Greenburgh To Address Site's Remediation Concerns

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The Greenburgh Town Board hopes to answer the public's questions about environmental testing on the old Frank's Nursery site. Photo Credit: Samantha Kramer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The Greenburgh Town Board and Woodard and Curran consultants will soon hear state representatives and the public's concerns about environmental testing on the old Frank's Nursery site.

The town board plans to contact representatives including Assemblyman Tom Abinanti and Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins to meet in two weeks to discuss how to proceed with Woodard and Curran's findings. The environmental team found traces of carcinogens on the 715 Dobbs Ferry Road site where Game On 365 will construct its new sports complex.

In the meantime, the public can submit their questions for the town board to answer during the meeting, slated for Nov. 27.

"This way, everybody basically knows what's happening — how many remediations we're going to do," Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said about plans for cleanup.

Feiner said he wants to wait for Woodard and Curran's remediation suggestions before presenting the data to the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Abinanti, however, said that, because various chemicals have contaminated the site during its use as a nursery, the DEC should have been involved long ago — before the town gained ownership to lease it.

Because DEC never interfered, the town will ultimately be left up to clean up the mess, Abinanti said.

"In general, DEC should take a much more proactive stance in enforcing land owners to clean up property that they pollute," Abinanti said. "This situation is the perfect argument for that."

According to the lease, Game On has to pay an "Initial Environmental Contribution" up to $125,000. It must also pay an additional 125,000 for Phase II and remediation costs. If the costs go over $250,000, the town will make up for the next $150,000. But if the price tag goes over $400,000, the town's financial obligation ends. However, Game On can terminate the lease if it decides the price tag is too steep.

But Feiner said the site's cleanup, regardless of cost, is still necessary.

"Nobody wants to live near a contaminated site," he said.

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Comments (1)

halmarc45:

Golly, either I should apologize for not reading the Lease and making waves as the result or the reporter should read it and then apologize for what she has written: this topic being a controversial one of interest to many residents.

"According to the lease, Game On has to pay an "Initial Environmental Contribution" up to $125,000. It must also pay an additional 125,000 for Phase II and remediation costs. If the costs go over $250,000, the town will make up for the next $150,000. But if the price tag goes over $400,000, the town's financial obligation ends. However, Game On can terminate the lease if it decides the price tag is too steep."

Sound likes those folks at GameOn are really helping out the Town doesn't it?
However what the Lease actually says is somewhat different than what the author reports.

GameOn pays $125,000 for the Phase II Study (a cost of $43,500 is cited in the Lease; the balance $81,500 is available to be used toward the remediation). Per the Lease, upon signing the Lease GameOn is to have deposited the $43,500 in escrow. Something to be checked. After the completion of the Phase II and the determination of what needs to be done, GameOn adds the $81,500 to the escrow account. Escrow accounts are not the same as handing the money over to the Town which is on the hook for whatever has so far been ordered. If the total costs (Study(ies) + remediation exceed $125,000, GameOn is required to fund up to an additional $125,000 to be used toward remediation. However, don't worry about GameOn being out any money because if the project proceeds, the entire $125,00 will be applied toward reducing the already low rent further. Thus
$125,000 of Secondary Environmental Contribution - (minus) $125,000 in rent credits = $0 which is what GameOn will be out should this scam for the public's benefit ever get played out. And if the Town were then to add its own $150,000 to the pot, bringing the total up to a $400,000 threshold, a new set of circumstances is broached. The Town can so say; we've had enough and we're not going to remediate any more and if it says no, then GameOn gets every penny back that it has advanced or escrowed on behalf of the Town. If the Town says we have to spend whatever it takes "because nobody wants to live near a contaminated site", then GameOn can also withdraw and get every penny back.

Why would GameOn want to withdraw? Because as the full extent of the remediation is recognized and the cost to do this exceed $400,000 so will the time necessary to do the work increase. Something that GameOn's would-be investors may not be willing to countenance. Given the tentative nature of everyone's commitment to seeing this project through to the end; it would be foolhardy and costly for the Town to proceed further in other directions (zoning, traffic study, SEQRA review) until the full extent of the remediation is known and completed since the Town Board is now concerned about children dying from cancer contracted onsite. Which brings taxpayers back full circle to the starting point: if GameOn takes its money and runs, no marketing of the property should occur until the biggest hurdle is overcome -- curing the contamination.
Something that should have been done from the start.
The aftermath is really just all the king's men trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
Hal Samis

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