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2004 Visions in Planning Award Winner
Croton-on-Hudson – pursuing the vision of a “Village in a Park”

        The Village of Croton-on-Hudson’s Hudson River waterfront plan and implementation is only one part of a larger vision for the Village, the vision of a “Village in a Park”.  Located along 7 miles of Hudson River shoreline, the Village may be viewed as a triangle, with the Hudson and Croton Rivers making up two sides of the community and the hills to the North and East completing the third side.
        In conjunction with its Hudson River waterfront plan, the Village, with the assistance of New York State, Westchester County and Historic Hudson Valley, has completed a series of projects, resulting in the preservation of the Croton River Gorge and its parks, trails, and well field protection area.  This was accomplished through the acquisition of wetlands in the lower part of the Croton River, the purchase of additional property, the creation of trails, and facilitating the addition of the Ottinger Estate to the Croton Gorge Park.  At the mouth of the Croton River, with funding from Metro North, a Kayak/Canoe Launch was created and, in partnership with the DEC, the United States Army Military Academy at West Point, and Hudsonia, a study was undertaken to investigate habitat impacts resulting from the removal of rail road ties. Most recently, the Village has organized with the County, State and other interested parties in an effort to establish an intermunicipal Compact and Management plan for this tributary of the Hudson.
        Completing the triangle of open space, the Village similarly implemented a variety of projects for its north and east boundaries.  In place of a dense residential development, the Hudson National Golf Course was created with hiking trails that link the Saw Mill Audubon Society property to the Jane C. Lytle Arboretum and the Village’s extensive trail system.  The Arboretum was created in part with Village property.  Reaching beyond its border to reinforce this leg of open space, the Village fostered the placement of the extensive Blue Lake property off Route 129 into State hands.
        Once this extensive trail system and open space plan was put in place, Croton-on-Hudson was able to turn its attention to strengthening its "core".  Solid planning tools were used to enhance its identity and sense of place, making it more walkable and bikable, and establishing large and small parks within walking distance of most residents.  The adoption of a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, the undertaking of numerous studies such as the Greenway Vision Plan, Open Space Plan, Trails Master Plan, and Waterfront Feasibility Plan, and the need to revise the Village’s 1977 Master Plan, led to the development and adoption of a new Comprehensive Plan.  The completion of the Comprehensive Plan has resulted in recommendations to update the Village Zoning Code, the adoption of new Gateway Districts, and finally to the undertaking of a Transit District study at the Village’s transportation hub at the rail road station where it owns substantial property.

        The end result of the past two decades of planning, environmental studies, train construction, and open space acquisition is that Croton-on-Hudson has truly become one of New York State’s model communities.