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Health Center Expansion Angers Nearby Residents

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – While construction for the Greenburgh Health Center's expansion has recently gotten underway, many residents disapprove of the new development, especially its location.

The 30,000 square-foot building, expected to finish construction in early 2013, will be located at 295 Knollwood Rd., replacing the old nursery.

A main problem with the location is that sidewalks do not line either side of Knollwood Road, opponents said. As more than half of the Health Center's clients come via public transportation, it puts many people at risk, said Bob Reninger, president of the Broadview Civic Association.

Although Knollwood Road is a state road, it was announced last month that the state would not pay for sidewalks for at least another five years, said Reninger. In addition, the sidewalks need to be compliant with the American Disability Association, which could prove tough to implement on Knollwood Road's narrow street.

"That would leave at least a four-year gap where mothers in strollers and people in wheelchairs would be walking along Knollwood Road," said Reninger, a 43-year resident of Greenburgh. "We feel that would be dangerous, not only for the clients of the Health Center, but also for people who are driving there."

Residents like Lorraine Dell-Wroclawski worry about the potential of increased traffic. The new Health Center will be built near Exit 4 of I-287, and in close proximity to the Greenburgh Library, the Greenburgh Shopping Center, Maria Regina High School, Solomon Schechter School of Westchester and Pondside Village housing. Knollwood Road is also the cross street of the already-busy Tarrytown Road and Dobbs Ferry Road.

"With the over-abundance of schools and churches around this neighborhood, you have to pick and choose when it's a good time to venture out into the streets," resident Donna Signorini Porter wrote on Facebook. "Is it school dismissal time? Is church letting out? It gets ridiculous trying to plan route strategies like we are in combat. Now with a health center right in the midst of those very same schools and churches? Is it going to be better to become a hermit and stay inside?"

While it is now too late to protest, Porter said she wonders how the Health Center received clearance to build at that location. Dell-Wroclawski said it is necessary for the Town Board to explain its actions to resident in the community, as the construction will certainly disturb the way they live. The construction will wreak havoc on the view, noise level, traffic, lighting and environment, she said.

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