Council of Parks Releases Report, 2011 Priorities

The 2010 State Council of Parks Annual Report has been released. The Council issues a report annually pursuant to Article 5.09 of the Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Law. The report provides a summary of regional activities and outlines the Council’s 2011 priorities.

The State Council of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation consists of the Commissioner of State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation, Chairs of the eleven Regional Parks Commissions (including a representative of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission), and Chair of the State Board of Historic Preservation. The Regional Commissions are charged with acting as a central advisory body on all matters affecting parks, recreation and historic preservation within their respective regions, with particular focus on the operations of the State Parks and Historic Sites.

The priorities for 2011 outlined in the report are:

1. Park Operations Funding – Keep Our Parks Open!
New York State must provide adequate funding to keep our 213 state parks open to the public and to provide safe, clean and affordable recreational and educational experiences to the 57 million people that visit our facilities each year.

2. State Parks Capital Budget – Reinstitute the $100 Million Commitment.
New York State must reinstitute the State Parks Capital Initiative to provide $100 million annually in capital funding to begin to address the $1.1 billion backlog of park rehabilitation and health & safety needs in our state parks and historic sites.

3. Dedicated Funding Mechanism.
New York State should establish a new dedicated funding source to provide sustainable funding for the state park system.

4. Public-Private Partnerships.
The State Council and Regional Commissions will continue to help establish new “Friends Groups” – 16 new organizations have been started since 2007 – and to help strengthen existing Friends Groups to increase private support for state parks and historic sites. The State Council of Parks also continues to encourage partnerships with for-profit, non-profit and governmental entities for a wide range
of support, from direct monetary contributions and formal concession agreements to operations and programming. A list of such active and recent partnerships appears as an appendix to the report.

5. Private Fundraising Campaign.
During 2011 the State Council will continue to pursue private funding from individuals, corporations, and foundations – building upon the $5.6 million in private support that has been raised since 2009 to support the State Park System.

The full report can be viewed and downloaded as a pdf here: 2010 Annual Report.

Governor Nominates Rose Harvey, OPRHP Head

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the nomination of Rose H. Harvey as commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). OPRHP administers 178 parks and 35 state historic sites and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

If confirmed by the state senate, Harvey would replace Acting Commissioner Andy Beers who took over after the resignation of Carol Ash in October 2010.

Currently, Harvey is a senior fellow at the Jonathan Rose Companies, where she acts as an advisor and researcher on parks and open space issues, and launched a non-profit organization to fund, design and develop safe, well-managed parks in urban neighborhoods. She was also recently a McCluskey Fellow and Lecturer at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

For 27 years, Harvey held multiple leadership positions with The Trust for Public Land, most recently as Senior Vice President and National Director of Urban Programs. There, she oversaw all real estate acquisitions, urban park design and developments, managed the finances of a $20 million annual operating budget, and closed between $50 and $75 million worth of land and parks transactions each year across 8 states – a total of nearly $1 billion and more than a thousand new and enhanced parks, gardens and playgrounds in underserved neighborhoods in New York City, Newark, N.J. and Baltimore. She has also established large landscape woodlands and natural areas throughout New York State and the Mid-Atlantic region.

Harvey began her tenure in the parks and open space arena as the Assistant Director for Conservation Easement at the Maryland Environmental Trust, where she negotiated protections of private lands holding environmental significance.

Harvey received her B.A. from Colorado College in 1977 and M.E.S. at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 1984. She currently serves on the Board of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the Yale Leadership Advisory Council. In the past she has served on many conservation organizations, including the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Hudson River Institute and Walsh Park Low Income Housing. In addition to multiple state and national awards for her environmental stewardship and advocacy for open space and parks, Ms. Harvey has written multiple articles and op/eds in numerous national media outlets and industry trade journals.

