SUFFERN – The Suffern Parking Authority is pleased to announce that work has begun on the second phase of its “Stay Local, Shop Local” initiative. The SPA, in conjunction with area commerce groups and local artists, will be transforming the Authority’s offices on 45 Lafayette Avenue in Suffern into an Open Commerce and Cultural Arts Center. The offices are currently being remodeled with a grand opening scheduled for early November. The new gallery will provide local artists with a venue to display their work free of charge. Michael Malandra, a prominent Suffern photographer, will be the first artist to display his work in the new cultural center. “Suffern has a great deal to offer from a cultural standpoint and we feel that this part of program will prove attractive in bringing visitors, commerce and especially new artists to the Village,” former SPA executive director and current board member Scott Shedler said. “If you look at any of the towns in our area that have a thriving economy, whether it be Nyack or Ridgewood, art plays an integral role in making those communities a popular destination. By maintaining and promoting an art gallery in the Village we will be able to attract artists from the tri-state area who, in turn, will bring whatever following they have. “This is just the second step in what we see as an opportunity to revitalize the downtown area in the Village.”
SPA executive director Bill Schoenleber supports Shedler's plan. The SPA also announced this week that as part of its “Stay Local, Shop Local” initiative, parking in all commuter lots within the Village of Suffern is now free to all residents and merchants. In addition, the SPA has reduced rates by five percent for non-residents in an effort to attract more retail customers to the Village. There are more than 1,000 parking spaces for visitors, employees and commuters in downtown Suffern area. The Suffern Parking Authority manages more than 90% of the public parking inventory, including on-street spaces. Its mission, while fulfilling the fiduciary responsibility to the users, is to provide safe, convenient and affordable parking in support of economic development in the Village of Suffern.