VALHALLA, N.Y. – For the past few years, residents of Westchester County were deprived of the beautiful landscape view on top of the Kensico Dam. That changed on Thursday as the county along with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) reopened Kensico Dam Road for pedestrians and other recreational uses.
County Executive Rob Astorino said reopening the roadway is a reassessment of security after the area was closed down for security reasons after the attacks on 9/11.
“Things don’t stay the same,” Astorino said. “Some of the things that happened after 9/11 where everything has shut down, clearly there’s been a relaxation of that.”
According to DEP, the roadway was shut down to vehicles shortly after 9/11 and completely shut down to pedestrians since 2005 when the area went under a $42 million renovation. The renovations included the installation of new electrical security equipment, fences to safeguard open areas of the dam and various landscaping work. As of Thursday, the roadway will now be open for walking, jogging, bicycling and other recreational activities.
Astorino said that talks are ongoing on whether or not to reopen the road for vehicles as well.
“Mayor Bloomberg and I continue to have those discussions, I think there’s still some things that we need to work through such as a difference of opinion in some law enforcement,” Astorino said, who declined to further comment on any security matters related to the dam.
Mount Pleasant Town Supervisor Joan Maybury said reopening the top of the dam to pedestrians Thursday marked the return of a Mount Pleasant staple.
“This is a historic day,” Maybury said. “I live in this town, as does Rob, and we remember when families were able to come up here and walk across this beautiful place.”
Among other local officials who were in attendance of the opening ceremony was North Castle Town Supervisor Howard Arden, who said reopening the roadway showed that things were back to the way they used to be.
“It shows a return to normalcy following 9/11,” Arden said. “You can look over the dam and see the 9/11 memorial and you think about all those people that perished that day and reopening this is a memorial to them as well because all of those freedoms that we lost that day are being given back bit by bit.”