We got people out to the State Department Of Transportation (DOT) Public Hearing and made our case that the Malloy's building could be saved. They agreed and changed their plan to one that would spare it. The (previous) town board went back to the State to have it demolished - because of "safety". The State explained that they could address safety concerns by installing a traffic-light switch in the Firehouse to control the traffic light at the intersection of Main St. & 9W. The town board insisted - and got the State Senator Morahan to lobby the DOT for removal.
The DOT finally gave in.
We went back to the town board, asked why it was necessary to remove this building, which had stood there since 1861, and had been a producer of tax revenue for the town. As there was no real "safety" issue, now they claimed it was an "eyesore" - this a dozen years after the Rockland County Historic Society had given it an award for a superb restoration. The Supervisor told us we would be getting a "park" where it stood.
We came back again to the town board with suggestions how the building could be used as an aid to economic development. They weren't interested. One resident told the board that if they would give him the building for $1.00 he would guarantee the town the $40,000 in taxes that the town had previously been collecting. They weren't interested. Another resident discovered that the building could be turned 90º and moved to the far end of it's property for half the cost of demolishing it. Still not interested. They were more interested in getting a "park" that would be the size of your back yard, a short distance from Lowland Park and Riverfront Park. Oh, yes, and a 30-slot parking lot alongside it.
We did our best, but no interest from any of our elected officials - including our new State Senator and our State Assemblywoman. This even after we came to the town with some 400 signatures on a petition. You just have to wonder who it is they pay attention to...
This comes not long after deciding to put the new Ambulance building on the site of a restaurant (Don's) that had been paying taxes to the town for years; a stunningly stupid move as we continue to lose tax ratables and our financial woes grow deeper.
So we traded a legacy taxpaying building, part of our history and our sense of place, for what? A "park" as big as a back yard (so thoughtfully named Malloy's Memorial Park) and 30 parking spaces. Now, admittedly, I am a cynic, but when I see 30 parking spaces adjoining... actually nothing, I have to wonder what the Real Plan here is. Another bank/ Another pharmacy? Another (please God no) strip mall?
In a year or two we will see what the Real Plan is, and wonder why we gave up our legacy so some developer could make some money.