Earlier this year, Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) secured $5 million from the state’s railroad fund for a new train station at Woodbury Common. Additionally, he secured a commitment from the MTA to not only support the project, but also provide any technical expertise required to move the train station forward.
The only problem? Simon Properties, the company that owns the outlet mall, has refused so much as a meeting to discuss the construction of a new train station, instead choosing to walk away from both $5 million and, more importantly, an opportunity to further alleviate traffic in the local community. Simon Properties has ignored repeated requests, dating back to May 13, 2019, to meet with MTA Chairman Pat Foye, Senator Skoufis, and local officials.
“In my seven years in the State Legislature, I’ve never seen such unreasonable disregard by a corporation towards its host community,” said Senator Skoufis. “We are coming to the table with $5 million to make a train station work and Simon Properties doesn’t even have the decency to take a meeting. This ought to be a win-win-win: a win for the local community, taking untold thousands of cars off our local roads; a win for the outlet mall with a new opportunity for shoppers to conveniently get to Woodbury Common; and a win for the MTA which stands to see a significant increase in ridership. Simon Properties’ attitude, which comes on the heels of a $150 million state investment to reconfigure the Exit 131 interchange that has become clogged with traffic to and from the outlet mall, is both childish and illogical. I am reiterating my call from December for the Woodbury Planning Board to reject any application from the mall to expand that does not include a new train station.”
County Legislator Laurie Tautel, Woodbury Supervisor Frank Palermo, and Harriman Mayor Steve Welle have all joined the call for the outlet mall’s expansion to be rejected without the addition of a train station.
“Who in their right mind walks away from $5 million without even so much as a meeting?” said Legislator Tautel. “Simon Properties needs to grow up, recognize the rare opportunity that is before them, and work to advance a new train station. After $150 million has gone into relieving traffic in the Woodbury and Harriman area, I echo Senator Skoufis’ call that the planning board ought to unequivocally reject any expansion at the outlet mall without this important project.”
“I am beyond sorely disappointed in Simon Properties for turning its back on our community,” said Supervisor Palermo. “Senator Skoufis, who always looks out for Woodbury, managed to secure $5 million to help make the new train station a reality – and the outlet mall won’t even come to the table. I recently urged Simon Properties to meet with us only to have my request fall on deaf ears, too. The planning board should draw a line in the sand and demand that a train station be part of any new expansion at Woodbury Common.”
“Simon Properties is out of control and it’s long past time we declared enough is enough,” said Mayor Welle. “A new train station in Woodbury Common would be a game changer for our local community and Simon Properties’ refusal to move forward – despite $5 million in state funding secured by Senator Skoufis – is incomprehensible. Any application by Woodbury Common to expand even further should be rejected by local elected officials, rejected by the community, and rejected by the planning board.”
Skoufis explained the $5 million in funding is still available and it is not too late for Simon Properties to do the right thing, come to the table, and move forward with the train station.