Lucy Rockefeller Waletzky, M.D., Chair of the New York State Council of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said, &#8220Ms. Harvey has been key to many of the great additions to state parks of the past 20 years. I look forward to working with her to foster strong private-public partnerships that protect and enhance New York’s parks, open spaces and heritage. I am also deeply committed to working with Governor Cuomo’s administration in preserving our state’s recreational landscapes and natural resources.&#8221

Kim Elliman, CEO of the Open Space Institute, said, &#8220Rose brings an unparalleled passion for providing all New Yorkers with access to parks and open space. Throughout her 30 year career, she has built an incredible track record of creating and protecting parks, from vest-pocket parks in cities to landscape parks like Sterling Forest. She is singularly qualified for the job and I commend Governor Cuomo for his selection.&#8221

Leslie Wright, New York State Director for The Trust for Public Land, said, &#8220Governor Cuomo’s selection of Ms. Harvey as Commissioner for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation shows that he is serious about maintaining open space and making it accessible to as many New Yorkers as possible. Ms. Harvey’s storied career in establishing parks, playgrounds and gardens in urban areas, combined with her ongoing advocacy for open space makes her the ideal candidate to lead this agency.&#8221

Photo: Rose Harvey (Courtesy Geraldine R Dodge Foundation)

Rare Maps of the American Revolution in the North

The 1776-1777 Northern Campaigns of the American War for Independence and Their Sequel: Contemporary Maps of Mainly German Origin by Thomas M. Barker and Paul R. Huey is the first, full-scale, presentation in atlas form of the two, abortive British-German invasions of New York – events crucial to understanding the rebel American victory in the War for Independence. The book includes 240 pages with 32 full-color illustrations.

The bulk of the maps are from the German archives. The material has previously been little used by researchers in the United States due to linguistic and handwriting barriers. The volume includes transcriptions, translations, and detailed textual analysis of the naval and land operations of 1776 and 1777. It is written from a novel military-historical perspective, namely, British, German, loyalist, French Canadian, and First American.

The attack of Benedict Arnold and Richard Montgomery on Quebec City, the colonial assailants’ repulse and withdrawal to the Province of New York and the Hudson River corridor, prior actions in the adjacent St. Lawrence-Richelieu river region of Canada, the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain, the forts at Crown Point and Ticonderoga, and the Battles of Bennington and Saratoga all receive detailed attention. The last section of the atlas deals with the less known, final phase of combat, in which the Britons, Germans, refugee tories, Quebec militia, and Amerindians kept the insurgents off balance by mounting numerous small-scale expeditions into New York.

The significance of the publication is highlighted by Russell Bellico, author of Sails and Steam in the Mountains: A Maritime History of Lake George and Lake Champlain. He writes that Barker’s and Huey’s tome is “a superb work of scholarship based on exhaustive research on both sides of the Atlantic.” J. Winthrop Aldrich, New York State Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation, states that the maps “are of significant help now as we continue to build our understanding of what happened in our war for independence, and why. This rediscovered treasure and the illuminating commentary and notes superbly advance that understanding.”

Dr. Thomas M. Barker is emeritus professor of history, University of Albany, State University of New York at Albany. He is the author of numerous books about European military history, especially the Habsburg monarchy, Spain, World War II as well as ethnic minority issues. Dr. Paul R. Huey is a well-known New York State historical archeologist and also has many publications to his credit. He is particularly knowledgeable about the locations of old forts, battlefields, colonial and nineteenth-century buildings, and/or their buried vestiges. He works at the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation Bureau of Historic Sites office on Peebles Island in Waterford, New York. The book is co-published with the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Virtual Tours of State Parks, Sites, Now Online

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has partnered with Fisheye Virtual Tours to provide 360-degree views of scenic vistas, popular attractions, gathering spots and select interiors of nearly 50 parks and historic sites on its website, www.nysparks.com.

&#8220Virtual tours are an innovative and user-friendly tool for both tourists and frequent park visitors to plan their next adventure,&#8221 said State Parks Acting Commissioner Andy Beers. &#8220By showcasing New York’s incredible natural and cultural treasures, the virtual tours will help draw new visitors to popular, favorite spots and provide regular visitors with glimpses of features of the park system they’ve never visited before.&#8221

The virtual tours include images of assorted campgrounds, trails, play areas, golf courses, boat launches, beaches and pools in the parks, as well as landscapes, architectural elements and collections in many of the state historic sites. Tours also feature interior and exterior images of the diverse types of lodging available at State Parks – from the many amenities of the Ironworkers Cabins at Taconic State Park’s Copake Falls to the rustic camping areas of Allegany State Park. Additional tours will be added in the coming weeks.

