Proposed Rec. Center in Putnam Valley Moves Ahead

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Plans for a new recreation center in the Town of Putnam Valley took another leap forward Wednesday evening, when the five-member town board voted in lockstep to bond the project.

The price tag attached to the new recreation center is $3.8 million that would be paid off over 30 years. But Supervisor Sam Oliverio said that cost could be less because the town might be able to save money and also bring in revenue from the center. The town won’t need to pay $81,000 to rent out a field in town for summer camp and can charge outside groups for use of the facility and hold classes and other activities there, he said.

The project would be built right at the front of town park where the inline skating used to be. It’ll be a full size basketball court with bleachers and four classrooms, Oliverio said.

“This is a very positive thing for the Valley,” Oliverio said. “I love that old saying, ‘If you build it, they will come.’”

But one resident in the town is attempting to thwart the new recreation center, or at least delay it by a voter referendum. Patty Villanova intends to seek at least 175 signatures from town folks that would put the bond up to a vote. Villanova has one month to collect the signatures and if she’s successful, the referendum would then take place two months from now. (The Putnam County Board of Elections needs a four-week notice to hold an election from when the signatures are confirmed. The cost would be $25,000.)

In an interview, Villanova claimed the town board has been misleading about the recreation center and she’s upset there hasn’t been a feasibility study conducted for the proposed center. She said residents should decide on a new recreation center, not a few town officials.

“Most people don’t even know about it,” Villanova said. “When I tell them what the cost is they can’t believe it.”

She said the town should invest money in a public pool for residents that don’t have lake rights instead of a center.

Villanova and the town board sparred Wednesday during the brief meeting before a vote was taken. When Villanova got up to speak Councilman Steve Mackay demanded she sit down and be quiet. He even asked Oliverio if he should call 911 for assistance from the Putnam County Sheriff ’s Office.

Despite angry pleas from the board, Villanova persisted getting into a back and forth with Oliverio. At one point Councilwoman Jackie Annabi questioned why Villanova didn’t speak at the public hearing that took place many months ago.

Oliverio was skeptical what support, if any, Villanova would receive for her push. She was the only resident at the meeting Wednesday night, though she said it’s because the meeting wasn’t a public hearing.

Oliverio said the town has held public hearings at the town board, planning board, and zoning board, competed the environmental assessment, and the park and recreation committee has supported the endeavor.

“I believe the majority of our residents,” Oliverio said. “And I mean a super majority of our residents want this recreation center.”

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