We’re encouraged and curious to hear that a possible sale for the West Hurley school, vacant since 2004, may be in the offing. As the front page story this week tells, a resolution to go forward with the deal was pulled at the last moment because contractual details were not finalized.
And it is understandable, in today’s world, that no information from the School Board was forthcoming as to what the potential use of the property, which contains two school buildings, may be. Understandable, in that no one wants to put the kibosh on the deal by revealing too much.
But in some respects, perhaps such information should be shared with the community beforehand. Witness, for instance, that the sale of the Zena Elementary School by the Kingston Consolidated School District was done with great transparency and its buyer, who hopes to use it as a music school, was greeted by the public with enthusiasm. On the other hand, witness a plan that was moving forward without much notice until the public got wind of the Town of Ulster’s desire to sell Cooper Lake water, owned by the City of Kingston and contractually allowed to Ulster, to Niagara Bottling. That plan was squashed by distinct public disapproval. The Woodstock Library thought it had communicated its plan for an annex at the site of the old laundromat on Library Lane, but when widespread awareness of the plan became apparent, it was met with disapproval.
Kingston did well in disposing of its Sophie Finn Elementary, across from the old Benedictine Hospital, as it became a SUNY Ulster site. So, despite the pessimism that came with the Bush economic calamity and its recession, we see, in better times, that it is possible to find good use for such structures.
West Hurley, where the old school sits, is a tightly knit residential community. We do trust and hope that Onteora’s board has considered the buyer and the use to be proper for the site. Still, we wonder if the residents in that neighborhood, and in the greater community, shouldn’t have somehow been consulted.