2008-11-21 / Letters

Letters To The Editor

Email: editor@ gcnews.com

Listen To Your Constituents

To the Editor:

I am very interested in the outcome of the St. Paul's acreage and facilities. As a life long resident (for over 40 years), I have heard and read many different ideas regarding the use of the grounds at St. Paul's. While my personal opinion is to demolish it, the majority of opinion is what I feel is the right direction to move with the property, and the BOT should and need to vote accordingly. They need to listen to their constituents; the residents and owners of the St' Paul's property.

I realize that the upcoming vote is a non-binding one, but it is very important for all residents to state their opinion and vote. I would truly hope that the current administration would place great value in the opinion of its constituents, and select the final outcome of the building that would reflect what the village residents would like to see take place.

As I have stated, my opinion is to tear down St. Paul's. I will support my decision to demolish the beautifully historical building by simply stating; if they can tear down the world's most famous sports arena, Yankee Stadium, then we can tear down the main building at the St. Paul's complex. Let's use it for additional parkland, such as more multi-use fields and a small amount of additional parking to support these new fields. Who knows, we might even find additional funding in our budget to build a state of the art multi-sport facility with stands and artificial turf for all levels of athletic competition to use, regardless of their age.

Bob Townsend

Need Rec Center

To the Editor:

I wish to congratulate the Garden City High School Girl's Swimming and Diving Team for their incredible victory (10th consecutive county championship) and Coach Anne Sullivan for the longest running winning streak in GCHS history. We are truly blessed to have such a dedicated and talented coach to lead both our girl's and boy's swim teams to stellar victories.

It is also remarkable that this accomplishment was achieved without the team having their own pool to practice in or to host a meet. I am aware that the practices take place at various pools (the Garden City Pool at the end of the summer, then the Adelphi pool or the Hofstra pool when the Adelphi pool is under repair). I entreat the parents of swimmers to give further details about this.

So, on the heels of this success, I would like to propose that St. Paul's be demolished and in its place we build a state of the art recreation center, with indoor pool. I understand that the Garden City Pool is self-sufficient. So this recreation center would be modeled to be self-sufficient, with membership fees and swim lessons at a charge. As the Garden City Pool employs many village high schoolers, so could this rec center. With so many people paying for fitness club memberships, there is a market for this. I also believe that such a rec center would increase property values. I have known many young families to say that one of the attractions of the village of Garden City was the Garden City Pool. A rec center would certainly increase the appeal and uniqueness of Garden City. This rec center could also serve as a community center with meeting rooms.

I don't know how much serious thought this idea has been given in the past, but I believe that now is a good time to think about it before the village vote on Dec. 2nd.

Tina Ienna

Artificial Sweetener-

Good For You?

To the Editor:

Last Friday's articles focusing on Avalon Bay's latest proposal to sweeten the deal have added yet another chapter to this reality show gone bad.

1) Does the timing of this latest proposition concern you? Within several weeks, we will vote on the St. Paul's issue and decide our fate and now we get a new and better offer.

2) If Avalon Bay has gone back to sweeten the deal once, why not a second, third or fourth time? It sort of makes me feel that maybe the initial negotiations left too much on the table.

3) If Avalon Bay can go back to sweeten the deal, then why can't the entire village of Garden City also go back to the table and reconsider our options. A lot has happened in the last six months that warrant consideration and input from the entire community.

4) I salute our form of government and all the time our elected officials and volunteers have put in. I back the process and believe each group should have the support of long term commitments from residents. The committee of a dozen or so volunteers could use the latest in information technology, websites, blogging, etc. to poll our entire community. These results would be public information for all to see and for our elected officials to utilize. We have some of the best and brightest living in Garden City, and I am sure they would volunteer to shape the long term vision of our great community. We need the commitment and passion exhibited recently by so many of the residents who have put timeless effort and research into fighting Avalon Bay.

Avalon Bay's latest proposition reflects poorly on all of us. Say NO to Avalon Bay and YES to the future of Garden City!

