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YONKERS-Westchester County plans to spend $7.5 million to dovetail with the City of Yonkers ongoing efforts to redevelop the JFK Marina here. The county and city’s improvement projects are part of a county-municipal effort to develop a pedestrian walkway called “RiverWalk” along the Hudson River shoreline from the Riverdale section of the Bronx, through Yonkers and extending all the way to the Putnam County line north of Peekskill. The RiverWalk, when completed, will cover more than 46 miles of Hudson River shoreline.

The county’s funding initiative was announced last Thursday at a press conference at the JFK Marina, which is situated adjacent to the Hudson River Museum and on the campus of the Riverside High School, a high school specializing in environmental studies that is scheduled to open in September. County executive Andy Spano explains that the county-funded portion of the plan would include a “Hudson River Amphitheatre” that would be built into the hillside in the city’s Trevor Park.

The facility will feature outdoor performance space that would seat up to 350 people. The county would also share in the cost of constructing a new 150-car parking structure and pay for the rehabilitation of parts of JFK Memorial Drive to provide improved access to the marina. A portion of the county funding will also go toward developing sections of Riverwalk in Yonkers to facilitate public access to the river. The marina redevelopment program, including the opening of the amphitheatre, is expected in 2009.

Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone says the city will develop a new picnic pavilion with barbeque area, a spray/play park, restrooms and a boat launch for canoes and kayaks. The city is also drawing up plans for a 125- to a 150-slip public boat marina nearby. “We all want one thing–a vital, bustling waterfront where the public has access to open space along the river, a place that attracts tourism and with it economic development dollars that will make for a stronger city and county,” Spano says.

Funding for the county’s share of the waterfront redevelopment project would come from the county’s capital budget. The proposal must be approved by the Westchester County Board of Legislators. Spano says he plans to submit a legislative package and bonding proposal to the county Board of Legislators in early October.

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