St. Paul’s Conservancy

To the Editor:

Modeled after the Central Park Conservancy and similar to the Nature Conservancy, The St. Paul’s Conservancy is available to provide significant financial and organizational assistance to Village of Garden City residents. Founded in 2003, The St. Paul’s Conservancy is an IRS recognized 501c3 charitable organization whose mission is to reduce the capital and operating & maintenance costs of the St. Paul’s campus.

Membership in and management of The St. Paul’s Conservancy is open to residents and non-residents. The St. Paul’s Conservancy has several standing committees available for volunteer participation including Philanthropy, Legal, Finance, Engineering/Architecture, Construction, Seniors, Performing Arts, Athletics, STEAM, SEPTA and others. Several subject matter experts have already indicated interest and availability for their area of expertise. The St. Paul’s Conservancy’s  Executive Committee is comprised of the heads of the standing committees as well the Mayor and one Trustee. The Village of Garden City Recreation Department and Board of Education could also be members.

The St. Paul’s & St. Mary’s Alumni Associations are the exclusive partners of The St. Paul’s Conservancy and have offered to assist with any philanthropic activities associated with the St Paul’s Campus. Based on the twenty year history of The St. Paul’s Conservancy and the decades long history of the St. Paul’s & St. Mary’s Alumni Associations, an ambitious fund-raising goal of several million dollars could provide both capital cost and operating & maintenance financial support for any restoration of the St Paul’s main building and campus. Traditional philanthropic activities including naming rights, corporate sponsorships, charitable foundations and “Buy a Brick” for families are some of the fund-raising techniques that would be available.

The financial advantages of including The St. Paul’s Conservancy in the restoration and operation of the St. Paul’s Main Building are numerous and significant. The St. Paul’s Conservancy has access to the same low cost, long term tax-exempt capital markets as the Village of Garden City. The St. Paul’s Conservancy can borrow to renovate St Paul’s Main Building for longer and more flexible repayment periods, i.e., 30+ years than the NYS Public Finance Law allows the Village to borrow. The St. Paul’s Conservancy would be the obligor of any loans or capital market borrowings and would NOT USE the VoGC credit. Any money borrowed for the restoration of the St Paul’s Main Building would not affect or have an impact on VoGC “AAA” Rating.

The Project Development and Construction Management of any restoration of the St Paul’s Main Building would also benefit from The St. Paul’s Conservancy’s involvement. The Conservancy’s project development advantages include:

  • Quicker Project Development, Shorter Time Lines and a lower impact of inflation on costs
  • Design Build not Competitive Bid Procurement
  • Procurement savings of 20-40% vs. legally mandated Competitive Bid VoGC Procurement
  • Project Labor Agreements not Prevailing Wage Agreements
  • Significant labor cost savings
  • Project & cost oversight by construction / engineering experts, not rotating Board of Trustee volunteers
  • Saves valuable Board of Trustee time from absorption in project details
  • Continuity of Project Oversight and Management rather than rotating elected officials

The involvement of The St. Paul’s Conservancy in any construction, restoration or daily operation of the St. Paul’s main building and campus would be governed by an agreement between the VoGC Board of Trustees and The St. Paul’s Conservancy. Any capital or operating or maintenance budget would be approved by VoGC Board of Trustees which would retain its oversight role similar to its current role with the Recreation Department or Water Department.

Importantly, the Village of Garden City retains title and ownership of all land and buildings on the St. Paul’s Campus. There is no alienation of any parkland interest.

The St. Paul’s Conservancy saves Village residents substantial amounts of money and time due to its more flexible financing, project development and operational advantages. A partnership between the Village and The St. Paul’s Conservancy for the phased development of the St. Paul’s campus and main building benefits all residents with increasing property values and more rapid programmatic availability on the St Paul’s campus for all interested segments of our fabulous Village.

Frank McDonough


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