Daniel T Donnelly

Get The Facts

To the Editor:

I came across this website that delineates the St. Paul's issue factually without slanting the information one way or another. www.gcfacts.com . It offers no opinions - only the facts. I urge everyone to read it. If you want more information, go to the Village website, www.gardencityny.net - on the left side, click Administration - then click "Report on Mayor's Committee on St. Paul's, July, 2008.

This subject has been studied and studied and studied over the past fifteen years. Over the years, many, many residents have requested the opportunity to vote. The time has finally come.

Mark your calendar, Tuesday, December 2nd, at the St. Paul's Fieldhouse, between the hours of 1 pm and 9 pm and go vote. There will be ten voting machines, so the lines shouldn't be long. The bigger the turnout, the more the results will be truly indicative of resident opinion.

I thank the members of the Board of Trustees who truly want the opinion of the residents before the Board votes. Even though only two of the associations agreed to conduct the poll for that purpose, the vote is open to ALL of the residents so no-one will be disenfranchised. This is your vote and my vote. LET'S MAKE IT COUNT!

Jerie Newman

A Hollow Victory?

To the Editor:

Those persons who think that the St. Paul's building can continue to be indefinitely maintained with the present level of expenditure of less than $200K per year are sadly mistaken.

The most vulnerable part of any building is the roof. On St Paul's, which has a flat roof, the elements are being kept out with patches and tarpaulins. Inevitably there are places water infiltrates, causing damage to the roof beams and walls underneath. The third and fourth floors are now dangerous to walk through. The $13M cost of true mothballing will be necessary to replace the roof, point the masonry, and repair the windows to prevent the building from continuing to suffer a lingering death. An example of this type of decay can be seen on the east façade of the much newer Ellis Hall where a whole section of brickwork has fallen.

Last year $94K was spent for oil to heat the building to 55 degrees under control of the one thermostat. An additional $14K was spent to patch the decades-old boilers. The cost of heating oil and other unanticipated expenses (part of the roof collapses?) will most likely be higher in this and succeeding years. Even these amounts come from our taxes and could surely be used to fill some of the other shortfalls in the upcoming budget. The Trustees argue about much lesser amounts when adopting a budget.

The St. Paul's building is our heritage, dedicated in the stonework to A. T. Stewart, and should be preserved. But the funds must come from a source other than Village taxes, and AvalonBay is the only apparent source. It's amusing to note that those who would prefer not to use AvalonBay's money would rather spend their fellow taxpayers' money on the untenable idea of "continued minimal maintenance" than offer their own. That the idea is untenable is the reason why that option wording was not included as the third poll choice.

What will the Committee to Save St. Paul's have to say when their adamant and vociferous refusal to say anything good about AvalonBay leads to the majority of residents preferring demolition? It will be a hollow victory indeed.

Bill Bellmer

Support For AvalonBay

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter because I want residents who read this newspaper to know that not everyone opposes development of St. Paul's. There are many of us who support AvalonBay's (AB) proposal. AB will restore the main St. Paul's building to its original grandeur both inside and out, and will relieve the Village of the costly burden of maintaining it or even having to cover the cost of demolition. It troubles me that so much false and misleading information is put forth under letters to the editor week after week by those who oppose AB. And now there are also misleading ads to contend with.

One writer claims the ballot for the 12/2 opinion poll has inaccurate and misleading information with regard to the cost of demolition and mothballing choices. That's not true. The figures included are the most recent estimates provided in the report from the Mayor's Committee on St. Paul's. They are just that - estimates. Any revision based on more recent market conditions will not significantly alter the approximate values stated. Further, the report does not include any cost associated with the AB proposal because there are no significant out-of-pocket costs that would be incurred. Actually, the most immediate result of AB developing the property would be the saving of annual maintenance costs now being paid by the Village.

