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Failed bid for 14-acre school parcel raises questions and ire

July 9, 2014

The Narrowsburg Beautification Group (NBG), established in 2001, wishes to express its extreme disappointment in the recent actions of the Sullivan West School Board. With the exceptions of Angela Daley and Joan Glase, the school board agreed to accept an offer to purchase the shuttered Narrowsburg School along with the 14-plus acres of non-contiguous property.

In August, 2012, the NBG had the honor and distinction to receive the highest award granted by Sullivan Renaissance, The Golden Feather Award of $25,000. The NBG offered the entire $25,000 to the Town of Tusten as partial payment toward the purchase the 14+ acres owned by the Sullivan West School District.

The Tusten Town Board agreed to make every effort to purchase the property as a means to preserve green space in the center of the hamlet and to encourage healthy activities for all ages in the community with walking and fitness trails. A letter was sent to the school board to request to purchase the property and negotiate a price. The request was denied, purportedly due to the fact the fields were still used for athletic purposes. A representative from the NBG met with Nancy Hackett, superintendent, and made clear the desire of the town to own the 14+ acres of non-contiguous property.

It is disturbing to learn that the school board would not even consider a request from its own constituents prior to considering the sale of the former athletic fields to anyone from outside the community. How can such behavior and outcomes be justified? Is money the only driving force of school board members? Have they no integrity? How much was the Town of Tusten willing to pay? Since there was no meaningful effort to communicate with the community to establish a best price, they will never know.

The Narrowsburg Beautification Group 2012 Active Members:
Wanda Gangel, Geoff Gangel, Star Hesse, Jane Luchsinger, Linda Slocum