Myers: sports complex will undergo full review by planners

A special public hearing for the proposed indoor sports complex on town-owned land at Cantine Field will be held on April 4 at 8 p.m. in the senior center.

The purpose of the public hearing, according to town supervisor Kelly Myers is “to determine if the Saugerties community is willing or unwilling to support alienation of a section of the Cantine Field Park – in order to allow a private business to be built and operated there.”

John Barese, owner of the Starway Café on Route 212, wants to construct a $15 million indoor sports complex on about seven acres of Saugerties-owned land, which he’d like to lease tax-free in exchange for an in-kind donation of an adjacent parcel.

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Barese said he believes the plan wouldn’t be subject to the Planning Board review process because it would be public land. Town officials believe otherwise.

Myers said town attorney John Greco advised that Barese will have to go through the process. “There is no mechanism to negate or avoid this,” she said.

The process of alienation, which allows a private entity to build on public land, also requires that the private entity deed to the public land that is of equal size.

One of the questions that many residents have raised is if Barese must buy land to exchange with the town, why isn’t he building on that site?

Barese was at a convention in New Jersey and unavailable for comment. However, as his proposal envisions him not paying taxes on the leased land, it’s reasonable to assume that’s why. If the project were built on private land, the taxes would be significant.

If he were to build on property that he owns, he would have to pay property taxes.

Plans for the complex call for the construction of indoor playing fields, swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts as well as a restaurant.

Barese has said he will not use any of his own money for the project but would use that of an as yet unidentified investor.

There are 8 comments

  1. marjorie block

    I think John Barese should build on his own land.Why should he be able to control & make money on public land without paying taxes?

  2. Shelley Davis

    How about a dog run first? We’ve been trying for years to get one. Isn’t it about time that we stepped into the 21st century for our animals? Kingston is getting one, Woodstock has one…what about Saugerties? Let’s put some of the funds into a dog run.

    1. Wmdoyle

      The concept of putting animals (we walk our lab outside several times everyday and she loves it) before the safety and sports education of our childern is a nutty idea in general.

      The belief that our government owes our animals a bark park in contrast to a man who is looking to invest in a business venture goes against the founding of our country, but who should be surprised in this entitlement society.

      Woodstock may have a doggy park, but when I was teaching there a few years back they had no place for there residents to skateboard. The students made a film to present to the town board.

      As far as the project that is before us now is concerned, I am confident that Mr. Greco will ensure the legality of the matter.

      Bill

      1. erik

        I don’t know how you believe that putting in a dog park puts dogs ahead of the safety and sports education of children. Thats a real spin. As far as woodstock goes, yes they do have a dog park. your comments on no skateboard park are strange considering they have had a skate park for a long time, years. out of touch, and a definite agenda, no surprise there. your underlying disapproval of something for residents instead of a commmercial venture shines through brightly. why does the town need to give away land, let someone build, pay no taxes, and profit off it. just a flat out freebie, in a time when taxes count and budgets are tight. sorry, enough funding of people who don’t care enough about the community and don’t feel any responsibility to pay their fair share.

  3. David Radovanovic

    Why would Town officials gamble on publicly owned land with an private investor who prefers to go nameless? Isn’t Saugerties taxpayers tired of funding private business ventures? We’re the ones [middle-class] who need the tax breaks!

  4. erik

    A dog park would be a good idea for Saugerties. As I have spent time at the dog parks in NYC and have seen the benefit to both animal and owner, I cannot say enough that it is a win-win for everyone. The dogs have a chance to run and play with other dogs, get their exercise. The owners have the opportunity to meet and get to know others with a similar interest and that helps to build a stronger community. The same could be said for community events all the way down to yard sales. A dog park requires little maintenance, dog owners picking up after their own. A good idea for any town.

  5. Shelley Davis

    Regarding a dog park. I am an original founding member of dog runs in NYC parks (we call them dog runs down there) and the benefits are astounding. There is less crime, fewer dog bites, less dog aggression, wonderful social and business opportunities by networking with people meeting in a public setting with a common interest. I can’t tell you how many marriages and babies started at the dog parks! Not only does Woodstock have a dog park, Gardiner is opening one next month, Kingston is trying to get one, New Paltz and other towns are way ahead of us in this area. We have the land. Why not pass an amendment and set up a committee to review and raise funds for a dog park. With all the dog lovers in Saugerties, it would be an incredible addition. And for those sceptics – it actually makes for a better community and when you go to sell your homes, you will get more money for them with the addition of a dog park in the community. Kelly Myers will get more votes too!

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