"Unlocking Tourism Potential" — Sing Sing Museum Proposal
By Tracey Corbitt, AICP
"Sing Sing — sounds like it should be an opera house or something," Holly Golightly proclaimed in "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Ask officials in the Village of Ossining and Westchester County about Sing Sing and they might say "Sing Sing — sounds like it should be a museum." And with good reason. As a Westchester County planner, I worked with Ossining mayor William Hanhauer to take the concept of creating a museum at Sing Sing to the national conference, sharing a panel with the director of Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary museum and a Philadelphia city planner. Joining us in the audience were several members of the New York University Capstone Program student team now preparing an update and expansion of a marketing report for the proposed museum.
Sing Sing has international name recognition based on its role in high-profile executions and as a gangster movie backdrop during the 1930s and 1940s. But the historical breadth and scope of Sing Sing prison, located forty miles "up the river" from Manhattan, are substantial and mostly unknown. The prison's 1825 cellblock bore witness to the evolution of the penal system in the United States and prison practices that had a significant impact on American culture.
Today, Sing Sing is the second largest prison in New York State. It is a maximum security facility and there are no plans to close it. In contrast, Eastern State closed in 1970. For decades, Ossining has struggled over whether the prison is an asset or an affliction. The Town and Village of Sing Sing changed their names to Ossining in 1901 when goods from local manufacturers were boycotted because of the Sing Sing connection. The planning issues this debate raises, as well as the potential impacts of a museum that could draw 150,000 annual visitors to a village with a population of 24,000, were the focus of the presentations.
The prison dominates the Ossining waterfront and is the largest single land use in the small densely developed village. In 1994, a waterfront development committee in Ossining determined that Sing Sing was a significant cultural resource with a story needing to be told. Plans were developed to create an educational museum within the 1825 Cellblock which would tell the history of punishment and associated reform movements as seen through the lens of Sing Sing. The concept stalled and was just recently resurrected.
But the challenges go well beyond the security issues of creating a tourist attraction at an active prison. Although the prison provided employment for residents, the maximum security prison was thought to decrease property values. Traffic and parking are already issues in Ossining but a Metro-North train station and a commuter ferry dock located a short distance from the prison gate offer excellent potential for transit access. The Village downtown features historic and charming 19th century buildings and unsurpassed views of the Hudson River but it is located a steep climb above the riverfront and the prison — creating a physical challenge for the Village to capitalize on the potential tourism market to fill storefronts with restaurants and shops. The waterfront itself is accessible by only two overpasses across the railroad.
In 2006, the Village of Ossining was selected by the New York University Capstone Program for a project to update and expand the 2001 marketing report for the proposed museum. The Capstone Team has worked with the Village and the Westchester County Department of Planning. The updated report will be used to seek state and federal funding.
Tracey Corbitt, AICP is a GALIP member and Principal Planner with Westchester County Department of Planning, NY. She is also a member of the newsletter committee.
Reprinted with permission from: metroPlanner, newsletter of the NY Metro Chapter of APA
New York GALIP Members Meet
As soon as the public was permitted access back to the area around the World Trade Center in 2001, the New York Metro Chapter of GALIP showed its concern by meeting and eating in the Tribeca area of Lower Manhattan. Five years later, the local chapter met once again at the loft of one of our members in Tribeca for a reunion.
A dozen members, including the mayor of a small town north of New York City, met for wine and cheese, followed by an aerial View of the neighborhood from the roof deck and then a guided tour of the area. This was followed by a late lunch one block from ground zero.
Rick Landman, AICP, host and guide is also a member of the local Community Board and has lived in Tribeca for almost thirty years. He pointed to the changes that are planned for Lower Manhattan and conducted a walking tour of the zoning, landmarks and history of the area. Keep the date open in another five years for the 10th Anniversary walk around ground zero.
From the Chair...
Vince Papsidero, AICP
As my first column serving as your chair, I want to thank all of the division members that expressed their support in approving me and the rest of the Executive Committee to lead the GALIP division over the next two years. The energy and enthusiasm that has been building over the past few years will propel us forward to undertake exciting work and continue our growing presence at APA's national conference.
I want to thank Marj Press, past chair, for her four years at GALIP's helm. She has completed a great many things under her chairpersonship (is that a word?), including the introduction of new events at the national conference, growing presence in the social equity/diversity arena within APA, and successful continuation of our sponsored research project.
At the same time I want to thank Mike Levine and Linda Amato for their continued leadership in the division. Mike was elected Vice Chair and Linda was elected Secretary/Treasurer. As you know, Mike has served as Secretary/Treasurer the past four years and Linda has served as newsletter editor. Special thanks also go to Jeff Davis, membership chair, for his continued dedication to our members. Together we will continue to serve division members with interesting events and challenging sessions at the national conference.
