Great news! The abandoned Westhelp homeless shelter will be converted into 74 units of senior affordable housing. I would also like to recognize the work of Greenburgh Town Board members Ken Jones, Kevin Morgan, Francis Sheehan, Diana Juettner who worked very hard to make this happen. And, want to thank the Mayfair Knollwood Civic Association and Valhalla School district for working with the town and county on this agreement. We all partnered together and came up with a plan that everyone can be excited about. The new senior citizen housing apartments will enhance the quality of life for many seniors. I also hope that the seniors will take advantage of the terrific programs at the Westchester Community College—just a few minutes walk from the soon to be built development.
May 8. 2018– Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced plans for the development of 74 units of affordable senior rental housing - housing for which there is a great need in Westchester County.
The WestHELP site, a six-acre parcel located off Knollwood Road adjacent to the campus of Westchester Community College, has been subject to years of political wrangling and discussions among the County, the Town of Greenburgh, Valhalla School District and community stakeholders. Discussions revolved around the need for safe, affordable housing while also ensuring that the School District the project resides in did not fall victim to overcrowding.
The lease submitted last October was for only 54 units, the Latimer administration has now come to an agreement with the Town of Greenburgh, the surrounding neighborhood and School District for an expanded 74 units.
Latimer said: “We have to get away from the era of the individual politician who is the leader that ‘has’ all the vision - the vision is we. It’s when we discuss, and collegially work through things, that we are finding the best way to make decisions. Issues with the WestHELP site were resolved because we were able to work across lines and not try to be secretive. There was a combination of things that made this happen, and if we’re going to do anything good it has to come out of that combination.”
Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said: “Members of the Greenburgh Town Board and I are very excited about the plans to build affordable senior citizen housing at the former WestHELP homeless shelter. There is a need for senior housing, and this initiative will provide an enhanced quality of life to many senior citizens. I also want to thank the County Executive for the way his administration handled this proposal. The County Executive practiced what he promised - the County was a good neighbor. The County Executive encouraged the Town and the developer to reach out to the community and School District - which we did. We explained what was being proposed and the community agreed to support the senior housing. This is exactly what needs to be done.”
Valhalla School Board Member Laverne Clark said: “This has been a long time coming – and I am glad it is finally happening now. Valhalla is a very small School District and any impact to it would be difficult for taxpayers to absorb.”
The plans call for the developer, Marathon Development Group, to pay $1.5M - $900K to County and $600K to town, on behalf of County, in exchange for town relinquishing all rights to site. The new development will serve a wide mix of income levels, including 40% to 60% of Area Median Income as well as 80% to 90% of Area Median Income. Market analysts note the mix of units will broaden the property’s appeal to the senior community.
The County Executive was also joined by Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, County Attorney John Nonna, Vice-Chair Alfreda Williams, County Legislator Margaret Cunzio, Majority Whip MaryJane Shimsky, members of the Greenburgh Town Board, Developer Mark Soja, Planning Board Chair and Former WestHELP Director of Housing Richard Hyman and Acting Planning Commissioner Norma Drummond for the exciting announcement.
The full press conference can be seen HERE.
And here is the link to the press conference: https://youtu.be/IVt1U76-HIM