OSSINING, N.Y. -- The Ossining Public Library regularly screens documentaries that focus on issues throughout the world. Wednesday's screening hit a little close to home.
The library, as part of its documentary and discussion series held in the Budarz Theatre screened Mega Mall, a documentary about the origin of the Palisades Mall, located across the river in West Nyack and its impact on the surrounding communities.
The panel featured the Rockland-based filmmakers as well as David Schofield, an Ossining resident who runs SBS Printing and Shipping on North State Road in Briarcliff.
Schofield, a member of the Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce has been an advocate for shopping locally, shopping at the Ossining Farmer's Market.
The panel cautioned against pie in the sky promises like what was proposed with the Palisades Mall. Filmmakers said despite promises of new jobs and property tax relief, Rockland County is in fiscal dress.
"Their promises were not fulfilled at all," director Sara Mondale said. "There were a lot of hidden costs associated with the mall.
In Westchester, Schofield said developments like the Palisades would be unlikely. Residential developments are more common.
"As a small businessman and member of the chamber, we love residential developments," Schofield said. "They are potential customers. In Westchester we are fortunate where we live does not have those larger pieces of land to develop."
One of the questions concerned small businesses being pushed out for chain stores, particularly in Mount Kisco. Schofield said it's difficult, since landlords love chains.
"They pay the rent and people go to them," Schofield said. "People go to chains. The solution is to not go to malls. McDonalds and Gap, give me a name of a place, I don't go there. If people don't go there, they leave. We only have ourselves to blame."
Schofield said the chamber regularly keeps in touch with the village and town to find out what businesses are coming into Ossining. Some small businesses have begun to flourish in Ossining.
"Spring Street has gone from a ghost town to one of the liveliest streets in Ossining," Schofield. "We need to embrace this."
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