Whenever one door closes…
We liked this plan because it would have engaged a variety of local stakeholders in areas that are proven bulwarks of the local economy, participating in a project that would have provided them with a venue to expand and develop. Meanwhile, it would keep the school the essential community center it has been in the past. In short, it was most emphatically in keeping with the town’s comprehensive plan, not only in maintaining rural character, but in promoting appropriate economic development.
Most likely it was the financial structure that led the school district to prefer the Kang deal, which, if it had gone through as planned, would have involved immediate, full payment to the school district of the purchase price. But the whole issue of purchase price is one thing that, as noted in our news story “Kang abandons Narrowsburg,” last week, has probably changed dramatically. Legislation passed on April 1 that takes away any taxpayer benefit that might be realized from the sale of the properties. As our article noted, “Because of the law, [Superintendent Hilton] said, ‘If we get $1 million dollars for the buildings, next year our state aid will be cut by $1 million dollars; if we get $1 our state aid is cut by $1.’”
School board member Noel van Swol has suggested asking our legislators to help us circumvent this problem, and we certainly wouldn’t argue against trying to do so. But if that turns out not to be possible, the potential financial advantage of an outside investor group over a local syndicate pretty much disappears.
We would also note that, when the Kang bid was first accepted, various local agencies like the IDA rallied round with promises of special perks and support in terms of tax deals and the like. Offer similar help to a local syndicate deal and it’s hard to see why such a thing shouldn’t be able to succeed and prosper.
They say that one when door closes, another opens. We think the end of the Kang deal is an open door to the type of self-sufficient, self-sustaining model of development that we think provides our area’s best hopes for the future. If we put our thinking caps on and join forces, perhaps we can get something remarkable done.