Len Simon: Helping Small Businesses & Building Community

To the Editor:

It was a happy coincidence that during our first Board of Trustees meeting in person since the omicron variant took hold, we considered ways to bring more Sunday vitality to the Upper Village.

A few weeks ago, the Croton Business Council (CBC) proposed that the number of Upper Village Sunday street vendors be increased and that their hours of operation be expanded. To help guide our deliberations, the Village put the idea on the agenda for our February 22 Work Session and solicited input from residents and business owners in the Upper Village.

Currently, three Sunday vending licenses are permitted between 1 and 8 PM in June – August, and between 1 and 6 PM the rest of the year. CBC proposed to the Board a maximum of eight vendors who would start earlier in the day to accommodate customers and allow time for set-up.

A wide variety of businesses throughout the Village wrote to us expressing strong support for this concept. As one Upper Village non-restaurant merchant noted: “It would be a boost to the community and I would consider adjusting my store hours to open earlier as well…. Our Village is built upon a strong sense of community and this would be a wonderful infusion of much needed energy”. In addition to the letters received, some 450 Croton residents also let us know their concurrence with the idea via their signatures on a petition.

There would also be a charitable element to this plan—each of the vendors who receive the licenses will be asked to make a weekly contribution to Croton Caring—a benefit to our whole community.

The next step is making this idea operational, including any decisions to be made on parking specifications and hours of operation. The Village Manager will prepare a resolution for the Board to consider during our meeting on February 28th. Should the Board enact that resolution—and there appears to be very strong interest in doing so—the Village will implement the expanded licenses and hours likely to start sometime in March. We’ll then plan to revisit the program after a few months of operation to determine if any adjustments are necessary.

These last two years have presented challenges like we’ve never seen before. No members of our community felt these impacts more than our Village businesses. As the pandemic hopefully and finally fades, we all need to work together to move forward. Lots more Croton friends and neighbors gathering for food and shopping in the Upper Village on Sunday mornings will be a great first step in that direction.

Len Simon, Trustee
Village of Croton-on-Hudson

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