Another letter stated that the purchase of St. Paul's was done with the overwhelming support of residents who recognized the value of this landmark. I understand that 3,090 residents voted on this acquisition and 2,726 supported the purchase. I would hardly call that overwhelming support out of a population of some 20,000+ residents. Yes, if the AB proposal is rejected, we may have to give up on the restoration of St. Paul's ourselves because it would not be fiscally responsible of the Village Trustees to impose the cost do to so on the residents. I can't control the village and school budgets since much of those costs are contractual or mandated. However, when it comes to St. Paul's, the AB proposal gives me the ability to let someone else pay to restore the main building and I will get more access to it after it is restored than I've had for the past 15 years.

The Committee to Save St. Paul's (CSSP) says that AB will get a $24.6 million tax break and that homeowners will make up the difference. I don't follow their logic. This property has never paid a dime in taxes, so whatever has been each homeowner's share of village and school taxes will not really change (other than whatever increases we may face with new budgets next year). Yes, if this was a fully taxable proposal, then we'd all see a reduction in our share because we would now be able to spread the taxes over a larger base. But to say we will have to absorb $24.6 million more in taxes is absolutely wrong. These figures are not incremental, out-of-pocket costs. A better way to say it is if the AB proposal is rejected, then the residents will have to continue to absorb this property's share of taxes and the Village will never get any PILOTS or full value real estate taxes from the property ever! Under the AB proposal, it seems to me that we are gaining tax revenue, perhaps not as quickly as some would desire, but it is more than we get currently from this property. The CSSP also states there will be little public use of the historic main building. Not true. I understand residents will have access to about 5,000 square feet 365 days a year at no cost. The CSSP further states that the additional structure will be enormous. What is their definition of enormous? The 4 story building will be lower than the main building so it can't be that enormous.

I agree that parking is a concern. Both AB and the Village will have to address it and I have confidence that our residents will find a way to deal with it. Perhaps we'll all have to carpool more often. AB is offering to provide 120 parking spaces around the property. Another writer expressed concern that this offer will result in the loss of even more green space. Apparently, some of the spaces AB proposes to create are actually places where residents currently park illegally. In many cases, therefore, we are only losing torn up grass and tire marks.

Overcrowding in our schools; again, the alarmists should stop. Yes, there will likely be some school aged children from this development. Our schools are not currently overcrowded and apparently a recent demographic study showed there will be a drop in school population in the near future. And you cannot take the current annualized cost of educating a student and multiply that full cost by the estimate of new children possibly entering our schools. The figure of $15,000 includes the salaries and benefits for all administrative staff, including the Superintendent, as well as building and other overhead costs. I don't think we'll need to hire another superintendent no matter how many children result from this development. Ask someone what the incremental cost would be for each child beyond whatever current capacity there is and even if we have to hire a handful of new teachers to cover all these children, I just can't see it even approaching hundreds of thousands of dollars much less millions. These new residents will be our neighbors, maybe even our own seniors who have downsized. They will attend our churches and shop in our stores and maybe even volunteer to teach your kid how to play a sport. How can that be so bad for our Village?

Traffic is another area that seems to be exaggerated. I wonder how the intersection of Rockaway and Stewart survived when St. Paul's was an active school. If the AB development is approved, there may be some extra traffic at the beginning of the school day, but about a half hour later you wouldn't know there was any problem. And when school lets out in the afternoon, not all the residents of the AB development will be coming back home at that time. And I don't see traffic jams or problems over at Wyndham, which is a much larger development than what is proposed at St. Paul's. Maybe the extra traffic will force us all to slow down a little.

Another resident misstates that the 12/2 poll was crafted by AB. This is also not true. It was put together by volunteer residents of two POA's and has the support of a majority of its directors.

As for village services, Trustee Lamberti provided a reply to this concern. The Village does not anticipate any need to increase taxes as existing staff and equipment would accommodate the services required under the AB proposal. Also, there is no need for police or fire departments to require additional apparatus. Now, that may change over time but not to the point where it will offset the benefit we will receive from having a restored icon, with public space, a home for seniors who desire it and revenue coming in to the Village.