&#8220We are very excited to be working with the state of New York on the first phase of our &#8216-Explore America’s Parks’ project. This partnership truly shows New York’s commitment to bringing exciting new features to their website and to show their global audience the stunning beauty of their parks and historic sites,&#8221 said Fisheye Virtual Tours president Michael Brennan.

The pilot program between Parks and Fisheye Virtual Tours began in 2009 and has expanded to include the unique photography of all 11 state park regions. The initiative is supported through sponsorships developed and administered by Fisheye Virtual Tours.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 178 state parks and 35 historic sites. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com. For information about Fisheye Virtual Tours, sponsorship and the Explore America’s Parks program, visit www.exploreamericasparks.org.

Carol Ash Leaves Office of Parks, Historic Preservation

Considering I’m sharing a dais with Carol Ash next week, I can’t believe I missed this news, but better late than never I suppose.

Governor David A. Paterson announced on September 28th, that Carol Ash will resign her position as Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) effective October 13.

&#8220Over the past four years Commissioner Ash has led her agency with dedication, integrity and professionalism,&#8221 Governor Paterson said. &#8220Despite these extraordinarily challenging times, the Commissioner presided the over construction and opening of the remarkable Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, a very successful U.S. Open Golf Championship at Bethpage State Park and initiated an effort to rebuild and restore the agency’s aging infrastructure.&#8221

During Commissioner Ash’s term more than $200 million was invested in roadways, bathhouses, historic structures and electrical and plumbing systems. She promoted public-private partnerships and encouraged strong relationships with Friends Groups and non-for-profits. She also saw visitation rates climb, as more than 56 million people visited the State’s 178 parks and 35 historic sites in 2009.

Governor Paterson appointed Andy Beers to the position of Acting Commissioner. Mr. Beers has served as OPRHP Executive Deputy Commissioner since 2007. He has been responsible for the day-to-day operations of the agency, as well as overseeing the continuing efforts to revitalize the State parks system. Prior to serving as Executive Deputy Commissioner, Beers served as Deputy State Director at the Nature Conservancy. He received his B.A. from Colgate University and his M.S. from Cornell University.

Draft Statewide Trails Plan Available for Review

State Parks has released a draft New York Statewide Trails Plan, which sets out to provide the policy direction for the planning, development and management of a statewide trail system.

A public hearing on the Draft Plan/Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement will be held Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 at 7:00 pm in the Gideon Putnam Room, Administration Building, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, NY. State Parks’ staff will make a brief presentation about the plan and receive public comments.

Plans are available for review on the agency’s website at as well as at OPRHP Regional Offices, DEC Regional Offices, and OPRHP, Agency Building 1, 17th Floor, Albany.

Pre-hearing webinars will be offered on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 from 7:00 &#8211 8:00 pm and Thursday, October 14, 2010 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm. The webinars will include a presentation of the draft plan and offer an opportunity for questions and answers. People wishing to participate should email notification of interest to: [email protected] or call 518-474-5578. Instructions for access to the webinar will be emailed shortly before the webinar dates. Participation requires telephone and Internet access.

Written comments on the Draft Statewide Trails Plan will be accepted until November 1, 2010 and can be submitted to the agency contact below or emailed to [email protected]

Agency Contact:

Nancy Stoner
Bureau of Resource and Facility Planning
NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation
Agency Building 1, 17th Floor
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12238
518-474-5578
518-474-7013 (Fax)

State Board Recommends to State, National Registers

The New York State Board for Historic Preservation recommended that 24 properties be added to the State and National Registers of Historic Places, including the nationally significant Haviland Middle School in Hyde Park and the birthplace of an important American statesman, William H. Seward.

State and National Historic Register listing can assist property owners in revitalizing the structures, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits. Listing will oblige state and federal government agencies whose projects would adversely impact the properties to consider other options. Private projects are not subject to state or federal review after a property is listed, and private property owners – or in historic districts, a majority of property owners – must consent for the listing to move forward.

