77 Westchester Demo

Demolition of the old gas station at 77 Westchester Ave., which will be transformed into the Village Green.

The Pound Ridge Economic Development Committee is considering holding a groundbreaking ceremony soon to mark the start of construction work for the Village Green project.

A groundbreaking ceremony would bring attention to the project in the center of the business district, Diane Briggs, who co-chairs the committee with Rebecca Wing, said at the Nov. 15 meeting.

The construction work is being done by R. Pugni & Sons of Katonah. The current contract does not include landscaping, some furniture purchases and some lighting aspects of the project, which could be funded next year through donations.

The Village Green will include a small patio, a shaded walkway, a lightly landscaped lawn, and a modest elevated stage for public performances. Town officials see many possible uses of the space, including seasonal celebrations, community-based group fundraisers and a place for dog walkers, cyclists and other visitors to relax in the heart of the business district.

Though construction has not yet begun on the Village Green, preparations are underway, Ms. Briggs said during the committee meeting. “They’re starting to move heavy equipment to the site,” Ms. Briggs said. The construction company will be putting up a 6-foot barrier fence in front of the property on Westchester Avenue for safety, she said

No date for a potential groundbreaking ceremony was agreed to at the committee meeting. The committee is considering conducting the event in conjunction with another previously scheduled event, such as the annual Christmas tree lighting, rather than just a standalone event. “We are interested in coordinating with an event or activity in town when residents and their families may be present,” Ms. Briggs said in an interview following the meeting.

“Construction of the Village Green is expected to begin in the next few weeks,” Ms. Briggs said Nov. 16. “We have a construction meeting planned for this Friday (today, Nov. 19) when we will learn more about the next steps.”

Ms. Briggs said at the meeting there is no specific date yet for the completion of the Village Green construction. 

Marketing plan

Also discussed at the meeting was the committee’s effort to promote Pound Ridge. 

“We are in the preliminary stage of exploring marketing strategies and currently reviewing our first marketing proposal,” Ms. Briggs said Nov. 16. “We would like to invite community stakeholders to be part of this process and help determine the needs and future direction of any potential marketing initiative.”

The committee is considering entering into a contract for creation of a new online calendar of events and a blog. Committee member Peter Kraft said blogs may not be updated as often as they should be and a new website would be a better place for a calendar of events.

“The thought is that the town, via the EDC, would manage this project,” Ms. Briggs said last week. “We hope that part of a future marketing plan will include an integrated event calendar with functionality to highlight and promote community events, local business events, and events that will be a draw to visitors,” she said. The committee also wants users to be able to sort the events calendar by category such  as arts, entertainment, nature and the outdoors and what she described as “family fun,” to reach various audiences.

A new website is part of the committee’s efforts to promote Pound Ridge, Ms. Briggs said in the interview a day after the meeting.

“The Pound Ridge Economic Development team has determined that it may be time to tell our ‘story’ of all that Pound Ridge has to offer to a wider audience to improve the economic vitality of the town, which will ultimately benefit the business community, local organizations, residents and the town as a whole,” Ms. Briggs said. “This could involve the creation of a state-of-the-art destination website for widely promoting all aspects of the town in a holistic and inclusive manner, as well as the addition of professional marketing communications and social media marketing.”

Ms. Briggs said her committee wants members of the local business community to become involved in the website development. “We would like to invite community stakeholders to be part of this process and help determine the needs and future direction of any potential marketing initiative,” she said. The committee hopes to “reach out to these stakeholders in the next two weeks and schedule a first meeting the first week of December,” she said. 

Neal Rentz is contributing reporter at The Record-Review. He was a staff reporter at The Examiner and other metropolitan area community newspapers.

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