Next Tuesday evening, November 2, residents of Stony Point will learn whether the sale of its municipal golf course has been approved or rejected.
Raja Amar, resident / developer of Stony Point, who raised his family in Rockland and whose children attended North Rockland schools, has had a roller coaster ride with other residents who are divided over the upcoming referendum.
A successful business owner who moved from Hillcrest in 1991 and settled in Stony Point for three decades, Amar spoke on October 26 via Zoom to the Rockland Business Association’s Economic and Business Development Board. He told listeners he initially approached the city several years ago to possibly purchase the Grille Club, the Patriot Hills food service, which had been leased from Incredible Caterers. Amar saw the possibilities offered by The Grille Room as a destination location for weddings and events. Discussions with city officials revolved around the possibility of Amar buying and repairing the Letchworth Village property to in turn bring taxes to the city, thus improving the property leading to the Grille Room from horror to horror. feast for the eyes.
This suggestion gave birth to a proposal to include the golf course. Considering that Patriot Hills is in need of major improvements to the course, as well as its sprinkler system and outbuildings, especially its clubhouse, which does not have a bathroom / shower, this seemed like a big deal. business to pursue for Amar.
Amar, CEO of T-Mobile Portable Unlimited, proposes to reuse the former Letchworth property for a hotel / conference center and other commercial developments that would bring complementary businesses to Club House Lane – a few retail businesses, a restaurant ( maybe a Starbucks?) – it would attract buyers and visitors and help offset Stony Point’s high property taxes.
A major concern voiced by residents on both sides of the fence – the need for affordable senior housing – will be included in Amar’s mixed-use development plans for the property if the sale is approved, he said. declared to CRED. Residents fear it could happen if Amar decides to bail out and ‘transfer’ the property to a high-density real estate developer, a move that could turn the golf course into a mini-town instead of a semi-destination. -suburban.
534 residents have asked the court for the right to weigh in on the project, resulting in the proposal that Stony Pointers will vote on election day.
The Letchworth property is not included in the referendum. These 26 acres are only included in the agreement that the City negotiated for the sale of the golf course. The city and Patriot Hills LLC signed a memorandum of understanding to demolish buildings, remediate the grounds, and install the vertical infrastructure needed to upgrade the plot to a level that would attract a major hotelier, such as Crown Plaza. Kirkbride Hall would receive some needed remediation and would be re-rented to Stony Point for $ 1 per year for recreation and events in town. The RHO building and its senior citizen center would be replaced with a new senior citizen / community center.
The Letchworth Village “Overlay District” was specifically created to accommodate its removal, land reclamation and eventual development into taxable asset producing property. (Rockland County Times, April 11, 2019) Amir also said the dismantling of stone / mortar buildings and asbestos decontamination would be undertaken so as not to interfere with Camp Venture or any other activity on the site.
Supporters say North Rockland hasn’t seen any major development in decades and already missed an opportunity in the northeastern corner of the county when Legoland New York let the area pass and opened its $ 500 million entertainment venue. dollars in Orange County. At one time Letchworth Village, built to house what were then called “mentally deficient” people, was a major employer in Rockland.
Opponents of the sale, including members of Stony Point United, say they don’t think the city should sell its assets because they fear it will be overthrown.
Others believe the City should keep the golf course and hire an outside management company to take care of it, although it looks like the cost of upgrading the golf course will be high, as will the cost of upgrading the golf course. sanitation / renovation of its pavilion. or the GrilleRoom, something city officials see as a financial burden the municipality cannot afford to rehabilitate and maintain without going broke.
Two participants at CRED’s Zoom meeting on Tuesday had opposing views. Stony Point resident Diane Cuellar told listeners she was an ‘opposite’ who believed the property was not priced high enough and that Stony Point United had come up with several good deals. William Marlowe of ARC Rockland told listeners that Amar purchased the 83,000 square foot nonprofit organization. building, but let ARC stay in place until their new quarters are ready.
“As a non-profit organization, he knew our financial constraints and told us to stay put until our new space was finished… it’s been almost a year now and we haven’t been asked. to pay a dime. ” Marlowe said Amar turned out to be a man of his word.
As for Amar, he hopes residents will approve the sale and support his vision for the golf course, lodge and food court – as well as the restoration of Letchworth Village properties – and give Stony Point the right to first refusal if Patriot Hills LLC decides to sell the property. Opponents say the golf course should remain in city ownership and have several ideas on how best to make the property profitable, but how these upgrades and improvements can be made without raising already high property taxes is baffling to those that are on the fence.
Voters are the ultimate decision-makers, and Stony PointThey will know shortly after the polls close on Tuesday evening whether the answer is yes or no on proposition 7.