Mount Pleasant town board candidate Jane Abbate gets credit for being first to stick her campaign signs around Hawthorne station—a fitting locale, as the civic group that she’s a founding member of, Mount Pleasant Today, has made that corner of town a focus of its improvement efforts.
A lifelong resident of the town, Abbate, who is 46, lives in Valhalla with her husband and three children. She’s a member of the town’s architectural review board, a PTA volunteer, a real estate professional at Keller Williams and a Giants fan.
Abbate sat for a quick email Q&A.
Trainjotting: Your campaign talks about a better Mt. Pleasant. How would you make Mt. Pleasant better?
Abbate: The list is long. However, I need to start somewhere. First and foremost by focusing on improving the aesthetics and functionality of our central business districts. My goal is to make Mount Pleasant a more attractive destination for retailers and business as well as shoppers and potential new residents. As a lifelong resident there has been significant erosion to the quality and aesthetics of our central business districts. I would hope to work with the new leadership in the Building Department as well as the Planning Board to develop a plan to improve these areas. I believe if we bring about a hyper-local focus we can initiate a change to these districts. Establishing standards and practices for Mt. Pleasant can make for a favorable destination.
TJ: Sidewalks are very hard to come by in much of the town, and it seems as though people are discouraged from walking on dangerous streets. How would you address this as a board member?
Abbate: This is an area that is very near and dear to my heart. I am well aware that the residents of Mount Pleasant want a walkable community. Yes, sidewalks are in short supply, but we also want to keep our focus on preventing further tax increases. Ideally, I think we would want to look for grant money and donations to tackle such a significant capital improvement. This goes back to having a vision and a plan in place to be ready when opportunity knocks.
TJ: The Hawthorne train station area looks better than it did in recent years, but many commuters are deeply dissatisfied with quality of life issues in and around the station. How might this be fixed?
I am proud to say that as a founding member of Mount Pleasant Today we were instrumental in getting the town board to focus on the current state of the Hawthorne train station. Our efforts so far have yielded a new taxi service, a lease being signed and renovations underway for a cafe in the station house, tearing down of the old underpass entrances, a new pick up and drop off area for vans and buses to alleviate congestion at peak times, as well as pedestrian crosswalks all around town.
The train station is a good example of what can be done with little or no expenditures. It is really about commitment to standards and practices. Many of our neighboring communities would never tolerate a station that degenerated into such an eyesore. Why should Mount Pleasant. The common thread here is a plan of action with standards and expectations from developers and property owners.
TJ: What would be your number 1 priority as a board member?
See my attached Bio/Flyer [Priorities on the flyer include quality of life issues, beautification and aesthetics of the town and spurring economic development]
TJ: Please finish this sentence:
If I could put anything I want into the vacant Bel Paese space, I would put in a…
Something family oriented that brings back that hometown feeling to Mt. Pleasant.
TJ: Yankees or Mets? Jets or Giants?
Pinstripes and Big Blue and a little bit of Gang Green!