BY ROBERT KNIGHT
Clarkstown Supervisor Alexander Gromack will present his annual “State of the Town” message to members and guests of the Congers Civic Association Thursday night, March 13.
The meeting, which is open to the public, starts at 7:30 p.m. in the upstairs meeting room at the Congers Veterans Memorial Association building on Lake Road in downtown Congers, adjacent to the Congers Fire Department.
Gromack first presented the address at the Town Board’s annual re-organization meeting in January, highlighting the accomplishments of his administration over the past year, and its goals for 2014. According to Civic Association President Gerry O’Rourke, he anticipates the supervisor will include remarks about the disastrous winter the town has suffered so far, and the financial and operational impact this has had on town government, departments and services.
Members of the Town Board may also appear and add their own comments, and O’Rourke said he expects town officials will entertain questions and comments from the audience.
A police department representative is also expected to be present to give details on recent criminal activities in the Congers area of Clarkstown, and he too will respond to audience questions and comments, O’Rourke adds.
In other business, the Civic Association is expected to discuss proposed amendments to the town’s zoning and building codes which O’Rourke said could lead to the “urbanization of Congers” through the potential construction of multi-family housing around the perimeter of Congers Lake and the new boardwalk which surrounds it.
In other town business, the association notes that the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals recently granted two variances in Congers, to allow the Alphonso Brown funeral home to convert a catering hall at 201 North Route 9W into a funeral home and Rick’s Club American to convert a small building on Route 303 adjacent to their Lake Road restaurant from its current use as a roofing company to an ice cream stand with a walk-in refrigeration unit.
In the association’s quarterly newsletter to its members, O’Rourke also congratulates the general Congers community for its strong show of support last month in approving a $6.5 million bond issue to repair, restore and re-open the closed Congers Elementary School. The bond issue was defeated in the New City and West Nyack portions of the Clarkstown Central School District but the 20-1 “yes” vote in Congers overwhelmed that opposition and carried the proposition to victory.
The school, which suffered severe wall cracks last year, was closed in June. Its students are currently bused to the former St. Augustine’s School in New City, which the district is leasing from that Roman Catholic Parish until a replacement facility can be found. The oldest school in the district, it was built in the 1920’s and was originally Congers High School prior to centralization of several hamlet districts into the Clarkstown Central district around 1950. It was then replaced by Clarkstown North High School in New City, and has served as the hamlet’s elementary school ever since. O’Rourke noted that the Congers Civic Association strongly supported the bond issue and was very pleased with its outcome.
The Civic Association also operates the Congers History Museum on the second floor of the restored Congers Railroad Station, which is now a town park. It is open free of charge to the public monthly, with coming open houses scheduled for Saturday March 15, Saturday April 26 and Sunday May 18, from 12 noon to 4 p.m. each day. The museum features multiple displays on the 200-year history of Congers and knowledgeable guides to escort visitors through and answers questions on the hamlet’s colorful past.
O’Rourke further notes that the Civic Association will again sponsor the Congers Clean-Up Day campaign on Saturday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, starting and ending at the railroad station, where free refreshments, trash bags and literature will be distributed. The clean up itself will be along both sides of Lake Road, with the filled trash bags to be picked up the following week by the Clarkstown Highway Department.