Peekskill business owners rally against proposal that could reopen closed street

Esther Street is a small side street that was turned into a pedestrian plaza during the pandemic. City officials now want to change it back, citing issues such as illegal parking, insufficient store front access and difficulty getting emergency vehicles inside.

News 12 Staff

Mar 26, 2023, 3:08 PM

Updated 421 days ago

Share:

Peekskill business owners are rallying in opposition to a proposal that would reopen a street closed to cars since 2020.
Esther Street is a small side street that was turned into a pedestrian plaza during the pandemic.
"When this street was an active street, it didn't really serve too much of a purpose," says Ethan Kern, of the Peekskill Coffee Shop.
"It's... almost more of a back alley," says Peekskill Walks' Conor Greene.
Community members say, however, that the back alley has had a profound impact on the community.
"People know they can come to Esther Place, have a coffee or a meal, they can do a little bit of shopping, check out the art galleries or just sit – open up a laptop, open up a book and do work," Greene says.
"There's nowhere we can come and gather quite like this...It's not something we'd have an opportunity to do without having Esther Place as part of our community," says resident Amanda Dennstedt.
"Not only was it a boom for our business, but a boom for our community and to be honest a boom for every other business that surrounds the park space," says Brian Orsi, owner of Bucko.
City officials, however, now want to change Esther Street back, citing issues such as illegal parking, insufficient store front access and difficulty getting emergency vehicles inside.
"We're looking at options that will give us an open space for people to enjoy when it's the weekend when it's heavily used, and also businesses owners can still do their business," says Mayor Vivian McKenzie.
Many people say reopening the street would be bad for businesses in the area. Hundreds of residents and business owners have signed a petition demanding to keep Esther Street as a pedestrian plaza permanently. They hope that a compromise can be reached.
"The issues raised can all be addressed. This space has worked safely for three years already. What we're saying is to relook at the parking and loading on Division Street. Trash is not an issue. Businesses bring their trash to the end of the block and DPW picks it up here," Greene says.
The Peekskill City Council is expected to vote on the proposal at Monday's meeting.


More from News 12
1:41
County manager: School bus driver dies in collision with another school bus

County manager: School bus driver dies in collision with another school bus

2:16
Warm, dry weather continues for Tuesday, most of Wednesday

Warm, dry weather continues for Tuesday, most of Wednesday

1:35
North Castle police: Officer shoots man who attacked police with knife in Armonk

North Castle police: Officer shoots man who attacked police with knife in Armonk

1:45
Catskill EMS workers taken off duty after video shows apparent mistreatment of disabled patient

Catskill EMS workers taken off duty after video shows apparent mistreatment of disabled patient

0:57
Parents of late Pace University student receive award at 2024 commencement ceremony

Parents of late Pace University student receive award at 2024 commencement ceremony

0:49
Saigon Table: New Vietnamese eatery brings healthy fresh food options to Rye

Saigon Table: New Vietnamese eatery brings healthy fresh food options to Rye

1:44
Pride event organizers aim to attract more families while preparing for potential disruptions

Pride event organizers aim to attract more families while preparing for potential disruptions

1:42
Shrub Oak resident: It's only a matter of time until someone is killed on Old Yorktown Road

Shrub Oak resident: It's only a matter of time until someone is killed on Old Yorktown Road

1:56
Remembering Mark Woods: Rockland County reflects on councilman’s life

Remembering Mark Woods: Rockland County reflects on councilman’s life

1:10
Police: Multivehicle crash on Sprain Brook Parkway kills 1

Police: Multivehicle crash on Sprain Brook Parkway kills 1

0:21
Officials: 2 hospitalized following head-on collision in Cornwall

Officials: 2 hospitalized following head-on collision in Cornwall

Woman indicted for fatal hit-and-run that killed 2 people, including man in wheelchair

Woman indicted for fatal hit-and-run that killed 2 people, including man in wheelchair

0:13
Dominican University in Orangeburg holds 70th annual commencement ceremony

Dominican University in Orangeburg holds 70th annual commencement ceremony

0:22
Police: Westchester patrol car struck by vehicle in Valhalla

Police: Westchester patrol car struck by vehicle in Valhalla

2:16
Israel music festival terror attack survivors share their Oct. 7 experience with New City congregation

Israel music festival terror attack survivors share their Oct. 7 experience with New City congregation

0:48
DEC says it's monitoring oil slick found at Village of Piermont creek

DEC says it's monitoring oil slick found at Village of Piermont creek

0:28
Yonkers police: 32-year-old man stabbed on Stanley Avenue

Yonkers police: 32-year-old man stabbed on Stanley Avenue

2:04
Rep. Mike Lawler launches bid for reelection in Haverstraw

Rep. Mike Lawler launches bid for reelection in Haverstraw

0:23
American flags torn down outside car dealership in Greenburgh

American flags torn down outside car dealership in Greenburgh

1:35
Gran Fondo World Championship brings cyclists through Rockland

Gran Fondo World Championship brings cyclists through Rockland