AB enhancements are not a trap. Yes, they are trying to sweeten the deal. This does not seem unusual to me. Who puts their best price on the table at the beginning of a process? Was your first offer on your home your best? This is all part of the negotiating process which had not ended when AB started their public review process. I don't have a problem with AB making a profit. After all, they are assuming all the risk. Whatever their costs wind up being, the fact remains that they undertook the renovation and therefore they will be entitled to the benefits. Some residents are now saying that AB's costs are way overstated. Has anyone completed a home renovation recently that came in under budget? Doesn't everything always wind up costing much more when all is said and done? AB wants to give us $1 million to renovate Cluett Hall and/or Feringa fieldhouse. And they will do the work! Is there someone else out there who wants to give us a million dollars? Please step forward.

Another misleading comment on page 40 of last week's GC News, that 92% of the residents who have registered their opinion are opposed to AB. Did they mention they are deriving this statistic from about 200 emails sent to Mayor Bee? Two hundred emails hardly conveys a consensus of the majority of the residents in the Village. This same ad refers to the AB proposal as a giveaway and it's a burden the taxpayers can't afford. Well, the burden I can't afford is the burden of this issue going on and on for how many more years. Alternatives have all been exhausted. It's unfortunate, but I believe it to be true.

I genuinely admire residents who feel passionate about this issue. We need everyone to get involved in this decision. I urge everyone to read the report from the Mayor's Committee on St. Paul's. Also, read the front page article from last week's GC News - Board of Trustees Keeps an Open Mind on St. Paul's. It provides a timeline on St. Paul's and explains in detail how we got to this point.

Please, form your own opinion by getting the facts and go to St. Paul's on 12/2 so that our Trustees have some additional feedback from, hopefully, a true majority of the Village.

I hope no one will choose to trash me because I may have a different opinion than you. I promise you I am not in AB's back pocket, I have not been brainwashed (which someone suggested to me at a recent BOT meeting) and I choose to trust our Village officials to take in all the facts and decide what is best for the entire Village. I have been a director of the EPOA for the past 5 plus years and have the privilege of receiving reports first hand from our Trustees. Mayor Bee attends our monthly meetings with rare exception. He has never said he favors AB. He always said he wanted public input before making a decision. And I believe him because I've seen him all these years devoting countless hours of his personal time for the benefit of this Village, his hometown, as well as yours and mine.

Please vote on 12/2 and thanks for "listening".

Allison Sparacino

Confusing Polls

To the Editor:

The next steps after the December 2nd Opinion Poll on St. Paul's, which, hopefully, will involve most of our taxpayers, will be forwarding of the results to our Trustees, who, subsequently, may, or may not, petition our State Senator, Kemp Hannon, to file a home rule action nullifying the Parkland status of the site so that it can be privately developed. The Trustees are not required to use the poll results to make such a request. They may simply pass on their own views of the Village sentiments, especially if the Poll data are too confusing to characterize.

Mr. Hannon, of course, has declared that he could not take such an action without certainty that a significant majority of the Village would support it.

Confused about the designs of the poll, I called a Trustee, and a POA activist to ask how it was developed. I learned that there was no dialogue between the parties as to how the Trustees would find the data most useful, so we have a 3 question version, a 2 question version, and possible double voting in both. In the 3 question version, 100% would be split in 3 parts, so the highest single percentage might be outweighed by the 2 lower percentage choices. (e.g. AB 40%: Demo 35%: Mothball 25%. AB has the highest single approval at 40%, but 60% don't want AB.) How should the Trustees interpret this? It was never discussed. How would the Trustees combine the 2 question version,( yes or no for AB,) with the 3 question version, which provides for only positive votes? Assume some of the positives are really negatives, and add the negatives?

In the background of all of this, are many assertions that ("the majority, most, a great many") of our tax payers want to preserve the building at all, and any, cost. I have never seen a single quantitative statement supporting those assertions. On the other hand, the buried poll taken a few years ago was detailed, quantitative, and very much to the contrary.

The beat goes on!

Frank Kiernan

Where's The Urgency?

To The Editor:

A critic recently wrote: "One of the most cynical clichés in architecture is that poverty is good for preservation." Poor villages don't spend $6 million to demolish a historic structure. If St. Paul's is razed by government act, it will be caused by a poverty of vision, civic pride and patience; not finances.

