2017-06-16 / Front Page

St. Paul’s on Village Board “priorities list”

BY RIKKI N. MASSAND

Will the iconic structure of St. Paul’s be saved, demolished, or considered for an “adaptive re-use”? That question is again before the Garden City Board of Trustees.

The June 1 Board of Trustees’ meeting concluded with a special work session, in which a list of municipal priorities and projects for 2017-2018 was established. The public was not permitted to comment during the trustees’ work session, but the list was posted on the village website this week along with a press release.

At the June 1 work session Mayor Brian Daughney introduced the familiar St. Paul’s scenario and all village priorities, intended as a “road map” for now.

“It is a map of our goals with things we want to try to address. Some things are just studies and some are actually to complete. It will be fluid and there are all sorts of issues that come up during any peri- od of time. That may make us change dates, add to goals, alter it or take things off the list. We thought of it as a good exercise to get things down and paper and look for it to be addressed,” Daughney explained.

Trustee Robert Bolebruch said at WPOA meetings and in his routine talks with fellow residents every year since 1995, when he moved into the village, St. Paul’s has been the hot topic. He recalls the long, almost endless lines of residents lined up to vote on demolishing the building or not years ago.

Daughney says the plan now is for Garden City to “move towards hiring an architectural firm” for St. Paul’s.

“The current thought is to keep some of the façade, we do not know how much or if it’s a lot or a little. We will work through that as we work with an architect to help us in developing some ideas. We want to try to get that set up – hopefully by July we will get someone hired to help us get to that,” Daughney said at the work session.

At the Central Property Owners’ Association meeting on Tuesday June 13, Deputy Mayor Theresa Trouvé commented on the decision the trustees will one day face, perhaps within the calendar year. She says the list of priorities give homeowners, residents and taxpayers insight into what the trustees believe should be accomplished in the next 12 months or less.

“Most suggestions on the priorities’ list are very good and they look forward to protecting the village. Just when we think we accomplished a lot of things, more items come forward. Perhaps it lost something in the translation and it may sound like the St. Paul’s item is a fait accompli – but that’s not been decided with no talk of funding. This is a suggestion for opening up the discussion on what to do with that as a village asset and structure,” she said.

One out of a handful of existing proposals includes the use of the grounds by Garden City Recreation and sports organizations that currently hold games and tournaments on the outside grounds of the St. Paul’s campus. New CPOA Director Stephen John Gaffney, who has a career background in real estate, asked Trouvé about several emails distributed to the CPOA membership and information on the St. Paul’s concepts.

“I was trying to conceptualize what was conveyed and it just did not make sense. They are talking about adaptive re-use of St. Paul’s with a mention of three to five indoor fields at the facility. It would be virtually impossible to put indoor fields inside the existing structure of St. Paul’s. The fields cannot go in the existing area. That suggests it could be outside St. Paul’s – what is this suggested use and/or adaptive re-use?” Gaffney said.

Steven Super, another CPOA director, suggested that a plan for St. Paul’s involved knocking down every structure except for the façade of the building that faces the Stewart Avenue and Rockaway Avenue intersection.

CPOA Director and Environmental Advisory Board member Evelyn Fasano asked about a possibility that an architect could be appointed to evaluating the St. Paul’s structure in July, as Trouvé said the Village Board will meet once in both July and August. Fasano wanted to learn about the potential costs of hiring an architect and when their renderings could be made available to the public, if any designs were developed.

“If we were going to hire a consultant architect it would come up for discussion by the Board of Trustees. Another CPOA member suggested that the village is pursuing the routine RFP process and outlining a scope of work for a potential contracted architectural firm.

Trouvé commented that Mayor Daughney’s rationale starts with putting out a list of village priorities. Such discussions at the CPOA and among residents would only benefit the process of evaluating St. Paul’s future.

“People (trustees) were encouraged to add things to our priorities’ list. I know I added items related to technology used by village personnel, and several other things such as record-keeping. We have seasonal, part-time and full-time workers and everyone must be accounted for. I think that as we move along and address each item input will be sought from the community,” she said.

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Do you have 40 million in

Do you have 40 million in your pocket?

How long will the saga

How long will the saga continue? St. Paul's is a landmark in the village. It's been going on now for 40+ years! I grew up in this village and always appreciated the lovely and historical buildings which defined the town. I now live in the Midwest, but monitor events in Garden City. What a shame if this beautiful edifice is destroyed. Another piece of the village history gone forever. What a shame!

This is a call for action!

This is a call for action! There are many talented residents with creative solution skills who should step up and be involved. The BOT and mayor need to have input in a constructive way to accomplish the best, most appropriate way of using ALL of the St. Paul's building. I urge residents to email the BOT, the newspaper, the POA reps with your thoughts on use. Perhaps there could be a space within St Paul's for local charities to run their public education programs, or for their fundraising to take place. Perhaps there are interests beyond sports that could be accommodated like year round art and painting classes or a place for expanded interest in exercise and healing for young and old. The world of St Paul's is waiting to be created and the residents of this Village are now invited and encouraged to participate and insist on being part of the process. I am hopeful that solar energy will be considered as part of a way to help fund work at St Paul's - there are vast spaces on parts of the roof and property that seem ripe for catching the sun's energy to the benefit of the entire Village.

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