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  The illegal plan to lease the Historic Main School Building...
The Kenny Lawsuit...
The Village fails to put the Historic Main Building...
The foolish plan to “market”...

Background Facts

Extracted from the recent lawsuit initiated against the Village...

The architecturally distinctive Historic Main Building of the former St. Paul’s school was constructed at its present location on Stewart Avenue in Garden City between 1877 and 1883. For more than a century, the school was operated as a private educational institution by the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island. Over the years, additional buildings were constructed and annexed to the Historic Main Building, including an activities center known as Cluett Hall and a field house containing a gymnasium and other facilities.

In 1991, the St. Paul’s School was closed. The following year, the Trustees of the Incorporated Village of Garden City developed a plan to purchase the St. Paul’s property through condemnation in order to prevent “unwanted redevelopment of one of the Village’s most prominent properties.”

To effectuate this plan, the Village first entered into a “MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING” in which the Village agreed to pay the Cathedral of the Incarnation of the Episcopal Diocese $7,250,000 for the Historic Main Building, other structures, and approximately 48.6 acres of land.

The purchase of the St. Paul’s property was subject to a series of conditions that were expressly set forth in the Memorandum of Understanding.

These included:
(a) adoption of a Bond Resolution providing for a referendum vote by Village residents; and
(b) acquisition through an eminent domain proceeding.

By resolution no. 113-1992 (adopted 12/22/92), the Village Board of Trustees authorized the acquisition of the St. Paul’s property. The same resolution authorized the issuance of $8,500,000 in serial bonds to finance the acquisition of the property and to partially reconstruct the buildings thereon, in order to safeguard and protect the buildings.

By resolution no. 114-1992 (adopted 12/22/92), the Board of Trustees authorized a Special Election to enable Village voters to approve or disapprove a proposition respecting the acquisition and the issuance of the serial bonds. The latter resolution included the text of the proposition, asking voters to approve or reject the Bond Resolution “authorizing…the acquisition for Village purposes, including recreational purposes, the certain parcel of land, including buildings and improvements thereon, commonly known as the St. Paul’s School Property”.

At the Special Election held on February 2, 1993, more than 88% of voters approved the resolution authorizing the acquisition of the St. Paul’s property. Thereafter, the Board of Trustees adopted a resolution (no. 24-1993) stating that it was in the best interests of residents to proceed with the acquisition of the property through eminent domain.

The same resolution included findings that “the public use, benefit or purpose to be served by the proposed acquisition includes the preservation of this important 48.6 acre site to provide for significant green space and to present undesirable use and development” (emphasis added).

Based upon these findings, the Supreme Court approved the acquisition through eminent domain, and by order signed by Justice Leo F. McGinty, the Village formally obtained title to the entire property in November, 1993. Between 1994 and the present, virtually every part of the St. Paul’s property, except for the Historic Main Building and an annex known as Ellis Hall, have been dedicated to and put to public use. According to the Village’s own publication, Village Facts, “the St. Paul’s campus” has become a “hub of community activities.”

One of the buildings annexed to the Historic Main Building, known as Cluett Hall, is used 12 hours a day, Monday through Saturday, for recreational and social activities such as aerobics, arts and crafts, and dance classes, and has become the focal point for special cultural activities including plays, art shows, concerts, and dinner dances. In addition, the indoor running track at Cluett Hall is regularly used during the winter months by numerous Village residents who enjoy running and walking to maintain their exercise programs.

A second building, the Field House, is used on a daily basis for after school youth gym programs and nighttime adult basketball and volleyball. The Village has also allowed numerous youth sports organizations and public school athletic teams to use the facility. Finally, the field areas of St. Paul’s have become the home for numerous organized outdoor recreational activities, including public school team practices, games, and meets, and Recreation Department sponsored softball league games, lacrosse camps, and summer activities.

The illegal plan to lease the Historic Main School Building...
The Kenny Lawsuit...
The Village fails to put the Historic Main Building...
The foolish plan to “market”...

 

Committee to Save St. Paul's / P.O. Box 7642 / Garden City, New York 11530-0731
©2006 Committee to Save St. Paul's