When a Transit Agency Becomes a Suburban Developer

By John Surico, CityLab; August 21, 2019

Like many towns across America, Harrison, New York is desperate to revitalize its downtown. The same old grocery stores and nail salons have made up most of the retail landscape for years. “If you look at a picture from the 1950s and ’60s, it looks the same today as it did then, with the same places,” says Ron Belmont, the town supervisor. “There’s not much variety.”

The big magnet to the Westchester County town is its Metro-North Railroad commuter rail station, which provides a 45-minute connection to midtown Manhattan. Although Harrison has had a steady population increase since 2010, Belmont is thinking about the future: namely, a younger generation that prefers the bustle of urban life to the quiet of suburbia. The community needs more to make them stick around, he believes. “What I’m trying to do is attract Millennials, so eventually they want to buy here in Harrison,” he said.

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