridge prepares to close for restoration. Chairman of the Board James C. Sheers said: "I applaud the applicant for trying to address this situation.  I am very concerned about the future. This will absorb a lot of what we have been seeing, but eventually it won't. Hopefully we will take steps to address it when this becomes an issue again."

Scenic Hudson Proposes Increased Parking Spots at Mt. Beacon Trailhead

   Photo Credit:  Concept rendering of Mount Beacon trailhead parking. Copyright © 2017 Scenic Hudson, Inc., All rights reserved.

Photo Credit: Concept rendering of Mount Beacon trailhead parking. Copyright © 2017 Scenic Hudson, Inc., All rights reserved.

If you're a regular visitor to Mount Beacon Park, where you first encounter the steep staircase only to be met with a steep climb up the mountain to breathtaking views of the Hudson Valley, you'll have noted that parking at the base of Mount Beacon is thick. Daily, cars quickly fill up the 39 spaces that are currently available. Scenic Hudson manages Mount Beacon Park, in cooperation with the Mount Beacon Incline Railway Society, and is proposing to increase the number of parking spots from 39 to 77 on the existing surface of the parking lot. (Ie, they don't plan to construct new platforms above or below ground, but to expand at ground level.)

The plans include constructing universally accessible parking and walkways, enhanced walkways and an emergency access gate, a pedestrian connection to Howland Avenue, and increased landscaping to shield the view of the parking lot.

In addition to making increased parking spots in the existing parking lot, Scenic Hudson is proposing to add connections to mass transit. "We've provided a pickup/drop-off area for a future trolley or bus stop," says Scenic Hudson’s Senior Park Planner, Meg Rasmussen.

Beacon's Planning Board is hearing the proposal tonight, Tuesday, November 14, at its regular meeting at the Beacon Municipal Center, 1 Municipal Plaza, and the public is encouraged to attend to voice opinions. The project is filed under 788 Wolcott Avenue. It's a loaded meeting, with several development projects in the agenda. The meeting starts at 7:30 pm, preceded by a training/workshop portion to start at 7 pm. Details about the project have been posted at the City Of Beacon website and can also be found here in our "Easy Access to City Meetings" section. When the video of this meeting posts, we will also add it to this meeting's overview page here at A Little Beacon Blog.

Halvey Funeral Home Replaces Vacant Restaurant on 9D at 2 Beekman Street

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 Former shell of restaurants at 2 Beekman. Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Former shell of restaurants at 2 Beekman.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Just up the road from the world famous art museum Dia: Beacon, sat Lucky's (formerly River Terrace), a closed restaurant with an often-chilly patio that occupied a prime location on the Hudson River. For two years it sat vacant, and for the past six years it housed a succession of floundering restaurant business models that failed and fled. The most action the property saw was when the parking lot was used for overflow parking from Rose Hill, the childcare center across the street, during its toddler graduation each spring. For prospective new restaurants, an advertised rent of $7,000/month to fill the space was extremely unattractive, and the former Lucky's sign, long forgotten and broken with exposed, burnt-out fluorescent bulbs, littered 9D as people drove into downtown Beacon.

A Business Relocation & Expansion

 The Halvey Funeral home at 24 Willow St., soon to relocate to 2 Beekman. The home will be put up for sale on the residential market.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The Halvey Funeral home at 24 Willow St., soon to relocate to 2 Beekman. The home will be put up for sale on the residential market.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Enter Halvey Funeral Home, a third-generation Beacon business established in 1933, currently based at 24 Willow St. in a residential neighborhood. According to Patrick Halvey, the third-generation son who is taking over the family business, locating funeral homes in neighborhoods was historically preferred by grieving families and well-wishers in times past. Times have changed, and the trend of funeral homes being located in actual houses has shifted to their presence in more commercial areas. Halvey Funeral Home is now moving from Willow Street into its new home at 2 Beekman Street. It can be viewed from Route 9D, if one were turning down Beekman to go to Dia or Long Dock Park. The home at 24 Willow St. will be listed for sale in the residential market.

Location, Location

The prospect of locating a funeral home on riverfront real estate had some Beacon residents questioning if that was the best use of the property. But the building had been vacant and decrepit for two years. The climate for development and change in Beacon right now is ultra-sensitive; so many projects have green-lit their intentions simultaneously now that there is a population to buy what developers are building. This momentum puts the spotlight on all types of projects being built, as well as on each project's plans for parking, which would be necessary for people to take advantage of whatever business services fill those projects.

Improvements From Expansion

 The ugly, broken sign touting a former restaurant will be gone now.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The ugly, broken sign touting a former restaurant will be gone now.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Beacon-based architect Aryeh Siegel was hired for the funeral home project to design a building that highlighted the riverfront views to friends and families who came to remember loved ones. Beacon's Planning Board recommended adding landscape design, to cushion the building. At Halvey Funeral Home's Willow Street location, parking was an issue as gatherings grew quite large. More spaces drew Halvey to the Beekman location. "Parking is the main advantage that attracted us to that site," says Joe Guarneri, construction manager of the project. "We have 36 marked spots in the new lot, with room for parking in back and front yielding another 12 spots, for a total of 48 [parking spots]." 

Planning Board Member Jill Reynolds, who is also co-artist/founder at Ten Willow Studio, a glass design partnership specializing in architectural installations, had recommended that the funeral home extend the sidewalk. She pointed put during a Planning Board meeting that the sidewalk there is incomplete. Regular walkers experience the sidewalk's end, and either walk in the street or on the grass to complete their journey to 9D from the train station area. Halvey agreed to expand the sidewalk. "We are extending the Beekman Street sidewalk on the city-owned lot at the corner of Route 9D and Beekman," Joe confirmed.

New Life for Halvey Funeral Home

Opening soon, Halvey Funeral Home will be operating under the new name Riverview Funeral Home by Halvey LLC, under the ownership of third-generation Patrick Halvey. If, on Saturday November 11 from 11 am to 4 pm, you see white doves flying into the sky, know that they have been released during a celebratory, public ribbon-cutting for the new facility. If you hear music or see tents, it may remind you of the sounds emanating from the former restaurants, but it is part of the funeral home's festivities. To celebrate the new riverview patio during the ribbon-cutting party, there will be beer, spirits, soda, coffee, donuts, and food from Beacon merchants.

The new Riverview Funeral Home on Beekman Street in Beacon, just down the hill from Route 9D.
Photo Credits: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Editorial Note: Riverview Funeral Home by Halvey LLC has advertised on A Little Beacon Blog, but their ad campaign is separate from this article. Their promotion of their ribbon-cutting is a coincidence to our publishing of this milestone notice for this property in Beacon, which we have been researching for some time. We do appreciate their support!