Comments from the Mayor: Freightway Is Not A Done Deal

Samwick Welcomes the CrowdHere are comments from Mayor Marc Samwick from the December 10, 2019 meeting of the Board of Trustees:
Freightway Community Meeting
There will be a community meeting tomorrow evening at 7pm, here in Rutherford Hall to discuss the potential redevelopment of the Freightway site.  We will hear from the two finalist developer teams, each of which will present their preliminary development concepts.  The community will then have an opportunity to convey its priorities and preferences regarding the potential redevelopment of the Freightway site. 

The Village is in the midst of a lengthy and diligent process to discuss alternatives to the aging Freightway parking garage.  This effort began in earnest with the formation of the Freightway Steering Committee in 2017 – nearly three years ago.  The Committee conducted an extensive community outreach effort that reached over 750 residents and other stakeholders and found widespread interest in pursuing a redevelopment of the parking garage – which is currently in need of about $2.5 million of repair and renovation work with more investment to follow. 

There is every reason for the Village to pursue a process to evaluate the opportunity to redevelop the Freightway site.  The primary objectives of this effort are to: (i) improve commuter parking, (ii) bring vibrancy to the Village Center, and (iii) provide a positive net fiscal impact to the Village and School District.  

The redevelopment of Freightway is not a fait accompli.  To the contrary, the Village is in the midst of a deliberate, lengthy, thoughtful and open process that is designed to engage the community in the discussion of its priorities and preferences for a potential development as well as to determine which course of action is best for the Village at this time.  In fact, the Village Board is not on a singular path to develop the Freightway site – we are on a path to investigate whether development of the site is preferable to investing taxpayer funds into an aging parking structure.  

To put it plainly, this is not a done deal. The Board does not intend to complete a development if the fiscal impacts on the Village and School District are detrimental.  The Board does not intend to complete a development if the schools will be unduly harmed.  The Board is composed of residents and we care about the same things that the community cares about.

We understand the natural inclination to want information today and to make a decision.  A development of this importance will take time to come together and progress will be iterative.  For example, school impacts cannot be evaluated until the number of residential units and the composition of those units is known. 

Tomorrow is the first of many steps of evaluating the preliminary development concepts.  The development concept will evolve and the process will play out over an extended period of time and there will be many opportunities for community input.  We ask that you recognize that we are proceeding forward to see how this process plays out before making a judgment.  That is what the Board is doing.  If a development project is beneficial and we continue to see a productive path forward, we will continue the process.  If we see that the project will yield results that do not achieve our goals, then we will stop the process and repair the garage.

We encourage you to start by attending the community meeting tomorrow and to also stay engaged in the process as the project is refined over time.

We want to hear from you and have established a dedicated email address:  We have also upgraded the Freightway section of the Village website, which can be found on a direct link on the front page of the Village website: or directly at

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow evening and to hearing from you throughout the Freightway process. 

Coffee with the Mayor/Freightway Selection Committee
The next Coffee with the Mayor will be a Coffee with the Freightway Selection Committee.  I am pleased to announce that Trustees Veron and Arest will join me at Starbucks on East Parkway at the Village Center Train Station on Tuesday, December 17th at 5:30 pm until 7:00pm.  We welcome the community to join us for a less formal discussion of items that matter to you, including the potential redevelopment of the Freightway parking garage.  We look forward to seeing you at Starbucks on Tuesday, December 17th at 5:30pm.