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Proposed Open Door Move Sparks Heated Debate in Sleepy Hollow

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – The issue of whether the Open Door Medical Center should move to a bigger site in Sleepy Hollow brought out a large crowd Thursday night as neighbors continued to address concerns and patients rallied for an improved facility.

“It's been an eyesore since my husband and I bought our property,” Webber Park resident Margaret Rubrick said, later adding the move was a beneficial opportunity for the neighborhood to partner with the clinic.

Village officials have adjourned the public hearing to the board's next meeting at 8 p.m. July 19.

The Open Door Medical Center wants to move out of its current location at 80 Beekman Ave. and into a larger facility at 300 North Broadway, which sits on a third of an acre at the intersection of Route 9 and New Broadway.

The new site is directly beside the Webber Park neighborhood and a major intersection in the village. Webber Park residents have long protested the proposed move, citing issues with parking, traffic and pedestrian safety.

Open Door provides low-cost health care to many residents in Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, including dental, medical and chronic disease management care. Open Door patients and staff came out in force for the meeting, presenting a petition of 260 signatures in favor of the proposed move.

Open Door attorneys and consultants presented an updated plan to the Sleepy Hollow Planning Board on Thursday night in response to the many public hearings that have been held on the matter.

Attorney Kyle McGovern noted that the New Broadway entrances, which were previously going to be used only as handicap-accessible entrances, were now only going to be used for emergency exits. McGovern noted that three of the five doors will be closed down, and officials hope to make the New Broadway section of the site uninviting.

McGovern said Open Door still plans to hire a crossing guard to help pedestrians cross Route 9, and traffic studies have shown that pedestrians can safely take the existing crosswalk to the new site.

Planning Board member Hugh Jones said his concerns about the impact on the Webber Park neighborhood had been minimized since there would be no entrances on New Broadway. But safety for pedestrians crossing Route 9 was still something to be concerned about, he said.

“I don't think that you've answered to my satisfaction how that can be done safely,” he said. “Maybe it'll be safe. I don't see it.”

Depeyster Street resident Grey Salcedo told village officials she supported Open Door, calling it a great family clinic because she's able to walk to it.

Webber Park resident Edna Robinson asked planning officials to reject the proposal because it would cause unbearable traffic and parking congestion in her neighborhood even with changes to the project.

“Find a right location,” she said.

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