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HRWA-Ban the Barges Project

Municipality: Yonkers
County: Westchester County
Population: 50,000 +
Type: City

2017 Local Government Achievement Award

City Hall: (914) 377-6300

The Hudson River Waterfront Alliance (HRWA) is a coalition of Hudson Valley municipalities, formed by Mayor Mike Spano and the City of Yonkers, that have joined efforts in opposition to a proposed expansion of barge anchorages on the Hudson River from Yonkers to Kingston. The proposal, currently under consideration by the U.S Coast Guard (USCG), threatens to reindustrialize the river, compromising decades of investment in restoring the health of the river and riverfront communities.

Yonkers, like so many of the river towns along the Hudson, is in the midst of a long-term effort to revitalize its waterfront; to restore and enhance its parks; and replace closed industrial facilities with new mixed-use residential, commercial and recreational developments. Today the Hudson is our crowning jewel and our greatest asset, yet the decades of investment and progress achieved is now being threatened by a proposal that seeks to turn the Hudson into a floating crude oil pipeline and re-industrialize the river once again.

Last year, it was revealed that the USCG was reviewing a proposal put forth by the Tug & Barge industry that would establish 10 or more new barge anchorage sites on the Hudson River stretching 70 miles from Yonkers to Kingston. This expansion would cover over 2,400 acres of the Hudson and include 42 long-term berths, 16 of which would be located off the shores of Yonkers.

Recognizing that the problems presented by this proposed anchorage expansion would be shared by cities, towns and villages throughout the Hudson Valley, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano organized a meeting among mayors and supervisors of riverfront municipalities in Westchester County to initiate a discussion about the details of the proposal, concerns with regard to the impacts and to present municipal leaders with a plan to pool together resources by establishing a coalition of local governments unified in opposition, to be known as the Hudson River Waterfront Alliance or HRWA.

Mayor Spano and the City of Yonkers took the leadership role in establishing the HRWA’s Ban the Barges public awareness campaign – organizing press events; circulating an online petition and letter campaign; providing each HRWA municipal member with tools and information to post their own Ban the Barges web and social media platforms; and retaining a team of legal and maritime experts to work on behalf of the HRWA communities in examining the legal path for objection to any rule-making on this matter, as well as to gain a better understanding of the regulatory parameters of the proposed anchorage sites and the implications for localities.

The only out-of-pocket expenses for this project were the costs of obtaining legal counsel and a maritime expert which totaled $105,417. The HRWA currently comprises 33 municipal governments, representing a constituency of over 700,000 residents across the entire Hudson Valley region. The HRWA has also partnered with several key advocacy organizations, including Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson and most recently the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), to expand its resources and assist in efforts to raise public awareness

Please visit the Yonkers Ban the Barges website for additional information, photos, videos, maps and media coverage, as well as social media links.