At its July meeting, the Village of Roslyn board of trustees took action on a Waterfront Enhancement Strategy. The BOT accepted such a strategy as prepared by Saratoga Associates as the "initial concepts" of the development of the waterfront.
Saratoga Associates is a Manhattan-based firm whose personnel formed a Steering Committee that guided the development of the Waterfront Enhancement Strategy. The committee included members of the Village of Roslyn planning board, plus local residents and property owners.
The basic objectives of the Steering Committee are to:
* Protect the environment;
* Improve public access to the waterfront;
* Strengthen linkages between Roslyn Creek, the village center, and Roslyn Pond;
* Preserve the village's historic scale and character;
* Support the long-term redevelopment of Lumber Road and
* Encourage development that respects the village's historic character and environment.
Those are the "overall goals" of the enhancement strategy. The Saratoga report admitted that there was a split between "two competing approaches" toward enhancing the Roslyn Creek waterfront.
"Some people envision the creek lined with retail shops, restaurants, and marina activities, where residents and visitors can stroll, shop, and people-watch along a waterfront esplanade," the report stated. "Others envision a serene open space with trails for walking, viewing wildlife, and watching the landscape change with the tide.
"Disagreement over the creek's potential stems primarily from disagreement over the...desirability of dredging," the report continued. "Those who envision a retail and working waterfront believe that having water in the creek throughout the day is a prerequisite for the kinds of commercial redevelopment that will draw residents and visitors to the water. Those who oppose dredging do so either because they believe it to be environmentally destructive, and/or because they feel that pursuing dredging as an enhancement strategy is impractical, given the regulatory and financial burdens it imposes."
For their part, Saratoga planners "do not recommend pursuing a strategy that is depending on dredging for its success." Instead, the village should pursue a strategy "that makes environmental enhancement and restoration an integral part of the waterfront enhancement strategy." Toward that end, the village should seek grants for environmental improvements from various state and federal agencies.
Concerning the basic objectives of the Steering Committee, the Saratoga report noted that both the Forest City Daly development and the Grist Mill renovation will create "some public access" to the creek, even though the potential for more continuous access is available.
Similarly, the Saratoga report contends that Lumber Road renovation is necessary if that area is to become the redeveloped mixed retail, specialty manufacturing and office district as envisioned by the village's Comprehensive Plan.
The village "should focus public and private resources along Lumber Road, rather than along [Roslyn] Creek...Roslyn should adopt streetscape guidelines that support the long-term redevelopment of Lumber Road." Such streetscape improvements along Old Northern Boulevard have already made that thoroughfare "more inviting for strolling, shopping, and dining," the report claimed.
Discussions on waterfront enhancement have been ongoing since 2001. In early 2001, the village received a $73,000 grant from New York State to design a waterfront trail for the village-owned waterfront parcel.
Later that year, Peter Walsh, an official with the state's Department of Parks and Recreation gave his own presentation to the BOT. A successful waterfront revitalization program, he said, is a three-part process. A village must decide what they want to do with their waterfront property; it must improve the surface water quality, which itself includes dredging work; and it must secure a "cultural resource base." This usually means forging a successful partnership between government agencies and the private sector, including local civic associations.
Walsh also said that there are three different ways in which a waterfront can be revitalized. Such a property can be used as a public amenities park, as a source of "pedestrian vehicular circulation," and for the development of vacant lands.
Finally, Walsh explained how similar-sized towns and villages, both in Long Island and other parts of New York, underwent successful waterfront development at a significant benefit to the overall health of those municipalities.
Most prominent were improvements in Glen Cove. According to Walsh, that city, by the mid-1990s, had faced numerous problems, including a waterfront in poor condition. Waterfront revitalization connected downtown Glen Cove to the waterfront, resulting in limited ferry service and other improvements, including converting a junkyard into a restaurant.
Other Long Island villages that have undergone successful waterfront revitalization include Freeport, Port Jefferson, and Greenport. Waterfront parks, marinas, restaurants, pubs, museums and festivals were part of revitalization efforts in those villages and others in the state, such as Lake George and Oswego.