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Residents Come To the Rescue of St. Paul’s

Board approves repairs for historic building’s clock tower and roof

Ever since Hurricane Irene wrecked havoc on Garden City last summer, the roof and clock tower of St. Paul’s Boys School’s main building have remained in a state of disrepair. After the village board voted against approving the allocation of funds to pay for damages, it was Garden City residents who intervened and generously offered to perform the labor and donate funds for repair costs.

During the Feb. 2 board meeting, Vincent Muldoon, owner of Old World Quality Corp., announced that he would be willing to perform the repairs on St. Paul’s pro bono. Muldoon wanted to further clarify what he said to residents at a recent Eastern Property Owners’ Association meeting.

“I’m a resident of the village for a long time and I’m willing to help out in any way I can and I would give up all my own time, the overhead and carry the cost of my company but obviously employees and materials has to be paid for,” he explained.

While the building may need additional work in other areas, Muldoon explained that he is going to focus on the two main leaks incurred from the hurricane. “We’re also going to donate all the time and effort it’s going to take at our own expense for my employees and the material needed, whatever time that is, to fix the clock tower so from Stewart Avenue we can get the clock tower looking like a respectable place Garden City is as a whole,” Muldoon added.

The clock tower will not be able to tell time again, but the face will put back up and resemble how it looked before, Muldoon said.

Mayor Donald Brudie praised Muldoon for his generosity and told the audience that Old World Quality Corp. is one of the foremost builders in Garden City. “They’ve built many homes, beautiful edifices. They’re quality people. They came in and they gave us a bid of $6,500 to repair the roof...They’ve also indicated that they are going to do what they can do for the clock tower at no charge to the village,” the mayor said.

Stewart Avenue residents Bob and Patricia Kaliban, who initially offered a check in the amount of $11,300 for the original estimate of the repair work, recently pledged to the village to pay $6,500 for the cost of the building materials.

However, members of the village board still had to vote to approve the repairs and Village Board Trustee Dennis Donnelly asked that the following parameters be met with.

“I am not opposed to accepting the generous offer of funds from Mr. and Mrs. Kaliban to be used for the repair of the clock tower. But I think we should be clear on certain parameters surrounding their gift and the subsequent offer to do the actual repairs from Mr. Vincent Muldoon of the Old World Quality Corporation,” Donnelly said.

Reading the list of parameters out loud, Donnelly stated that “the acceptance of the gift shall be used for the clock tower roof repair with NO conditions and/or restrictions; and if the funds are insufficient to complete the repairs, the village is under NO obligation to supply any funds to complete the repairs,” he read.

Donnelly further stated, “that all necessary worker protections regarding hazardous materials be adhered to and all OSHA safeguards be met; that the acceptance of this gift shall have NO bearing on the conclusions and findings of the FEIS on the St. Paul’s property; and that this repair is a voluntary project done for aesthetic purposes and that threat of a lawsuit by Mr. James Kenny regarding the village’s obligations regarding St. Paul’s was NOT a consideration in this matter and in no way is this action to be construed as an acknowledgement by the village of any fiduciary and/or trust responsibilities to maintain the St. Paul’s Main Building.”

Donnelly added that if at such time in the future it becomes necessary to demolish the clock tower, “NO funds would be returned to the Kalibans nor would any additional funds be reimbursed to Mr. Muldoon for pro bono work performed by his corporation; and finally, we recognize this work is a patch which will NOT prevent water damage to the building. There are numerous others leaks throughout the roof.”

Trustee Andrew Cavanaugh said he accepted the language Donnelly offered because “I think it is sort of nonoperative,” he explained.

Trustee Episcopia inquired as to how long the repair on the tower will last. “I’m not an expert on clock towers, but I would say the work we do will last a considerable amount of time. What that is I am not qualified to give an exact time frame. But we do things, we do them once; we do them right, we do them to the best of our abilities so I presume it will be there for a long time,” Muldoon said.

The board voted to approve the repairs 7 to 0 (Trustee Nicholas Episcopia abstained), which met with a rousing applause from the audience.

During a period of public comments, Bob Kaliban spoke to the audience and thanked the board for approving the repairs. “On behalf of my wife, Patricia, whose idea it was in the first place to offer to help fix St. Paul’s roof, I am absolutely astounded of your vote...to accept $6,500 instead of the $11,300 that we first offered. I feel very rich tonight,” he quipped.

 “We hope that sooner than later St. Paul’s will be saved from the unbelievable things that happen from rain and snow and all these things and we can have St. Paul’s saved forever and be very proud because Garden City is blessed by having that here…” Kaliban said.

“We thank you,” Mayor Brudie said.