Letter: Greenburgh Health Center Poorly Located

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This Letter to the Editor was written by Wanda Dunlap, a resident of the Fairview neighborhood of Greenburgh. 

The Town of Greenburgh has approved the building of a new 25,000+ square foot Greenburgh Health Center on Knollwood Road adjacent to the Social Security Building.  The health center is affiliated with the Mt. Vernon and Yonkers Health Centers.  The Broadview Civic Association, which represents Greenburgh residents, has been working to block the construction for the last seven years, and we have not given up the fight.

We believe that this building will have many negative affects on the neighboring community and prove to be problematic for the patients as well.  First of all, many of the patients will be traveling by public transportation and there is no sidewalk from the bus stop.  There is minimal parking available on the property and the only alternative is to park in our neighborhoods or the Greenburgh Library and walk over.  There will be an increase in the already heavy traffic on Knollwood Road, making it even more difficult leave and enter our neighborhoods.  Under the Federal guidelines for Federally Qualified Health Centers, this facility will be required to handle patients receiving drug treatment and mental health and sex abuse counseling.  Finally, the center will be transporting patients from outside of the immediate community to receive these services.

It is not that we are opposed to the health center, but we are at a loss to understand why it would be located within a community that it does not serve.  Not long ago we had the Westhab Shelter on 119 across from Burger King.  At that time, our mailboxes were vandalized and our seniors were solicited for food and UNICEF donations throughout the year.   We in the immediate area are quite concerned that we will once again be negatively impacted, therefore, we beseech you to take our concerns under consideration and consider how this facility will affect you over time.   Please contact your representatives, Congresswoman Nita Lowey, Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins and Assemblyman Thomas J. Abinanti.    They will not represent us if grumble to ourselves……”United we stand, divided we fall….”

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Comments (2)

As usual, Feiner is being disingenuous, substituting a half-truth for reality. Consider:

1) there were Public Hearings but saying, in effect, that the resident "came late to the game".
Yes there were Public Hearings but the Town Board deliberately refused (ignoring those citizens who do participate) to make an absolute condition that a sidewalk be in place before the doors open. Given that the ability to produce a sidewalk is an iffy thing (the Health Center does not own the two intervening properties and thus neither it nor the Town can guarantee that the construction will occur, Were the Town Board really concerned, beyond lip service, the sidewalk issue would have been the very first issue to be resolved before a shovel ever went into the ground. If readers believe that the Town Board will not allow a newly built "Health Center" serving the community to open just because of a missing sidewalk component, then you should stand in the line of those ready to make their down payment to purchase the Tappan Zee Bridge.

2) the above leads to the second part of Feiner's deception. Feiner coyly says that the Health Center won't receive a certificate of occupancy if the sidewalk isn't built. But what he doesn't say is that he is referring to a permanent CofO while what the Town Board did ensure in a recent vote revising "building department regulations" is that the Building Inspector can continue to renew expiring "temporary" Cof O's INDEFINITELY. These code revisions were also the subject of Public Hearings and those that attended and spoke out were witness to a Town Board which refused to limit the number of renewals even though the Health Center sidewalk problem was cited as the example of what would happen.

So, if you still trustingly believe that Feiner is really, REALLY concerned about the SAFETY of those walking to the new Health Center, you should remember to bring a certified check when you make your Bridge down payment.
Hal Samis

Wanda Dunlap has expressed the often repeated legitimate concerns of both Broadview and other Greenburgh residents about the 295 Knollwood Road site chosen by the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center as the site for its Federally Qualified Health Center.
Unfortunately the Greenburgh Town Board has ignored many concerns of residents; however, the Town Board did incorporate some special conditions in the approvals granted by the Town Board, the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals. These conditions are contained in various approval letters, approved construction plans, permits etc. issued by the Town prior to the start of actual construction at the 295 Knollwood Road site.
Currently, it appears that actual construction at the 295 Knollwood Road site is not proceeding in accordance with the construction plans as approved by the Town. The Broadview Civic Association has notified the Town, but again the Greenburgh Town Board has ignored the concerns of Broadview residents.
The Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center needs to follow the construction plans as originally approved by the Town or seek new updated approvals from the Town for any changes in the approved plans.
Robert Reninger, Chairman
Broadview Civic Association