Greenburgh faces outcry over sports complex site
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Greenburgh officials are getting an earful from residents who oppose the town's plans to lease a contaminated site to a private company for a proposed sports complex.
Under the terms of the proposed 15-year lease to Game On 365, which requires town board approval, the town would get $260,000 a year in rent, which includes $50,000 for property and school taxes.
Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said the proposed lease -- which would increase to more than $330,000 over the 15-year period -- would mean more than $5 million in rent payments for the southern Westchester County town.
"The financial benefits to the town include retaining ownership of a valuable property while receiving annual income that far exceeds any potential tax it would receive from selling the property," Feiner said.
Still, some residents have criticized the town for agreeing to pay taxes on the property and are questioning how much taxpayers would have to pay to clean up the 7-acre site, assessed at more than $1.3 million.
Town officials scheduled a meeting Wednesday night to discuss the lease, but had to cancel because of storms.
A citizens group led by Greenburgh resident Simon Cohen -- HelpBurstTheBubble.com -- apparently sent mailers to residents claiming that the town would be on the hook for more than $250,000 in property and school taxes.
"Why is Feiner spending your money on a private business?" read one of the mailers, which had no return address. "I have to pay taxes, you have to pay taxes. But a new facility will have their taxes paid by YOU!"
Feiner said Cohen and others who oppose the project are spreading "misinformation" about the proposed terms of the lease for the property, which was acquired by the town under foreclosure proceedings last year.
He suggested that much of the opposition is being driven by another sports complex being built in Ardsley.
Game On plans a 94,000-square-foot air dome and attached 15,000-square-foot clubhouse along with an outdoor soccer facility on the site off Dobbs Ferry Road. The facility would be called the Westchester Field House.
As part of the lease, Game On will spend $100,000 to clean up an old petroleum spill on the property.
The company, which is registered as a limited liability corporation in New York, operates sports complexes in Bergen County, N.J., including the Soccer Coliseum in Teaneck and Superdome Sports in Waldwick.
James Melnichok, a representative for the company, said the project will create jobs, expand the town's property tax base and provide recreational opportunities for young people in Greenburgh and surrounding communities.
"This is a really great opportunity for the town and it makes great financial sense," he said Wednesday.
The meeting canceled Wednesday night has been rescheduled for Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the site on Dobbs Ferry Road. town board is scheduled to discuss the proposal at a meeting July 25 in Town Hall.