Where's the urgency to demolish? The building's structure is sound. Implicit in the proposal to demolish, if the AvalonBay proposal is not approved, is that no future Village Board and/or citizenry will find a solution. The compulsion to demolish is the solipsistic need of elected officials to end the problem on their watch.

My suggestion is that, after the inevitable rejection of the vast AvalonBay project, which is not preservation because it destroys the context of the site in which the historic structure sits, the future of St. Paul's be left to a long-term planning committee so it will no longer dominate the government agenda.

James M. Kenny

Don't Choose Blandness

To the Editor:

Although I am a Garden City native, I have lived in Atlanta, Georgia for the last nine years. As an outsider who is not a property owner in Garden City (nor an architectural historian), I would like to offer some thoughts on efforts to preserve the St. Paul's School building.

For several years, I used the LIRR entrance at Penn Station at 34th Street and 7th Avenue every day. As you walk down this relatively new corridor towards the escalators, artist Andrew Leicester's broken columns adorn the walls on either side of the passageway. These wall murals are intended to remind us of the stately Pennsylvania Station that once stood at that location, demolished in late 1960s -- a poignant reminder of what can happen to our cultural heritage when we are too short-sighted. The remorse felt by New Yorkers when Penn Station fell led, of course, to the historic preservation movement in New York City which has saved countless buildings. We can now enjoy the jewel that is Grand Central Station -- a building that was once in hopeless disrepair -- because of the swift reaction to the loss of Penn Station.

Having recently heard some of the debate over the struggle to save St. Paul's, I wanted to remind Garden City residents of the irrevocability of their decisions. Perhaps there is no viable economically sensible option for saving St. Paul's (or even just its facade). I cannot offer any easy suggestions in that regard. I would like to argue that that old dilapidated building is an architectural treasure that should be preserved even if it requires great sacrifice. Atlanta, my home since 1999, is a beautiful, leafy, livable city, but is almost completely devoid of the historical texture that makes the architecture of northeast so interesting and significant. In deciding whether St. Paul's is worth saving, Garden City residents can choose if they want to take their town one step closer to blandness ones finds in the suburbs of Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston or Dallas. A building like St. Paul's can make a community something more than just another collection of golf courses, tree-lined streets, and soccer fields.

Although today citizens may view the building as a civic liability imposing a horrible burden on taxpayers, I urge you to be farsighted. From St. Paul's, drive ten miles in any direction and I defy you to find more than a handful of architecturally significant buildings. It would be a shame if people realized what a treasure they had only after it lays in ruins. I hope that future generations of Garden City students playing on the Middle School fields will have more to remember of St. Paul's and their history than a photograph or a poignant wall mural.

Paul O'Grady

GCHS Class of 1986

PhD, American History, Emory University

Save Our Kids -

Not St. Paul's

To the Editor:

Nothing against St. Paul's. It is a beautiful, historic building but saving it is just not practical or even a viable alternative at this time. Saving our kids however, is practical, viable and essential. Recent studies show that an alarmingly high percentage of all kids have tried drugs and alcohol by their early teens. We can not be so naive to think that just because we live in one of the country's best neighborhoods that our kids are not also experimenting with drugs and alcohol. In fact, our demographics may actually make it more likely that they have access to the same.

We all know that the main reasons they try these things are peer pressure and boredom. Turning St. Paul's into a Sports/Social Center can combat these problems and offer virtually unlimited ways to help our kids, strengthen our community and significantly raise our property values. Our teenagers need somewhere to go at night. All of us would be happy to have them stay at home and invite their friends over so we can keep an eye on them. The problem is they understandably want to be out of the house. We need to give them an alternative to hanging out and walking the streets.

The recently proposed GC Sports/Social Center could be that alternative. It could offer all of the following and so much more:

Sports, Arts, Music, Dance, Tutoring, Senior citizen activities / programs

The GC Sports/Social Center would be the place for kids to go in town. They could hang out with their friends in a safe and supervised facility. They could play ball, work out, study for the SAT and PSAT, practice, rehearse, go to dances, the options are virtually unlimited and all the while they would be off the street, away from negative influences and in a safe wholesome environment. It would be one more feather in Garden City's cap proving that we are a community committed to our youth.

