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Garden City sells land to residents' group

Garden City Trustee Dennis C. Donnelly is shown

Garden City Trustee Dennis C. Donnelly is shown in this undated photo. Credit: Handout

Garden City Village's board has unanimously approved the sale of a vacant 39,000-square-foot property north of Franklin Court for $100,000 to a consortium of more than 30 area homeowners.

The triangular parcel -- known as "County Property adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road's Country Life Press train station" -- was sold to Franklin Mews Group LLC, which plans to use the site as green space. The property was appraised at $94,000, village officials said.

"It was sold with the caveat that the land must forever remain green space, otherwise, it reverts back to the village," said village trustee Dennis Donnelly, who described the parcel as "excess village property." Residents wanted to prevent development on the site, he added.

The village board also discussed at Thursday night's meeting ongoing plans to renovate its senior center on Golf Club Lane, behind Lord & Taylor. The board passed a $1.5 million bond resolution in September to cover the expected costs of the improvements and hired a firm to draft architectural plans.

Recreation and parks department director Kevin Ocker said officials "hope to have plans ready by the end of February, so we can get out the bid. The ultimate goal is to break ground by the end of April. I think we will be looking at a five-month construction project. . . . There should not be much disruption."

Also, the village's recreation and parks department is continuing its Hurricane Sandy Arbor Restoration Plan with the help of graduate students from Cornell University's Department of Landscape Architecture and the Department of Horticulture. The village lost 675 trees from 27 species in the storm. It has replanted more than 100 trees, Ocker said. Village officials said they are trying to find ways to curb overtime costs, which have been higher than estimated due to unexpected retirement in public works, fire and police departments. The current fiscal year budget runs through May 31.

"The one thing we continue to keep our eye on in the expense front is overtime," said village trustee Richard Silver, who also serves as the commissioner of finance. "Overtime is running slightly more than 50 percent of our budget, with the police, fire and sanitation all being over budget."

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