WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Wilson Kimball is the quarterback behind the residential and business growth in Yonkers. When she surveys the field, the city’s Commissioner of Planning and Development likes what she sees.
Wilson, who joined Mayor Mike Spano’s team in 2012, will be honored by the Westchester County Association at its annual Fall Leadership Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 19, at the Westchester Marriott Hotel in Tarrytown. Kimball, along with Acorda Therapeutics CEO Ron Cohen and Dr. Edward Halperin, Chancellor of New York Medical College, will be recognized with Leadership Awards.
Yonkers’ re-emergence has been a team effort, but Kimball is the person responsible for putting the pieces together. She oversees a staff of 21 comprising the Planning Bureau, Community Development Agency, Sustainability, Downtown Waterfront and Economic Development. She leads negotiations of multi-million dollar property sales and coordinates development of public and projects.
“I do manage to keep a lot of balls in the air,’’ Kimball said. “I believe in doing things 100 percent. If I did the same thing day in and day out, that would be horribly boring.”
- What : Westchester County Association's Fall Leadership Dinner
- When : Thursday, Nov. 19
- Where : Westchester Marriott Hotel, Tarrytown
- Information : www.westchester.org
More and more, businesses are finding Yonkers the right place to call home. Fed Ex is moving from the Bronx to a regional distribution center on Tuckahoe Road. Simone Development is transforming the long-abandoned Boyce Thompson Institute on North Broadway into a mixed-use complex of offices, medical space and retail. Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Hampton Inn will be building new hotels.
In the past few years, Kawasaki Rail Car, Mindspark and Big Indie Pictures, among others, have also found reason to do business in Yonkers.
The centerpiece to redevelopment in Yonkers is the Mill Street Courtyard, a 20,000 square foot park in the heart of the city. The park will include new paved walkways, landscaping, a central rain garden and street furniture. The Saw Mill River will be uncovered, and pedestrians and motorists will cross over it on new bridges.
What’s more, Yonkers is attracting the next generation of homebuyers. Millennials, or Generation Y, are finding attractive living options in Yonkers. The age group, mostly people born between the early 1980s to the early 2000s, are finding affordable apartments and homes. Among the new construction projects is River Tides, a $100 million project. The 330-unit rental complex is a short walk to the Metro-North State and will feature a mix of studio through three-bedroom units.
Kimball worked with businesses, realtors and government officials to put all the parts in place for $1 billion in development in Yonkers. Millennials are a key target demographic for Yonkers in its re-development game plan.
“We’re in a great location for millennials,’’ Kimball said. “We’re totally convenient to New York City, but we’re also the gateway to the upper Hudson and upper Westchester regions. Millennials want to go bicycling and kayaking, and not have a long commute to work. We offer a nice mix of suburban and urban.”
The competition will be keen from other communities to keep millennials, and other residents, from finding greener pastures. Kimball said she is working with agencies in New Rochelle and White Plains to keep the region attractive for homebuyers and businesses.
“We’re perfectly located to appeal to people’s indoor and outdoor instincts,’’ Kimball said. “They like the outdoors, yet they like fine dining and the good features they can find in a city. We’re going to benefit from what New Rochelle and White Plains are doing along with us. A rising tide lifts all boats. By working together and clustering, we’re going to bring a lot of people here over the next 5-10 years.”
The Fall Leadership dinner begins with a cocktail reception at 5:30 a.m. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.