Clarkstown will acquire a coveted piece of open space for a new hiking trail but will lose the remains of an historic train station on Route 304 in the process. The trade-off is connected to the Vanderbilt Grande senior housing project proposed by developer Jeff Weinberger.
Weinberger exchanged a larger parcel along Route 9W in Valley Cottage to build senior housing on a five-acre parcel along Route 304. The project involves demolishing the remnants of the former New City Branch train station dating back to the late 1800s.
While preservationists oppose the loss of the historic site, members of the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference are excited about the acquisition of the final piece of land needed for a continuous hiking trail along the Long Path.
Clarkstown resident Peter Grafstein recently urged the Town Planning Board to preserve the train station, but Chairman Gil Heim responded that efforts to relocate the station were explored 15 years ago and deemed impossible.
As part of the deal, the Town of Clarkstown will pay the Weinbergers $125,000 for 7.7 acres on West Hook Mountain, which was chosen instead of the developer paying $400,000 to the town’s land trust for recreational use. Town Planner Joe Simoes called the arrangement “unusual,” but noted that it would improve the Long Path for hikers.
The Vanderbilt Grande project received preliminary site approval and will feature 100 rental units spread across four buildings, along with amenities such as a community room, pool, and garages for each unit. The development will be located on a re-zoned property at 41-47 Demarest Avenue, which once housed a lumber yard and hardware store.