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School Board Mum On Island Trees Developer

 

While Island Trees School District officials plan to reexamine a proposal to develop senior housing on 11.3 acres of property currently used to house the Stephen E. Karopczyc and Geneva N. Gallow schools, district officials have so far been unwilling to identify the developer. 

 

The plan to sell the Farmedge property was first conceived in 2010, when BOCES dropped its lease on the Gallow school. The school district issued a request for proposals. After reviewing its options, the Island Trees Board of Education selected and presented to the

public a proposal to develop 160 to 247 housing units for seniors over 55.After public outcry against the project, the district said it would go back to the drawing board, re-opening discussions and engaging a wide range of stakeholders. However, despite requests from the public and the press, the district has steadfastly declined to identify the developer of the initial proposal—which may yet end up being the winning bid. 

 

“We’re still in the midst of a potential real estate deal,” said Island Trees Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy.

 

According to Murphy, the school district’s attorneys have recommended that the developer’s identity be kept confidential so as not to scotch any future sale—in part or in whole—of the 11.3 acre property. 

 

“We don’t want to alienate people bidding,” Murphy added. “We want to keep our relationships with these people.” 

 

But that's got some people's dander up. According to Robert Freeman, executive director of the New York State Committee on Open Government, since the district shared the nature of the proposal with the public, the identity of the developer should be public record. 

 

“There is no good reason for delaying disclosure,” Freeman said. “Whether or not [the district] goes through with the proposal or not, it is public record and subject to FOIL.” 

 

According to Dr. Christopher Boiallis, an Island Trees school district parent, the board wasn’t transparent in their bidding process. “Maybe this procedural nightmare could have been avoided if it was done correctly by state guidelines,” Boiallis said during a Levittown Property Association Meeting, last March. 

 

Murphy added that the district’s legal advisors have already been in contact with Freeman, and plan to speak with him again about some of the nuances surrounding the proposal. 

 

After a community forum last February, school officials say they will go back to the drawing board to reexamine the proposal with a committee of community stakeholders. According to Murphy, the district has recently sent out letters to 57 residents, to see if they are interested in participating on the committee to review different options for the property. 

 

“We’re not moving forward with anything until this committee meets,” Murphy said. 

News

A group of Levittown parents are voicing their concerns with letting their children walk to school, since it would mean they would continue to cross Hempstead Turnpike.

 

“My kid has to cross [Hempstead Tpke.] daily without a crossing guard,” said Division Avenue parent Wendy Lantigua. 

 

For Lantigua and others, the dangers of Hempstead Turnpike became all to real after 13-year-old Brianna Soplin was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, last June. Not to mention the fact that another 14-year-old Levittown student suffered multiple injuries after being struck in hit-and-run, last February. 

On Sept. 14, Hempstead town officials joined family and friends of fallen New York City paramedic Rudy Havelka, to unveil the re-dedication of Birch Lane in Levittown. 

While surviving the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Havelka wou ld later die of an illness related to his service at Ground Zero.


Sports

The annual One Love Long Island (OLLI) Yoga Festival takes place at the Sands Point Preserve on Sunday, Sept. 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. All profits will be donated to organizations that support survivors of human trafficking, locally and globally. 

 

The festival will unite 16 Long Island yoga studio communities in a round robin of the traditional yogic practice of 108 Sun Salutations from 9:30 a.m. to noon, whose offerings will look to create long-term and sustainable solutions to eradicate the human trafficking epidemic by raising funds and awareness for the cause.  

As a fitness coach and a mother, Melissa Monteforte of Locust Valley knows how important it is to stay healthy, and how difficult it can be for women to make themselves, and their health, a priority. Wanting to help women take charge and feel more in control, she organized the Fit & Healthy Mamas Annual 5K run, now in its third year, which took place on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

 

“I felt like running was the best outlet when I became a mother; it’s such a great way to get fit and feel healthy and I wanted to share that with other moms,” says Monteforte, 31. “I wanted women to feel celebrated, no matter their fitness level, and to put their health first.”


Calendar

IT Board of Ed - September 17

All Star Comedy - September 18

Irreversible Paul Lynde - September 19


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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