The State and National Registers are the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, landscapes, objects and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology and culture of New York State and the nation. There are approximately 90,000 historic buildings, structures and sites throughout the state listed on the National Register of Historic Places, individually or as components of historic districts. Property owners, municipalities and organizations from communities throughout the state sponsored the nominations.

Once the recommendations are approved by the state historic preservation officer, the properties are listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and then nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, where they are reviewed and, once approved, entered on the National Register.

STATE REVIEW BOARD RECOMMENDATIONS

Dutchess County

Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School, Hyde Park. – today the Haviland Middle School, the architecturally and historically significant Colonial Revival-style school shares direct associations with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who, along with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, dedicated the building at a public ceremony in October 1940, and made several subsequent appearances there.

Erie County

The Calumet, Buffalo – the 1906 commercial building is unique example of the use of glazed architectural terra cotta, decorated with running reeds, their leaves and flowers.

The Zink Block, Buffalo – the 1896 commercial building with Italian Renaissance styling is a particularly rare resource on the once thriving Connecticut Street commercial corridor, which before the mid-century stood as a thriving commercial anchor for the neighborhood.

Kensington Gardens Apartment Complex, Buffalo – the apartment complex built for the influx of workers to the city’s World War II industries reflects designs of the Garden City movement and was one of the earliest projects supported by the Federal Housing Administration.

Nassau County

Glen Cove Post Office, Glen Cove – the distinctive Craftsman/Tudor-style structure was built in 1905 to serve the community’s fast-growing population.

Johns S. Phipps Estate, Old Westbury – the National Register of Historic Places listing from 1976 will be amended to include a large part of the property known as Orchard Hill, which was part of the original estate, and the more information on the significance of the estate’s landscaping and architecture.

Onondaga County

John G. Ayling House, Syracuse – the 1915 Tudor Revival home was designed by noted Syracuse architect Ward Wellington Ward.

Indian Castle Village Site, Manlius and Carley Onondaga Village Site, Pompey – the two sites are significant in the history of the Onondaga Nation and the regional development of the Iroquois Confederation and have yielded significant archaeological insight into domestic life in the seventeenth century.

Orange County

John G. Beakes House, Middletown – built around 1884, the Queen Anne-style home is an architecturally significant example of fashionable middle class housing erected at a time when the city’s West Main Street was being developed as a desirable residential quarter.

Grace Episcopal Church, Middletown – a prominent and recognizable landmark built in 1846 and substantially modified in the late 1860s, Grace Episcopal Church’s soaring spire and highly picturesque masonry work mark it as a significant example of 19th century Gothic Revival-style religious architecture.

Mortimer Mapes House/William H. Seward Birthplace, Florida – the property includes an 1887 Queen Anne-style home built for a prominent local citizen as well as the 1797 home – later converted into a carriage house – where New York Governor, U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward was born.

Queens County

Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, Forest Hills – the church and parish hall complex built in stages between 1924 and 1950 is an outstanding example of early-20 century Collegiate Gothic architecture.

Richmond County

Louis A. and Laura Stim House/Casa Belvedere, Staten Island – the 1908 Renaissance mansion, a prominent reminder of the 19th and early 20th-century development of Grymes Hill as a fashionable enclave of great estates and overlooking New York Harbor, is one of the few houses of its kind surviving on Staten Island.

Saratoga County

Nathan Garnsey House, Rexford – built in 1791 and remaining in the same family for generations, the home is a virtually untouched gem of Federal architecture owned by one of Clifton Park’s important first families

Jonesville Store, Jonesville – originally built about 1845 or 1850, and expanded in 1900, the Main Street building has been a community gathering spot since throughout its history.

Mohawk Valley Grange Hall, Clifton Park – the 1896 single-story wood frame building used as a gathering place for the agricultural community retains its rural setting, despite the town’s increasing suburbanization.

Abraham Best House, Vischer Ferry – built around 1815, the sophisticated brick federal farmhouse is a rare survivor from the agricultural era of Clifton Park.

Cyrus Rexford House, Rexford – the Stick-style Victorian was built in 1883 by Cyrus Rexford, who owned a canal store in the hamlet named for his father, and served as Clifton Park town supervisor and justice of the peace.

