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July 26, 2016
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Cappelli proposes townhouses, possible casino for Liberty

Kevin McManus represents developer Louis Cappelli and presents plans for a development at the Grossinger’s site.
TRR photo by Carol Montana

“You’re off to good start,” said Lynn Dowe, chairman of the town’s planning board. “The planning board does like to see the master plan first, instead of adding piece by piece… Most of the planning board is here tonight and we’re all excited to see this project come… We will definitely work with you in any way we can to make this happen for the Town of Liberty.”

Veteran housing?

Another presentation was made by Joy Cole-Johnson, founder and CEO of the North Eastern Expansion Development Corporation (NEED.)

The project would provide supportive housing for homeless veterans at the site of the Paramount Hotel in Parksville and would include schooling; daycare; a medical facility; recreation including basketball, track, tennis and gymnasium; a supermarket, clothing and shoe stores, small restaurants; and employment areas.

Board member Chris Austin questioned the project’s stated aim to provide housing not only to veterans, but also to the special needs population. “If this project was for the veterans and only the veterans, I would be supportive of it. But I’m getting the inclination by reading your proposal that this has the inclination to be a stop-and-shop for homeless people from New York City, Westchester, Rockland, and other areas, and I’m not in favor of that.”

Johnson clarified that “Most of the veterans will be coming from this county,” and that it would create jobs for town residents such as social workers, day care providers, nurses, etc.

She asked the town to give the organization a letter of support within 60 days in order to apply for a government-funded grant, which will also pay for a conceptual master plan.

Barbuti asked for a cost/benefit analysis. “We have a history in this county of providing for people with special needs, but I also need to keep in mind the needs of the community.”

Uncomfortable with giving a letter of support without more information, the board asked Cole-Johnson for additional specifics including the conceptual master plan before it could lend its support.