Saturday, April 9, 2016

Town Knew They Would Lose $1 Million

The Town of Greenburgh, Ardsley and Hastings entered a decision with Forest City Ratner a number of years ago to fund repairs to various roadways. Forest City Ratner was the Ridge Hill developer, who agreed to pay an award of $5 million dollars to the three communities. One catch was that the money had to be put in an escrow account, with an expiration date of March 18, 2016.  That deadline passed three weeks ago and the money in that account reverted to the developer. Some of the work had been done and the funds spent with money left in the escrow account.

Paul sent an e-mail out in March of 2009 discussing this agreement. The entire document can be accessed through the link below.  We've inserted his two paragraph statement here:

Possible intersection improvements RIDGEHILL $5 million settlement
Release Date: March 30, 2009
When it became clear to Greenburgh, Ardsley & Hastings officials that we could not legally stop the Ridge Hill development from being approved by Yonkers we entered into an agreement with the city and Ridge Hill developers. Ridge Hill would contribute $5 million towards road improvements. A committee made up of representatives of Greenburgh, Ardsley & Hastings has been meeting. This committee has been reviewing various traffic safety options. This is a summary of the committees’ most recent meeting, as reported by Thomas Madden, Commissioner of Planning.

At the March 19, 2009, Ridgehill Intersection Improvement Committee, discussed and classified the twelve project study areas into three categories, in order better allocate resources when studying the intersections and road segments. These categories are 1) Intersections that would benefit from further study and have the most impact; 2) Intersections or improvements that should be sent to the State or County as a report and analysis for future road work considerations; and 3) No improvements needed until 2028. 

Read the entire document at:

What was left of the funds were to be used to improve the conditions to and from Ridge Hill, Jackson Avenue at Saw Mill River Road (9A) and a widening of 9A in downtown Ardsley. To be applied as intended, the $1million balance was to be used to straighten a section of Jackson Avenue near Sprain Ridge Road. Even though that money is now gone due to a contractual clause, leaders with the Town claim the reconstruction of that section of road will still take place – even without the $1million in funds!

A memo dated March 17 from Greenburgh Planning Commissioner Garrett Duquesne was sent to Mr Feiner several weeks ago warning that County Planning staff were continually objecting to all plans put forth by the Town for this small strip of property, siting the removal of trees, grading and other disturbances that would be made to the property. The changes were adding costs to this project and delaying a resolution of it. It was Duquesne who has said the project will continue forward. However, the Town cannot proceed without the County’s approval. In fact, the Town Board had already passed a resolution (below) committing funds to complete the project in January 2016!

According to County Legislator MaryJane Shimsky, the fatalities in this area mandate that this work gets done. She also stated that the Deputy County Executive is committed to finishing this project as well. Sadly, the fact that the Town Board passed a resolution to fund this without mentioning forfeiture of $1million is almost like not informing the public at all. It perpetuates the phony “open and transparent” government pablum being spouted from Town Hall. This is a serious amount of money that the Town failed to act promptly on and is most likely the reason it is now gone. Mr Feiner was against developing this area with a proposed Target store in addition to the Stew Leonards, Home Depot and Costco. Could this have been his solution to slow that down?

We’ll never really know the truth from Town Hall as to why the funds had not been used before the deadline was reached. Clearly, the Town Board all knew what would be happening with the $1million funds. Also clear is that they didn’t care. This cavalier approach to taxpayer funds has to stop. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

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