The additional beauty of the Center is that it could actually end up saving all of us a ton of money. So many of us are spending ridiculous sums of money each year on tutors for the SAT and PSAT. We shell out even more for "professional trainers and coaches" in baseball, lacrosse, basketball, soccer, football, field hockey, and other sports. We pay for private lessons so our kids can learn musical instruments. We send our kids to art, dance and karate classes. We do all of this to encourage our kids, to help them achieve their potential and to hopefully help them someday get into the best colleges. The fact is, we could do all of that right here in the Center and save a fortune. We could solicit volunteers from town to teach many of these things. Our town is blessed with a veritable dream team of experts in every field mentioned above. There is a tremendous amount of talent in our town as seen every day on our fields and in the gyms with the hundreds of volunteers who coach and offer instruction.

In addition to those experts, our high school abounds with star athletes and immensely talented dancers, musicians and incredibly gifted students. These students are often looking for jobs. The center could provide them with the opportunity to earn some cash and develop teaching and coaching skills. This is a win win situation. Our kids get jobs close to home in a save environment, our other kids get expert instruction and we all end up saving money by not having to send our kids to professional trainers, tutors and coaches. Other towns have great recreation centers. Floral Park and Rockville Center are just two that come to mind immediately. Adding one in GC would certainly increase the value of our homes and the quality of our lives.

St. Paul's is a magnificent building. It would be great if there was some way to save it but that does not seem possible. Turning it into the GC or even St. Paul's Sports/Social Center would be a great way to preserve some if its legacy and to greatly benefit our kids and community. The thought of driving down Stewart Ave. someday and not seeing St. Paul's is daunting and depressing. The best way to soften the blow of losing one of our landmarks would be to replace it with something all of us could be proud of. The Sports/Social Center would tell everyone that we are a great community committed to our kids, each other and our great town.

Harry Packman

Need Unbiased Info

To the Editor:

Many of us sense that there is something terribly wrong with the way decisions are being made at Village Hall. We were supposed to have a simple up or down vote on AvalonBay. It has now become a cynical effort to manipulate residents with doom and gloom economic projections about two out of the three choices. If our Trustees really wanted a meaningfully vote, all of the facts would be presented to Village residents in an unbiased fashion.

The most glaring missing fact involves the net cost (if any) to consolidate Village functions at St. Paul's. Our trustees cannot tell us what that net cost is because our current consultant (Karen Backus) hasn't done her homework. How can we possibly accept (or reject) AvalonBay's proposal unless we know the net cost to consolidate Village functions at St. Paul's and compare that to the cost of having AvalonBay redevelop St. Paul's. We now know that there is nothing free about AvalonBay's proposed use. We will pay for this mistake for the next 99 years. How can we intelligently decide what to do with St. Paul's unless we know the net cost of a use which was deemed feasible by Einhorn, Yaffe Prescott and which conforms to the 1993 bond vote. Is it $100 per year per resident for the next 20 years? We don't know and neither do our Trustees. This is unacceptable.

Karen Backus was hired to help our Village make decisions about St. Paul's by providing us with relevant information. Instead, her firm's website lists AvalonBay as one of her clients. How can Karen Backus provide unbiased information which is designed to protect and inform us if she has a business relationship with AvalonBay. We already know that John Mauck is hopelessly conflicted. It now appears that our consultant is conflicted too.

We need unbiased information free from obvious conflicts in order to make intelligent decisions about St. Paul's. When will our Trustees provide this information? When can we expect those who are conflicted to step aside? When are we going to learn the net cost to consolidate Village functions at St. Paul's instead of suspiciously vague pronouncements that we can't afford it.

Let's put all the choices on the ballot along with accurate economic projections for each of those choices. Let's have someone who is not conflicted provide those projections.