Suffolk County

Winganhauppauge, Islip – the 1941 French Provincial style home was built for Dr. Richard Pasternack, a research scientist whose work allowed Pfizer, his employer, to become the largest producer and distributor of pharmaceuticals in the world in the twentieth century.

The Edwards Homestead, Sayville – believed to be the oldest extant residence in Sayville with a portion dating to 1785, the home is an excellent surviving example of an early Long Island farmstead that began as a smaller New England Colonial but expanded over time by the family of early colonial settlers.

Sullivan County

Greenville Preparative Meeting House/Catskill Meeting House, Grahamsville – built in 1838-39 by Quakers from New England and the Hudson Valley, the simple and symmetrical building remains virtually unchanged since its original construction, lacking central heat, electricity, and indoor plumbing.

Washington County

L.C. Simonds Adirondack Cabin, Clemons – the 1910 cabin built by a Whitehall manufacturer features the hallmarks of the so-called Adirondack style, popularized in the late 19th century, including saddle-no
tched spruce log walls, rustic rough hewn masonry chimney, wraparound porch, and interior rustic detailing.

Westchester County

Hartsdale Railroad Station, Hartsdale – built in 1914 to replace and earlier, smaller wood frame structure, the Tudor Revival-style structure has a pivotal role in the connecting Hartsdale to New York City and attracting homeowners to the community.

Finger Lakes Museum Annouces Agreement

Finger Lakes Museum Board President John Adamski and Finger Lakes State Parks Regional Director Tim Joseph have announced that a ceremony has been scheduled to sign a Letter of Intent to start the process that will enable the Finger Lakes Museum to build its campus in Keuka Lake State Park. A joint Memorandum of Understanding listing the commitments of five other Keuka Lake State Park site sponsors, which were presented in the Site Sponsors’ Proposal last December, will also be signed at the same event. Those members include Yates County, the Town of Jerusalem, Finger Lakes Economic Development Center, Keuka College and the Finger Lakes Visitors Association. A separate agreement with the Yates County Chamber of Commerce will be signed in a few more weeks.

The affair will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, September 17 th at the lakeside
pavilion in Keuka Lake State Park and members of the News Media and the public
are invited to attend this unprecedented event.

The Finger Lakes Museum is an initiative to create a worldclass educational institution to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the 9,000
squaremile Finger Lakes Region, since the last glacial recession began some 12,000 years ago. Last April, Keuka Lake State Park was selected as the preferred location to build the project after 19 sites were submitted for evaluation by 8 Finger Lakes counties and the City of Geneva in 2009.

Under the Letter of Intent, the Finger Lakes Museum and the New York State Office
of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will initiate a comprehensive planning
process for the Museum’s facilities at Keuka Lake State Park. The planning process,
which will include public input opportunities and a full environmental review, will
develop a detailed concept design and site building plans.

The Board of Trustees has approved the design of a new logo for the Finger Lakes
Museum, which was created by InHouse Graphics of Geneva and will be unveiled at the event.

Webinars on Historic Preservation Tax Credits

New government incentives will help many owners of older houses and commercial buildings repair or rehabilitate their buildings. Two free webinars presented by staff from the State Historic Preservation Office will review the basic guidelines for the programs and answer questions about the application process.

The programs require that buildings are individually listed in the State or National Register of Historic Places, or in a listed historic district. Additionally, the buildings must be located in an eligible census tract. The New York State Historic Homeowner Tax Credit Program will cover 20% of qualified rehabilitation costs of owner-occupied historic houses in certain target areas, up to a credit value of $50,000. The Historic Commercial Tax Credit will cover up to 20% of qualified rehabilitation costs up to a credit value of $5 million. Commercial property owners must be approved for the federal historic preservation commercial tax credit, which offers an additional 20% credit on qualified rehabilitation costs. Note that the Commercial Tax Credit program includes rental housing.

