When my wife and I moved to Garden City 30 years ago we quickly fell in love with the village. There was just one flaw in an otherwise perfect setting - a hole in the ground where The Garden City Hotel had once been. Since we never got to see the famous old hotel, we arrived too late to appreciate what we had missed. There was only an unattractive, wasted space that remained unproductive for much too long.
So, one of the precious landmarks which helped to make Garden City a destination was gone forever. The present hotel and apartment complex has never done anything for me architecturally. But every time we drive along Stewart Avenue, we're reminded about our rich history as we pass by the beautiful Victorian structure which is St. Paul's School.
I will admit that I've not followed the endless debate about what to do with the building as much as I might have. Still, as a resident of the Estates section, I did participate in the recent poll. I was surprised and disappointed that a small majority voted to demolish the building, and that the result was taken as a convenient proxy for a mandate to tear it down to save the cost of maintenance.
I seem to recall that the estimated expense of the demolition is well over $2 million, most of which would be raised by selling an interest bearing bond issue. Accordingly, our taxes will rise in order to pay the interest and gradually liquidate the obligation. I wonder how reliable the estimate is and how the amortization will compare to the annual maintenance?
Why should we tear down part of our history? Why should we subject the village to months of disruption and perhaps another 10 years with a hole in the ground? And why should we forever foreclose the possibility of using the St. Paul's School for some activity that may revitalize the facility and make Garden City residents proud of it again?
Gerald H. Osterberg