David J. Sutton

Garden City Priorities

To The Editor:

I would like to present my views regarding the divisive issues associated with the St Pauls Property. Having lived in Garden City since 1970, no other issue has engendered so much animosity regarding the independence of the present form of Village government, personal motives of the BOT members, and the legitimate priorities of the Village and its residents.

Having seen the expansion of property development and the resulting reduction in open spaces, Garden City has now caught up with the density of nearby Queens County with the associated increase in traffic. I remember when families moved to the Village to enjoy the elegant homes, lawns and life style together with a highly rated public school system and a unique form of village government. St Pauls was purchased to preserve the property from development and provide the precious commodity of open space in the heart of the Village. This should remain the objective if Garden City is to maintain its attraction as a residential haven in Nassau County. While no viable public use for the building has been found to date, certainly the property should be preserved for the future use of the Village. It is difficult to grasp how the proposed development of the building and subsequent loss of the property to the Village for 99 years with unattractive financial returns are in the best interests of Garden City. The location raises serious concerns regarding traffic and safety and risks the creation of an unattractive commercial business facility on what should be Village parkland. The upcoming vote scheduled for December 2 nd is a most important event in resolving the matter in a democratic manner and to provide the BOT a basis to confirm its mission to represent all the residents of the Village.

Frank Alfieri

Deal Or No Deal

To The Editor:

AvalonBay in its "surprise" half-hour presentation at the November 6 th Board of Trustees Meeting listed some new changes to its original proposal for constructing 108 rental apartments at St. Paul's as follows:

1. For twenty years AvalonBay will pay in PILOT Payments in lieu of full taxes $5.1 million dollars. If AvalonBay were required to pay its full share, just like you and I, they would have to pay $30 million dollars. Looks like, if AvalonBay proposal is accepted, we can look forward to a big increase in our taxes.

2. AvalonBay has reconfigured its 108 rental apartments to have 41 one bedroom, 59 two bedroom and 8 three bedroom. Conservatively in the two and three bedroom apartments we could have over 50 children going to our schools at a cost of at least $900,000 per year ($18,000 per child). And, yes, Mr. Whalen, I did not include this amount, but there are single moms who rent a one bedroom with one child and the mom sleeps on the living room sofa! Plan on your school taxes going up.

3. AvalonBay states in its ad in the Garden City News of 11/14 that it will set aside 21 apartments for seniors. However, they left out what they said at the 11/6 meeting that this will only be set apart for 60 days and then they will rent to any age.

4. AvalonBay has added 5,000 sq. ft. on the first floor in addition to the chapel. The catch is they will NOT provide parking for this space for our use. How can we use this space if we cannot park?? Will we park in other people's driveways? Remember this is a fully rented building with tenants. At the 11/6 Board Meeting, Superintendent of Buildings Mr. Filippon stated that this space would require at least 60 additional spaces. I understand the Village has WAIVED this requirement for AvalonBay.

5. AvalonBay at the 11/6 meeting stated that it has added 120 new parking spaces for use of the residents when they use our fields, which will be adjacent to the 108 apartments. AvalonBay already has 227 parking spaces with only about 50 proposed underground. That leaves at least 297 parking spaces above ground. It looks like AvalonBay will turn St. Paul's grounds into a PARKING LOT!!

6. AvalonBay has suggested giving $1 million dollars for improvements to Cluett Hall and/or Feringa Field House. How NICE! In turn, we would be giving AvalonBay a 99 year lease on our beautiful, irreplaceable 7 acres at St. Paul's. Nassau County for 2008-09 has assessed these 7 acres at St. Paul's at $16 million and said it is probably worth $20 Million. In fact, the Village in 2005 agreed and assessed this property at $20 Million. Now, interestingly, the Village has downgraded this property to NEGATIVE $14 million! Pretty good deal for AvalonBay -- ROTTEN deal for Garden City residents.

