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.