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Vacancies: What Should Become of Garden Street School?

Put aside all the rules and regulations — we're asking you what type of establishment would make the most sense in that spot?

Let's call this a modern spin on community planning; a digital drawing board where all ideas are on the table.

We present a vacant space or property and ask you to tell us what you think would be the best use. Forget what zone it's in, ignore setback regulations, dump lot coverage rules and all the other zoning jargon that puts most people to sleep. What would you like to see there? What would be the best use for the community?

Our  of this column received a couple of great suggestions, as did our subsequent posts. This week we're taking a look at Garden Street School, which saw its final batch of students walk out the door in June. The school has been a staple in the community since the 1920s.

The Village of Brewster recently entered into an agreement with Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, a Newburgh-based "nonprofit research, policy and planning group that promotes regional and balanced solutions to enhance the growth and vitality" of the region, according to its Facebook page.

Over the next year, Pattern will be examining several local topics—"adaptive reuse" of Garden Street, neighborhood blight, transit-oriented development, as well as community development and grant-writing—and reporting back to Village officials.

The total package costs $25,000, and the has agreed to pitch in $2,500 for the research on Garden Street. Administrators there will receive any relevant reports associated with the school.

So, we want to know, in an ideal world, what would happen to the building? Should it stay as is, and take on some sort of official historical designation? Should it remain a community center, perhaps housing a non-profit? Should the building be earmarked for something completely different, like an apartment complex? 

Give us your take in the comments section below, please.

About this column: In highlighting vacant buildings in Southeast and Brewster, we aim to help residents take a proactive role in planning and building their community. We'll take your feedback to public officials and property owners, to inform their decisions about future uses. Know of a vacant building we should highlight? Email Ashley.Tarr@patch.com.

Southeaster September 02, 2012 at 09:55 PM
I'd like to see whatever it is aimed at young professionals. Brewster already has senior and low-income housing and plenty of beautiful single-family homes for the wealthy. It's the up and coming twenty- and thirtysomethings who need a place to live and/or work that's affordable and convenient to transportation. I wouldn't mind apartments, condos, studio space, or some combination thereof. Brewster is trying to re-brand itself as an arts town, and young artsy types are often the first to move into places that are, shall we say, a little worse for wear and clean them up. I think the former school could also make an ideal place for offices. We could use more businesses in Brewster, not more restaurants and retail outlets but real businesses that create high-paying jobs. As for the grounds, a pool or a community garden would be nice.
Joe Lambert October 03, 2012 at 10:25 PM
YMCA, pool, gym, track, maybe even rooms for rent not sure though. High end rent here in the VOB?? Not sure whose knocking on our doors here, but I'm not sure if high end renters want to b here, I'd love em to move into the area too, but haven't heard th phrase, hey I'm looking to move into those new high end condos in Brewster hmmm, ever. I live here and we love it, but we are unique, like are neighbors. Frankly if nothing happens to it, that's fine with me, love to play ball there and use the playground without getting harassed by the school now.
Robert Morganti November 06, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Definitely should be mid-market priced condos (competing with all of the big Toll Brothers style condo complexes going up in surrounding neighborhoods) and shouldn't be low income or senior only housing. Brewster can have a lot to offer if there are things good enough to attract people to move their lives there. There are condo complexes going up in all surrounding towns and guess what... People from Brewster are leaving for those areas. Things are developing all over at an extremely fast pace and Brewster simply is not... Whatever is done with Garden Street, please do not half-ass it. The building is beautiful from an architectural perspective; there is value behind that which can be leveraged.
laughingmywayoutofwestchester November 15, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Condos - back on the tax roles. Try to attract more middle class - upper middle class professionals. Look to White Plains' Battle Ave School or Tarrytown's Pierson School. Both successful transitions
Maria November 21, 2012 at 05:35 PM
I think a cooking institute...a school that brings in young professionals to come into the area and fill the housing stock we already have. Then the Village can encourage the opening up lots of great restaurants so the many people who travel through the Village will want to stay a while and spend some time in the Village, boost our economy, and make the Village a happening place. The convenience to NYC cannot be beat...so cooking professionals can travel to jobs elsewhere too.

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