PORT CHESTER, N.Y. --The Port Chester Daily Voice asked Port Chester Mayor Dennis Pilla to tell us what his resolutions are as the village enters 2013.
“My resolution is to continue collaborating with the [Village] Board to keep taxes low, services high, and continue improving the image of our village,” he said.
The village is undergoing what many are calling a renaissance with the revitalization of the waterfront, a plethora of new restaurants, the opening of The Capitol Theatre as well as a new luxury apartment building.
“Your downtown is your post card,” said Pilla. “When people think Port Chester they don’t think of the bedroom community, they think about the downtown that they’ve driven through.”
To build up the downtown, the village replaced trees, provided property owners with incentives to improve their facades, changed music and entertainment ordinances and changed sidewalk café ordinances.
“The game plan was when we came out of the recession, we would be ready for investing,” added Pilla. “We’re an affordable community to set up shop… the strategy worked.”
Pilla says he hopes to extend a similar revitalization strategy to more residential areas. “It’s very tough to get consensus on my board but we’re moving forward, I’m hopeful we will have a housing rehabilitation program going,” he added.
Along a similar vein, the village recently extended by four months its housing-violation amnesty program, which is aimed at easing penalties for work done on homes without permits.
The program was approved in October and initially supposed to wrap up at the end of 2012. However, the Board of Trustees decided to continue accepting applications through the end of April. Pilla said the time is not enough and hopes for a more continuous extension of the program in the coming year.
“We need to be a little more merciful and we have to be practical. I’m not being political saying that, it’s bothersome to me,” said Pilla. “There’s an election coming up [in March] and I think the people who are not being practical about it should not be re-elected.”
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