AvalonBay has defended its proposed sweetheart deal by saying "The numbers are what they are -- the costs are what thy are." They are right -- the costs to us are tremendous!! The Village is considering giving our best property to St. Paul's at giveaway prices. The Village even WAIVED AvalonBay having to prepare a required new site plan and also WAIVED the requirement for additional 60 spaces. How sweet for AvalonBay. please do not vote #1. AvalonBay on December 2nd to this terrible deal. say no deal AvalonBay.

A very concerned resident.

Rochelle Dowling

Cut Expenses

To The Editor:

The Garden City News recently reported that our village would have to increase taxes 4% to 5%.

It's time to start cutting expenses. New York State indicates that it will do so. Nassau County has already stated that it would also increase taxes about 4%.

Our citizens, especially senior citizens who are on fixed incomes, should not be subjected to further tax increases.

If over two hundred people are employed by the Recreation Department, as is rumored, they are really busy only two to three months of the year. Cutting personnel and expenses in this area would be appropriate. I am advised that several of the Recreation Department's directors and employees have the jobs because of their political connections and that their salaries have increased far beyond the adjustments required by inflation. Further, I am informed that some of these workers are not employees but contract employees. Why is this necessary? At least one of them is a family member of the head of the Civil Service Commission.

The Library personnel also need some paring out. We have more employees than all other comparable libraries in similar circumstances.

It is time for the Village to have more transparency in government and place all titles of all Village employees and their salaries online.

What do you think?

Joseph A. Calamari

P.S. What ever happened to the new improved Code of Ethics?

Woman's Club Disbanding

To the Editor:

After a reign of 94 years, the Woman's Club of Garden City is disbanding. When it started it was known as "The Mother's Club". It became affiliated with the Long Island Federation of Women's Club in 1915. Up to May of this year monthly meetings and monthly bridges were held. The Philanthropic Department, active to the very end, held two fundraising events annually and profits were distributed to various charities and any emergencies that arose.

Now, after 94 years, no one is willing to step up and lead the organization.

We consolidated our accounts and have distributed our funds to the following charities:

Children's Foundation Inc.

Friends of Garden City Library

Alford's Thanksgiving Fund

Adelphi Nursing Student Scholarship

Smile Train

Guide Dog Foundation

Long Island Chapter, Cooley's Anemia Foundation

Nasssau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Inc.


The Alzheimer's Adult Day Program

Long Island Federation of Women's Club Scholarship Fund

We hope our donations will help them to continue the good works of their organizations.

This is a very sad moment for the outgoing officers of the Woman's Club: Norma Takach, President; Concetta Paradiso, 1st Vice-President; Rosemary Going, 2nd Vice President; Pat Esculish, Treasurer; Phyllis Gilman, Asst. Treasurer; Ann Senchyshyn, Secretary; Irene Christi, Director; Judy Radocy, Photographer; and Theresa Regazzi. I have nothing but praise for these officers and committee people; they tried very hard for four months to keep the club going. I thank them all and hope they find other outlets to use their many talents.

Norma Takach


Woman's Club of

Garden City

Don't Take Magnets

To the Editor:

The Garden City Centennials made a nice gesture to the community on November 1st. They gave away free soccer magnets to anyone in the community that wanted one (provided they stopped by St Pauls to get receive it). In the interest of community spirit, many of us took our free magnet and placed it on our car. Unfortunately, now many "pranksters" in town are taking the magnets off random cars. (and I know it is our very own residents, as mine was taken one Monday afternoon while I was parked at the bubble for a little game of tennis with friends). This is a shame as many of us drive our cars with GC pride to other towns for our children's games. I would have liked to continue to show my Garden City spirit through the winter and into spring. To whomever thinks this is funny- please leave our soccer magnets alone!

Elizabeth Sullivan Iraj


To The Editor:

Last Tuesday, a young man possessing the "audacity of hope" and a simple vision, "yes we can," captured the imagination of the American people and turned politics on its head. I must confess that I did not think it was possible. I have never been so proud to be wrong!

President-elect Barack Obama has the grace, intelligence, courage and commitment to bring our country together again so we can remind the world that indeed, the U.S.A. is the greatest country on earth. I am delighted to have been a witness to it.

Electra K. Sklavos

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