The events in Philadelphia were very successful (despite the rain during the gayborhood walking tour) — the turnout at the dinner that exceeded fire code standards! Our local host committee — Anthony Santaniello, Glen Abrams, and others — did an outstanding job with the mobile workshop, reception and dinner events.
We have begun plans for Las Vegas, working with GALIP member Lloyd Matheson who is helping to coordinate the local host committee, and Richard Hooker, senior cultural program specialist with the city of Las Vegas.
Some of the priority issues that we'll be working on during the coming year include: development of the division website (check it out at www.planning.org) and listserv; completion of our APA-sponsored research project; expansion of local events; continued participation in social equity and diversity issues, coordination with other divisions; and membership growth.
So get involved, stay engaged, and don't hesitate to contact me or any member of the Executive Committee. Have a great summer!
Conference Highlights: A great view and a great crowd
After three nights of receptions and four days of sessions, I was tempted to just stay in on Tuesday night. But after reading over the agenda, I decided I couldn't pass up the Diversity Reception at the City Planning Commission. The Commission is located on the 18th floor of a municipal building and, immediately upon arrival, I was revived by the amazing view. The reception was packed with many people I hadn't had a chance to socialize with. Even the caterer gave a great tour of the city from the window. All in all, it was another great night of networking, exchange and laughter.
Tracey Corbitt, AICP
Reprinted with permission from: metroPlanner, newsletter of the NY Metro Chapter of APA
GALIP Annual Report 2006
(as recorded by Michael E. Levine, AICP)
The 2007 GALIP Annual Business Meeting was held at the Philadelphia Marriot Hotel on Monday, April 16, 2007. Marj Press, Chair, Vince Papsidero, Vice-Chair, Michael E. Levine, Secretary/Treasurer, Linda Amato, Communications Committee Chair, Jeffrey C. Davis, Membership Committee Chair, and over thirty GALIP members were present.
Marj discussed the annual report for 2006 and highlighted major points:
- GALIP had received two kudos from the Divisions Council. First, for the research being conducted on safe neighborhoods funded by both a Divisions Council grant and Florida State University; and, secondly, for the numerous activities planned for members at the annual conference identified in the newsletter insert with an accompanying map of venue locations;
- Marj called for volunteers to assist with GALIP activities. Since we are such a small division, it is important that folks step up and participate and continue all of the great work we have done to date;
- GALIP continued its collaboration with the four other population-based divisions; this has been a three-year collaboration; GALIP is again co-sponsoring a reception with the other population-based divisions and this year it's part of APA's Diversity Forum;
- APA national has adopted a policy of "branding" and is requesting that all chapters and divisions participate in this effort. The Executive Committee is interested in this idea and will pursue further.
The Treasurer's Report, October 1, 2006 to September 30, 2007, was then distributed and discussed. Mike Levine reported that GALIP is in very good financial shape with $7,166.79 in the checking account. Revenue from membership dues remains stable. Expenses have once again been lower than anticipated and GALIP will generate a surplus for the current fiscal year of $538. The proposed budget for fiscal year October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008 also was presented. Revenues are stable at $2,800. Expenses are similarly stable at $2, 546.99.
Work plan activities for the coming year were presented by Vince reported and are expected to include:
- Completion and final reporting by Harrison Higgins and Petra Doan of the research grant in August, 2007;
- Consideration of participating in APA's national branding program;
- 2008 Conference — Lloyd Matheson has volunteered to coordinate division activities in Las Vegas, including the recruitment of a local conference committee; the Executive Committee will consider additional activities such as a Sunday brunch, dinner with a Vegas show, and student subsidies for the GALIP dinner;
- Expansion of the website;
- Continued support for growing the membership, including division funding for local GALIP events to recruit new members, such as house parties.
- Committee reports were then given as follows:
Linda reported that:
- GALIP continues to produce four newsletters each year as required by APA national; member profiles are being featured in the Gayzette, receiving kudos from APA national. Linda also encouraged folks to continue to volunteer;
- APA national is currently hosting the GALIP website; she noted there is a delay in posting current info to the website and we may want to reconsider the decision to have APA host our website;
- Gayzette is now distributed electronically and all members need to keep their e-mail addressees up to date at APA national's website (go to My APA).
Jeff reported that:
- Membership is generally stable and continues to fluctuate between 160 to 175 members;
- Regional events would help to attract new members, but they need coordinators;
- Jeff made a call for volunteers to assist with membership.
