Toward the end of Monday night’s board meeting on July 10, 2006, Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt announced the Village’s intention to complete construction work on the basement community room in the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building and to solicit bids from contractors. Following this news of further expenditures, Trustee Thomas Brennan reported still another delay in delivery of his committee’s Community Center “study”—sometimes described as a “survey”—to determine “residents needs.”
After more than a year of work on this project, Trustee Brennan has still failed to make clear where his committee stands, other than to say cryptically that the study is in the third of five stages of development. Belated disclosure of its conclusions will not be made until October.
Still unaddressed and of greater interest to taxpayers is the question of whether it is wise to spend public funds on the existing community space if the possibility exists that a decision may be made to abandon it and build or lease other space. The Mayor and Trustee Brennan seem to be acting at cross purposes—somewhat like humorist Stephen Leacock’s story about the man who flung himself on his horse and rode madly off in all directions.
The Schmidt administration—in an earlier recreation related foray while acting without the concurrence of the then Democratic minority—moved to close the ill-conceived SK8 Croton skatepark that had cost taxpayers $150,000 (see:”Croton’s “Mayoral Fakie to Tail Stall” Skateboard Trick”). Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt, and Trustees Thomas Brennan and James Steinberg all vowed to work with Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi to relocate Croton’s skate park equipment to a site near the Cortlandt train station. The much-touted promise was never kept. Later, Mayor Schmidt attempted to sell the ramps to a prospective buyer without success.
In the 2005 election, creation of a community center was a keystone campaign promise made by the Croton Republican Committee, then under the leadership of local attorney Marcus Aarons. But Croton already has a community room, and money is being spent to enhance it. Also, our firehouses all have space that could be made available to residents through Recreation Department programming. In the absence of a clearly demonstrated need for a community center, Crotonblog is again compelled to ask the mayor, “What’s up, Doc?”
From July 10, 2006
Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “And I actually have an announcement, one thing, you can’t focus on this but it’s a sheet of paper from Dan back there showing the invitation to bid for the improvements downstairs in the recreation room. So, that will go a long way to getting our teen ah, needs met down there and the seniors, whoever is going to be using the basement down there. So Dan thank you for ah, getting that done. I know I’ve been pestering you and ah, maybe a week late but you finally got there. So, reports. Trustee Brennan, would you like to start tonight?“
Trustee Thomas Brennan: “Yes, Okay, just got a couple of quick things. Our next meeting for the community center will be August 8th. It’s a Tuesday night, ah 7:30. We’re up to our third stage on I believe is about a five stage process on this. And we’re coming close to getting that survey out. I know I mentioned September. It may look like October now. We need to bring it back to the village board and let the village board know about everything that we have proposed. And ah, we’re getting close. So, just bear with us and ah, it just takes time and we will have hopefully a thorough survey to go out and let you know what’s going on.
From June 19, 2006
Trustee Thomas Brennan: “Ah, an update on the community center. We had a meeting a couple of weeks ago and we were lucky ah, in this village to have ah, ah, a gal in this village—Karen Zevin—she’s on the school board. She’s a professional, professional survey writer and she has agreed to help us forge ahead with our survey. And the committee has been meeting diligently and I just want to give some kudos to Karen who has agreed to help us with the survey. Marie Constadine, Lori Noell, Gary Petit, Don Daubney, Mark Aarons. Ann (Gallelli) has been at all the meetings. And of course the mayor, he’s sat in on several meetings. And just to let you know where we’re at with that. We’ve met with quite a few groups. Ah, we’re trying to put the survey together now and I believe that sometime in September, you will be getting a survey out, I hope is going to go out in the village newsletter. I think that’s how it is going to go out but it is not written in stone. But after meeting with all of the focus groups we’re finally going to have something out to the public to see exactly what it is and if exactly we do want a community center. So, keep looking for what’s out there.”