“We’ll use a little bit of compromise, and a whole lot of cooperation.” So says a developer in Kent, New York, who wants to construct an enormous, 13 retail store complex in this small community that lies in the New York City watershed. The developer has the nerve to name his 418,000 s.f. project after a Lake: “Lake Carmel Centre”. The “Centre” would be right across Route 311 from another retail Frankenstein: the Patterson Pavilion, a proposed 519,700 s.f. retail complex. The two proposals combined almost hit the magical absurdity of a million square feet of retail sprawl. The “Pavilion” project, which is in Patterson, NY, just over the townline from Kent, would spread over 92 acres, and contain 6 large stores and a movie theater. Or is it “theatre”?. The Pavilion developer is National Realty and Development Corporation of Purchase, NY. Patterson officials are thrilled with the prospect of a megamall within their borders. “Once completed,” said one Patterson Supervisor, “the Patterson Pavilion will become the largest shopping center in Putnam County.” And the largest must be the best, right? “Jobs will be created for both our teenagers as well as our senior citizens,” the supervisor told the Putnam County Courier. He promised the new development would produce “at the same time, millions of dollars in sales tax and real estate tax”. He noted that the project would mean a “windfall in tax revenue” for the local school district. No economic impact study of these projects has been done. The back end of the project will abut Lake Carmel, so plans call for “a significant amount of screening and fencing”, as if you can conceal a half million square foot project. When the Courier newspaper went into downtown Patterson to get reaction from local residents, one man seemed incredulous for “something of this size to be locating in the sleepy little town of Patterson. We don’t even have a Main Street anymore.” Or, as one letter to the editor stated recently about the Kent project: “Why would we sacrifice everything we have in our small community just to enrich another wealthy developer who offes nothing but empty promises. Where does it end?” For now, Lake Carmel Centre and the Patterson Pavilion provide residents with almost a million reasons to just say no. Residents are hoping that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection will say no.
Residents are organizing to push the Pavilion and Centre projects into Lake Carmel. For contacts in the anti-big box effort in Kent and Patterson, email [email protected]