Since 1993, the village boards of trustees have been trying to find a suitable use for the St. Paul’s Main Building at an affordable cost to the taxpayers. A quick look at the village website will show you the list of studies that were done over the past 17 years which sadly have produced no satisfactory result.
The main goal of the purchase of the St. Paul’s property was the acquisition of the much-needed playing fields. Although it was hoped that the main building could be converted for public use, in 1993 there was no such plan in place. In fact, preserving the green space and fields was the primary purpose of the purchase. Preserving the building for public use was to be done if feasible. And we have spent the last 17 years studying the feasibility with no solution.
The village began the reconstruction of Village Parking Field 7N (located opposite Village Hall between Stewart Avenue and Seventh Street), two weeks ago. Construction hours are between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday. One section of the parking field will be closed at all times during the construction. The contractor has begun work in the center section of the field behind Key Food. The construction area is fenced and available for deliveries only. Customers are encouraged to continue to support these merchants and park outside of the construction areas within the field or on Seventh Street.
Weather permitting, and in accordance with the schedule of Phase I, the completion of the concrete curbing should be completed today. By Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010, the parking field striping shall begin and on Thursday, Oct. 14, Phase I should be completed. The westerly section of the parking field will be closed to begin Phase II.
The entire project is anticipated to take eight weeks to complete and the contractor and village will be working to maintain safety and minimal inconvenience.
The Committee to Save St. Paul’s and the Garden City Historical Society presented their plan to the Garden City Board of Trustees on June 29, 2010. It was also distributed to some of the property owner’s associations. The idea is for the village to turn over the building to the Conservancy. The Conservancy could then raise private money and grants to rehabilitate parts of St. Paul’s. In addition, for the initial renovation the Conservancy would issue 15-year bonds paid for by lease payments made by the village. In other words, the taxpayers of the village would pay for the rehabilitation through increased taxes.
Residents are reminded that it is their responsibility to maintain the shrubs and trees on their property to assure that branches do not overhang and obstruct the Incorporated Village by doing your part to keep Garden City a pedestrian friendly community.
It is wonderful to see so many Garden City residents as well as visitors to our village enjoying alfresco dining on New Hyde Park Road, Franklin Avenue and Seventh Street. This year there are 31 businesses, which have permits. There is no doubt that alfresco dining is an overwhelming success. I encourage residents to come early and combine shopping with dining outside at their favorite place. The outdoor dining will continue through the month of November.
The village trustees should send alternatives for St. Paul’s to a public referendum, as should every project that requires additional Garden City debt. Over the years, the village trustees Okayed over $20 million in bonded debt (including $6.8 million this year, largely for road and parking infrastructure) and roughly $105 million in future employee healthcare commitments (worse than debt because this goes up with medical cost inflation). The village trustees decided unilaterally that it was in resident’s best interest to incur these debts, but now they only may decide to give us a say on St. Paul’s?
All residents and friends are invited to attend the annual inspection and open house on Sunday, Oct. 3 at 12:30 p.m. The program will be conducted at fire headquarters and in the employee parking field, located on the west side of Village Hall on Stewart Avenue. There will be fire safety demonstrations, an appearance by Sparky the Fire Dog, a poster contest, refreshments and more. The 14th annual observance of Fire Prevention Week in Garden City will take place Oct. 3 through Oct. 9.
Your fire department does an outstanding job to protect our lives and homes. Please stop by to show your support for them. I’m sure that your entire family will enjoy the program.
(Editor’s Note: The letter below was addressed to Mayor Robert J. Rothschild.)
The loss of St. Paul’s would be a devastating blow to our community’s rich history. The fact of the matter is, the majority of the residents of the village did not vote in favor of demolition. Of the three options on the ballot of the 2008 public opinion vote, the results were as follows: option one, demolition = 2,272 votes; option two, saving the exterior = 1,857 votes; and option three, converting the building into condos = 873 votes. When added together, options two and three obtained the majority with 2,730 votes; the village voted to save St. Paul’s.
Writing on behalf of the Garden City Community, I wish to thank Fire Chief William Graham and the members of the Garden City Fire Department for conducting the beautiful ninth year anniversary ceremony of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It was a very moving experience and assisted many of us to get through that difficult day.
In an earlier column, I shared some suggestions on how to secure your property in preparation for a hurricane. The following are additional recommendations on what you can do now to be prepared in the event that a major storm hits Long Island.
As of Sept. 13, 2010, the village will begin issuing Railroad Parking Permits for the 2010/2011 year. The annual fee is $150, (this equates to approximately $.60 per day).
Permits may be obtained at the Village Business Office, 351 Stewart Ave. Residents who already possess a 2009/10 permit will receive a renewal application by mail, which may be returned to the village either by mail or in person. Please review the information provided and correct any erroneous data and/or complete any missing information. A copy of your vehicle registration must accompany your application and check. The 2009/10 parking permits will be honored until Oct. 31.
Bring the family and enjoy a great day at our oceanfront park at Point Lookout for Hempstead Town’s sixth annual Collector’s Car Show on Saturday, Oct. 2. The show will take place between noon and 4 p.m., with classic car “check-in” occurring from 10 a.m. through noon.
Each year, car enthusiasts and spectators alike take a walk down memory lane and remember days gone by as they pass autos ranging from a ’57 Chevy to a classic Thunderbird.
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