John Barese, alleging numerous delays and lack of communication on his proposal to develop a $15 million indoor sports complex on town land at Cantine Field, demanded that the Town Board either resolve to act on the plan or reject his proposal, leaving him free to pursue other avenues.
“What I am going to propose to the board is very simple,” Barese said. “We’ve wasted two and a half years, money, and time; I would like for the town [at the] next board meeting to make a decision, a very simple yes or no. Yes, we’re going to help you…or no, Mr. Barese, we don’t want you to do it.”
Supervisor Kelly Myers said the board would be discussing the project in an upcoming executive session but gave no indication the town was leaning for or against.
“Mr. Barese is requesting a non-permitted use on town land, he’s requested to operate a business on land that belongs to the town,” Myers said. “State funds, as well as federal funds, have been used to purchase the land, so it’s not so simple to just say, ‘I want to run a business here.’ That’s not an easy thing to do.”
The proposal is unusual for Saugerties. It involves a land swap; Barese wants the town to lease him 7.5 acres of land tax-free for $1 per year for 99 years in exchange for a donation of a piece of land of equal size nearby. He says the sports arena needs to be on town land because it’s much closer to the school, and high school and junior high students would be using the facility all the time — that’s the main reason he believes there’s a public interest here. He added that the sports arena would pay the town at least $60,000 a year through parking fees for special events, so it would not lose out on revenue despite the lack of taxes.