Written by Margaret Whitely Friday, 01 April 2011 00:00
More than 200 Williston Park and surrounding area residents crammed into the second floor Williston Park Village Hall Assembly Room to discuss exactly what is being planned for the Cross Street School that the Mineola School District is leasing to Solomon Schechter Day School for the fall of 2011.
At the outset of the meeting, Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar explained that Cross Street, the property of the Mineola School District, has been leased by the district to Solomn Schechter Day School of Nassau County.
Also at the meeting to answer questions was the Superintendent of the Mineola School District Dr. Michael Nagler and Rabbi Lev Herrnson, who is the head of Solomon Schechter Day School that will house 6-12 graders at the Cross Street School in Williston Park.
Ehrbar said that the main reason for concern, by the members of the village board of the Village of Williston Park was strickly traffic and safety. He repeated many times during the very, very long night, that traffic and safety was truly the only concern of Williston Park since the school is the property of the Mineola School District.
He said, “If the school uses the narrow, one-way street, that passes by the Williston Park Library and the Williston Park Fire Department annex connected to Williston Park Village Hall for its buses, it will be a very serious traffic problem since there is very little room to navigate getting in and out of the parking area behind the school and inevitably there would be a back-up spilling out onto Willis Avenue, from Hillside Avenue and interfering with the arrival of buses for St. Aidan School on Willis Avenue also at 8 a.m.”
The hours of Solomon Schechter School are from 8 a.m. to 3:46 p.m. and Rabbi Herrnson explained, when asked, they were so long because after the regular school hours are over the students then attend Hebrew instructions at the school.
Further, it was pointed out that it will be even worse exiting from the school onto the one-way street and then trying to exit via Hillside Avenue during the height of the rush hour every day.
Someone mentioned that perhaps the traffic would be held up for a few minutes on Hillside Avenue until the buses exit, as is the case at the current Solomon Schecter School located on Cedar Swamp Road in Glen Cove, but that would probably have to be approved by members of the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) since Hillside Avenue is a state road.
Mayor Ehrbar said, “We will listen to everyone’s concerns and we expect everyone to be courteous and respectful of everybody here. It should be an interesting discussion. It is two-fold for us. We have questions we would like to ask of the Mineola School District and secondly it is a chance for the district to dispel a number of rumors that are being circulated throughout the Village of Williston Park.
“The concerns that many have emailed me about are issues that this board does not deal with, but rather they concern the Mineola School District and its school board.
“Our issues are basically, traffic and safety in the immediate vicinity of the school, this building (Williston Park Village Hall), St. Aidans, Willis Avenue and Hillside Avenue.
“The other issues that have been discussed, I must repeat, are school district problems. The field use is a concern for us, but it is not our main issue. Our main issue is traffic and safety.
“We have also requested that nothing moves forward until a traffic study conducted by the school is completed. We will limit the discussion on this topic for only one hour. Please listen to questions already asked so that the same questions are not asked over and over again.”
The good intentions of the mayor, however, never came to fruition because the questions ran a good deal longer than just an hour. Further, not everyone was courteous or respectful and some just yelled out questions and comments that did not belong at the meeting and they were told so by the mayor.
In fact, someone yelled to the mayor, “We are not going to re-elect you” and mayor Ehrbar shot back, “I don’t care but you do have to be courteous and polite.”
When it comes down to it the main concern was for the number of buses that will be used to transport the students to the school estimated to be 8 long buses, 25 short buses and 20 vans and they all will be parked on the site after the students are delivered to school.
Further concern was voiced from the audience members that the high school students, of age, would be allowed to drive to school and it was explained that only seniors are allowed to drive to and from school and at that the crowd erupted, stating youthful drivers would be careless and reckless thereby making it less safe for the children, especially those in the neighborhood.
Rabbi Herrnson disagreed and felt there really was no safety issue regarding the buses or the students in their own cars.
Over and over again residents of Williston Park complained that the playing fields, situated in back of the school, have been used by the Williston Park Little League and by the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) for 25 years and not using them would affect the quality of life in Williston Park.
Rabbi Herrnson said they would be free to use the fields after the students attending the school were finished using them, which would probably be in the vicinity of 6 p.m. and that caused an uproar from the crowd.
The meeting ended finally close to midnight with many of the attendees leaving with no anwers to their many concerns.
Solomon Schechter Contract With Mineola School District
Many residents from both the Mineola and Williston Park communities said they did not know what was in the proposed contract.
However, Anton Newspapers obtained the contract and the following are just some of the items covered:
• Tenant: Solomon Schechter Day School of Nassau County
• Usage: Middle and High School-grades 6-12
• Location: 6 Cross Street, Cross Street School, Mineola
• Term: Five-years plus 3-months with the right to cancel after 27 months with one 5-year option to renew.
• Tenant responsible for: Operating expenses, including but not limited to security guards, custodial staff and maintenance supplies.
• Landlord responsible for: Snow removal, sanding, landscaping, building and site improvement structural maintenance and major building systems including HVAC (boiler, etc.) (water, electric and gas/oil) etc. Based on the schools past history, this is estimated at approximately $56,000 in the aggregate. Further review to confirm variables.
• Lease Commencement: June 1, 2011. Rent commencement Sept. 1, 2011 representing three months free rent concession during the move-in period.
• Landlord’s sole cost:
1. Deliver blue prints of existing conditions.
2. Reconfiguration of the “gymnatorium” space into a regulation size baseball court.
3. Fresh paint throughout.
4. Deliver building with heat, plumbing, electrical and any other building system in proper working order.
5. Roof to be delivered free of leaks
6. Plumbing and electrical work necessary to configure two science labs (approx. 600 SF each). Tenant shall provide the required fixtures and furnishings to be installed by landlord.
7. Telephone wiring throughout building to accommodate VOIP and high speed internet service/move to patch panel/switches (from projection room when demolished)
8. Installation of video security cameras, intercom and remote door lock entry at select building entrances.
9. Available cafeteria furniture (folding tables).
10. Use of storage trailer.
Security: Two months base year rent.
Brokers: No brokers in this deal.
The above lease proposal is submitted subject to change, modication or withdrawal at any time and shall not be binding until a lease has been fully executed by the parties.
June 1, 2011 to August 31, 2011-$0
Sept. 1, 2011 to August 31, 2012 $277,500
Sept. 1, 2012 to August 31, 2013-$285,825
Year 3(Sept-Aug )-$232, 500
Year 4( Sept.-Aug.) 3 percent increase
Year 5(Sept.-Aug.) 3 percent increase