Date: Tuesday, August 17, 2010

1:00 – 3:00 Historic Preservation Tax Credit Programs for Commercial Properties

3:30 – 5:00 Historic Preservation Tax Credit Programs for Homeowners

&#8220The Historic Preservation Tax Credit can be a profoundly effective tool in fostering sustainable neighborhoods and revitalizing vacant buildings,&#8221 said Carol Ash, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. &#8220It’s been said that the greenest building is the one that is already built. Under this new initiative approved by Governor Paterson last year, owners of qualified historic homes could qualify for tax credits ranging from $1,000 all the way up to $50,000 for home improvements, including repairs to doors, windows, roofs and plumbing, heating and wiring systems.&#8221

For information about the tax credit programs and further details about the webinars, visit the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation website at www.nysparks.state.ny.us/shpo.

To register for a webinar, send an email to [email protected] and type &#8220commercial webinar&#8221 or &#8220homeowner webinar&#8221 in the subject line. Registrants using that address will receive a response with information only on logging in. For questions regarding the webinar, contact Sloane Bullough at 518-237-8643, ext. 3252 or [email protected]

Registration is limited. Information about the tax credit programs can be found online at http://www.nysparks.state.ny.us/shpo/tax-credit-programs/.

The webinars are sponsored by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and the New York State Education Department.

Destruction of Historic Staten Island Beach Community?

Following a determination by the New York State Historic Preservation Office that the Cedar Grove Beach Club was eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district, Staten Island elected officials have called on NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe to abandon plans to demolish the 99-year old community in New Dorp.

Cedar Grove Beach Club is a collection of 41 historic beach bungalows largely built between 1920 and 1940 in New Dorp, Staten Island. The community was established around 1907 as one of many beach campgrounds during the heyday of Staten Island’s shore. Today the Beach Club, located south of the corner of Ebbitts Avenue and Cedar Grove Avenue, is a close-knit community of families who have been on the beach for generations. In the 1960s, New York City took land and cottages by eminent domain as part of a plan to build an expressway through the site. While the road was never built, the scheme that resulted in the destruction of almost all of Staten Island’s historic seaside resort communities.

Cedar Grove alone escaped demolition because the bungalow owners and the Beach Club have rented the property back from the City for nearly 50 years while being responsible for all maintenance of the public beach, playgrounds and property. As one resident remarked, “the Beach Club now pays more in rent in a year than the City paid for the bungalows.”

In December 2009, NYC Parks announced they would not renew the Club’s lease, and ordered the bungalow community’s residents to vacate by December 31, 2009. Following public outcry, and with the support of local community groups and elected officials, Parks agreed to extend the lease until September 30, 2010. Parks has recently announced its intentions to demolish most of area’s buildings immediately after the lease expires, although, as Congressman McMahon’s letter of July 22, 2010 points out, the City has no projected start date or funding for its plans to furnish the beach with lifeguard and concession stands or to facilitate greater public access to the beach area. The sand beach area of Cedar Grove is currently open to the general public and accessible from New Dorp Beach Park to the north and Great Kills Park to the south.

Area residents fear that the city will evict the current occupants of the bungalow colony and defer any future plans for the property indefinitely, leaving the site unmaintained and littered with construction debris, the same situation that exists at the adjacent New Dorp Beach Park. This fear is supported by fact that the city has not initiated the process to obtain appropriate permits to demolish historic structures, to begin new construction on a site designated by the State as a potential sensitive wetlands area, or any of the other clearances typically necessary for a proposed capital project.

Recently, Manhattan Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito (chair of the Parks Committee of City Council) has joined her Staten Island colleagues Vincent Ignizio, James Oddo and Deborah Rose, Congressman McMahon, NYS Senator Lanza, Assmebly member Janele Hyer-Spencer, the New Dorp Central Civic Association and the Historic Districts Council in calling for Parks to abandon their plans to destroy this important historic district and evict 41 families from the Beach Club.

In a letter citing the historic importance of the site, Congressman Michael McMahon, State Senator Anthony Lanza (NY-24), and Councilmen James Oddo (50th District) and Vincent Ignizio (51st District) objected to the Parks Department’s lack of firm plans and the absence of funding for any project at the property, stating that they “fail to see the logic” of evicting the site’s long term residents, especially “given the current economic climate faced by the city” and “the significant financial burden” of taking new construction on the site.