Wednesday, January 30, 2019

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Sale of piece of downtown Port Jervis ‘parkland’ touches off debate

PORT JERVIS – A revival of Front Street and Jersey Avenue in Port Jervis continues, but one proposal touched off lengthy debate during Monday night’s Common Council meeting. 

The wrangling happened during approval of a prior meeting’s minutes when Second Ward Councilwoman Maria Mann raised questions over a proposed transfer of a small piece of what was referred to as a municipal park at 12-14 Jersey Avenue. 

That’s the back part the triangular point where Jersey Avenue and Front Street merge.  The front portion, containing a fountain and benches, was dedicated last May to the memory of late Front Street business owner Joseph Kucher. 

It is in what the city now calls the “Promenade.”

Mann raised a concern.

“In order to alienate parkland a municipality must receive authorization from the state in the form of an alienation bill,” said Mann.

Mayor Kelly Decker said this caught him by surprise when he first got wind last week of the concerns raised by Mann and Fourth Ward Councilman Stanley Siegel.

“The only thing that you’re voting on is the sale of the property,” said Decker.  “You’re not voting on the building.  That is the planning board’s job; not your job, not my job, that’s the planning board’s job.”

Specifics on what is being proposed in the area were not given during the meeting. 

Decker suggested holding off on transferring the small parcel until city receives more guidance on whether this would constitute a parkland transfer, which would require the city to create an equal amount of new open space elsewhere.

 


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