Sustainable Port Chester Alliance Delivers Hundreds of Postcards to Mayor and Trustees
Calling for Responsible Development of United Hospital Site
PORT CHESTER, NY – Dozens of supporters of Sustainable Port Chester Alliance converged on the Mayor and Trustees at the Village Court Building prior to an executive session. The supporters were there to deliver hundreds of additional postcards signed by village residents urging the elected officials to insist that Starwood work with the Alliance on a plan that better reflects the community’s needs for good jobs, housing and school funding. To date, approximately 500 postcards have been signed and delivered – in both English and Spanish.
At question is the commitment of the Mayor and Trustees to the residents and their concerns versus Starwood Capital and its desire to develop the former United Hospital site – a development that ultimately would bring Starwood millions more in profit on the backs of a struggling village with overcrowded schools, old and crumbling housing stock, and worsening traffic conditions.
A Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) is an enforceable, legally binding document that would be signed by the developer and the Sustainable Port Chester Alliance, representing the Port Chester community. The agreement can include a number of benefits that the community would receive in exchange for allowing Starwood Capital to develop this property and also guarantee that the construction workers and permanent project employees get fair wages and benefits.
Other communities have benefited from this type of developer/community partnership in other projects such as the West Harlem Redevelopment project sponsored by Columbia University. A CBA has also been recommended for a massive development project proposed in New Rochelle. CBAs have been successfully executed in projects around the country and there is no reason for Port Chester to allow this massive development without securing real gains for the community.
Sustainable Port Chester Alliance supporter and member of the Port Chester/Rye NAACP, Joan Grangenois-Thomas, told the group, “Our elected officials are once again leading us into the deep end. With the memory of the G&S Waterfront debacle fresh in our minds, these folks want to give away our village to Starwood. It’s time we spoke up and out and say in one voice – Port Chester deserves better, the children of Port Chester deserve better, the hard working people of Port Chester deserve better!”
Phyllis Maguire speaking on behalf of Human Development Services of Westchester, a housing and mental health agency based in Port Chester, and a member of the Sustainable Port Chester Alliance said, “Our agency helps hundreds of families everyday who seek assistance with housing issues. We stand to lose over 130 units of affordable housing with the demolition of 999 High Street (an affordable housing building for former United Hospital workers). Port Chester is a working class community and we want assurances that Starwood is going to replace those units of workforce housing. We need a Community Benefits Agreement to guarantee that happens.”
In its current form, the proposal by Starwood seeks a $34 mil Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) for Port Chester Schools. A recent bond to expand and modernize facilities across the district was recently voted down by a margin of 2 to 1 by residents leaving the district reeling and regrouping on its strategy. The Sustainable Port Chester Alliance will include provisions in a community benefits agreement to ensure that Port Chester Schools gets its fair share of taxes for the scope of the new development.
Rye Mayor, Joe Sack has also expressed his concerns for the project as it relates to traffic on High Street, which is one border between Rye and Port Chester. He included the project as one of several issues he will focus on this year in his recent state of the city address to Rye residents.
For more information on Sustainable Port Chester Alliance visit www.portchesteralliance.org
The Sustainable Port Chester Alliance is a growing coalition of community, faith-based, civic, and union members who advocate for responsible development at the United Hospital site. Members include: All Souls Parish; Port Chester Teachers Association; Don Bosco Workers, Inc.; Port Chester/Rye Branch NAACP; Human Development Services of Westchester; Local 46 Metallic Lathers & Reinforcing Iron Workers; Communication Workers of America Local 1103; Building and Construction Trades Council of Westchester and Putnam Counties.