Anthony Santaniello and Glen Abrams were the GALIP members who assisted with the mobile workshop, reception, and dinner in Philadelphia. On behalf of Anthony and Glen, Marj reported:
- The reception was well attended by approximately one hundred people;
- There were 61 dinner registration reservations;
- GALIP and APA will be donating a portion of the mobile workshop registration fee to the William Way Center in appreciation of their assistance in conducting the workshop. It is anticipated that the donation will be approximately $600.
This year GALIP held an election. Serving on the nominations and election committee were Patrick Finn, Leo Lozano, Milt Phegley and Jeffery Davis. Jeffrey reported that a call for candidates was issued in early January. One nomination was received for Chair (Vince Papsidero) and one for Vice Chair (Michael E. Levine). Two nominations were received for Secretary/Treasurer (Linda Amato and Ed Buroughs).
The election was conducted electronically. Sixty-four votes or forty percent of the membership voted. The results were:
Michael E. Levine
At the conclusion of the meeting, Marj reported that she and Vince had attended the Divisions Council meeting and leadership program sessions. Vince once again encouraged all members of GALIP to form local groups and to encourage outreach to new members. Vince presented appreciation plaques to Randy Gross (Chair 1998 to 2003) and to Marj Press (Chair from 2003 to 2007) for their years of service to GALIP.
Members in the News
GALIP member Nathan L. Johnson was recently quoted in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune. Nathan made a presentation at the Pine City gay pride picnic. The city of Pine City is a community of about three thousand. It is located about 65 miles north of the Twin Cities. Nathan, a city planner for Pine City, read a short speech welcoming out-of-towners and encouraging visitors to patronize local merchants, as well as to return for the Freedom Fest, later this month from June 29 to July 1, and the Pine County Fair August 1st through the 5th. "It's good to be a welcoming community for the sake of the economy," he told picnic-goers. If you're interested in the event or Nate's presentation, he can be contacted via APA's members directory.
Conference Highlights: An old time block party
Social events can offer the best education. Before the rains came, the GALIP held a "block party" Saturday evening hosted by two Philadelphia planners with homes on opposite sides of a narrow Center City street lined with townhomes from the 1850s. With drinks and finger food in hand, about one hundred planners from Seattle to Austin to Columbus to Virginia Beach (and many less likely places in between) drifted between the homes trading stories and perspectives. The content of graduate programs, watershed planning, urban design, GIS, rural life, planning and politics and, of course, home renovation were a few casual debates I joined with students, planners at all levels of careers and elected officials. It was a mini-conference without structure over a delightful three plus hours.
Ed Buroughs, AICP
Reprinted with permission from: metroPlanner, newsletter of the NY Metro Chapter of APA
STaR Announces AICP Certification Maintenance Subsidy Program
Since the onset of the discussion that has led to the establishment of a continuing education requirement to maintain the AICP designation, the Small Town and Rural (STaR) Planning Division has expressed a concern about the equity of this requirement as it pertains to many of their Division's members. Unlike their metropolitan "cousins", small town and rural planners frequently earn less salary, do without training budgets, and quite often are solo practitioners that can not leave their place of employment during the work day.
To address these equity concerns, STaR is happy to announce the establishment of a subsidy program designed to help defray the expenses involved in maintenance of the AICP certification. To be eligible for the subsidy, you must be a member in good standing of AICP and STaR, and earn less than $50,000 a year from planning.
Here is how the program works:
Only APA-approved Certification Maintenance coursework and/or study materials are eligible for the subsidy. The applicant must submit the course to STaR before registration. This allows STaR to analyze the content of the course, its eligibility with APA requirements, and also to advertise the course to other members.
Proof of attendance at a seminar is required. As for self-paced materials, STaR reserves the right to ascertain whether the materials were, in fact, studied. Subsidy payments are contingent on submission of an article of no less than 300 words for publication in the STaR newsletter. The article should explain what was learned as a result of the certification maintenance work, as well as its application to small town and rural planning. The article need not directly mention that the member received a STaR subsidy.
Reimbursement checks would be sent to qualifying members as received by the Secretary-Treasurer after receipt by the Newsletter Editor of the required newsletter article. A maximum subsidy of $500 per two-year maintenance period is allowed. The maximum subsidy per course is $100.
If this is a program that interests you, feel free to contact STaR Chair Dale Powers at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Dale at 320-245-6707.
GALIP Treasurer's Report
October 2006 through September 2007
|Private Member||0||$ 0|
|Member Recognition||$100||$ 264.76|
|Internet Fees (Domain Name)||$100||$ 46.99|
|Leadership Travel (Chair or Designee)||$500||$ 600.00|
|Conference Catering||$400||$ 900.00|
|Local Host Appreciation||0||$ 100.00|
|Local Events||0||$ 100.00|
|Net Income (Loss)||$ 538.25|
|Bank Balance March 10, 2007||$ 7,166.7|