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Exploring Issues: Carvel in Cortlandt

While Carvel never left Cortlandt, its old building has sat vacant for a few years. What would you want to see there?

Carvel relocated its business from a unique old-fashioned ice cream stand to the small shopping center across the street on Westbrook Drive a few years ago.

Today, its former building sits empty and crumbling at the roundabout with the driveway chained off.  According to town officials the building housed Carvel for more than forty years.

Undoubtedly, many of you drive past that old building every day. Do you ever consider what you would like to see in that spot? Would you want it to be knocked down, restored to its original condition so something else with a nostalgic feel could move in, or rebuilt into something completely new? Restaurant? Retail? Service?

Take our poll and tell us in the comments.

For some interesting information on Carvel (did you know the owner opened his first shop in Hartsdale in 1936?) read Westchester Magazine's article from this past August,  "Fun Facts About Carvel."

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JM November 21, 2011 at 02:41 PM
I think that entire round-a-bout is such a great location for something unique and fabulous than simply looking at a Carvel stand. There is decent parking and good traffic access. So, I'll approach it this way: If ''I'' had $10 Billion..... I'd buy it all and would see this entire area rebuilt to suit many, very small specialty private restaurants (10 - 20 patrons max each?) -- why not give several up-and-coming chefs his start? And perhaps a handful of private services (specialty gifts, gourmet food shops?) What interests me though is not "big," its not brand, its not chains -- but rather, a quaint, special place just for this area. Create charming, stone buildings, slate roof, two-story structures, outdoor dining, etc.
Liz Giegerich November 21, 2011 at 03:28 PM
It sounds like you'd want to make the roundabout a quaint Main Street type of place, rather than just a traffic circle. I like that idea! Where do you consider the "Main Street" now? Cortlandt Town Center? Oregon Road?
JM November 21, 2011 at 03:41 PM
Right Liz - a mini-Main St. concept, an intimate plaza experience if you will, that I personally think is a pleasant diversion from Rt.6 type of developments.
Michael Karger November 21, 2011 at 04:55 PM
Thank you Liz for addressing this topic. I’m hoping the “town officials” you mentioned will help remedy this current eye-sore and safety hazard. The first step is to tear down the old depilated structures. The existing structure that housed the old Carvel is located too close to the traffic circle. It’s future use would be dangerous to patrons and pedestrians. The building behind it is also in a state of complete disrepair. A possible new improvement would need to be properly set back from the road and therefore limit the size of a new improvement. The lot would also require the appropriate amount of parking spaces. The current owner of the parcel doesn’t seem to care nor have any ideas regarding a new tenant for the lot. For all we know the owner may entertain selling it for tax purposes and may now realize the parcel has limited use. I think the town should look into buying the parcel for additional green space. The traffic circle does not need any additional businesses, stores, restaurants or health offices near it. What can’t you simply find by driving a few miles up Westbrook Drive toward Route 6?
happypatcher November 21, 2011 at 05:17 PM
I would like to see the Carvel back there and a good Drive-In Movie with a nice dark spot to park my 56 Chevy
Eileen Burns November 21, 2011 at 09:23 PM
Somebody told me that it is the longest standing (albeit just barely) original Carvel stand....Knock it down. It looks as though it could be dangerous....In my opinion!
Eileen Burns November 21, 2011 at 09:25 PM
But be sure to save that sign!
nancy November 21, 2011 at 09:58 PM
I truely love Jims ideas they are awesome! Would love something unique for this town!
Emilia November 22, 2011 at 02:06 AM
It would be nice to see a breakfast place where local people can come for coffee, etc.--a diversion from diners and fast food places.
Bob Foley November 22, 2011 at 02:55 AM
While site certainly has "visibility" it does NOT have safe "access" (cars entering and leaving..and pedestrians getting to it crossing busy bottom of Red Mill Rd. and Westbrook Drive; and Oregon Road cross through). That's the key. Knock the structure down and put in suitable passive "green space" for neighborhood people to walk to and enjoy a park bench under a lampost and tree or two (not too close to the curve of the roundabout!!!). You can NOT open a high-volume business or restaurant at that site--too dangerous and confusing to facilitate safe auto and truck access even with the extended part of the site (easterly on Oregon Rd. (with the old run-down pub structure).. Smaller is safer.
Liz Giegerich November 22, 2011 at 03:10 AM
Hi Bob, Thanks for your expert take on this. It is definitely a tricky parking lot. I just got back from Peekskill City Hall where their economic development specialist discussed some of his plans with me. He showed me some photos of interesting public artwork, which got me thinking. That might be nice in that old Carvel spot. Something the does not even require a parking lot to be enjoyed. I know Cortlandt has very nice memorials and statues. Is there any large public art project anywhere?
craig November 22, 2011 at 05:37 PM
I'm not sure the Town should be in the Real Estate business. I think most taxpayers would like to see their money used for other purpose's.This is a busy location not exactly a site for a park or green space.Lot's of auto noise and fume's .Tricky access for pedestrian's too.I do agree the buildings should be razed.
John Murray November 24, 2011 at 12:21 PM
I agree with this and similar sentiments, especially around the impracticality of locating a business off this very busy traffic circle. Plant more flowers!

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