Approximately three plus years ago, I was approached by George Heidcamp regarding a concern that he had pertaining to the fact that there was only one entrance to the Riccardi School in Glasco. If an individual or individuals wanted to do something such as what transpired at Sandy Hook or most recently the shootings in a Florida school, they could potentially block off the main road leading to the school, leaving it inaccessible to emergency services, i.e.; police and fire departments, ambulances, etc.
When Mr. Heidcamp originally spoke with me about his concern, my response was that Timbest, the corporation of which I am president, would be more than happy to once again assist in ensuring the safety of our children.
Please note that several years ago, the partners of Timbest and I had given the Town of Saugerties permission to hook into the main water line that we had installed in Bishops Gate, and run it through the piece of property that we are currently willing to donate, because we had been told that there was not enough water pressure at the Riccardi School and that there was a concern about the ability to fight any potential fire that may occur. I approached my partners, and without hesitation we all agreed that for the safety of the Riccardi School children and also the homeowners on the back street, we would give them the okay to hook into our line and run it across our property at no cost to the town or school district.
To this day, I would venture to say that most residents are not even aware that Timbest did this for the safety of our students and residents and the fact that we did it for zero dollars and no political motivation in mind.
Let’s fast-forward to the current issue at hand. George Heidcamp had approached me regarding his concern for an additional access route to the Riccardi School. He asked if I would be willing to meet with members of the school district facilities committee, members of the administration staff and [superintendent] Seth Turner.
George, Tom Ham, Raymond Mayone and I met to discuss options. While I’m unsure whether Seth Turner and his financial assistant, Lisa, attended this initial meeting, Ray Mayone and I met with Seth and various school board members and individuals from Seth’s financial team on several other occasions. Each time I made it very clear that Timbest did not want any monetary compensation for the land; it was being donated strictly for the safety of our children. The only stipulations that Timbest required from the school district are as follows:
Timbest would convey the land over to the Saugerties school district with the restriction that it be used for emergency purposes only, and not as a thoroughfare for vehicular traffic.
The entrance way would be gated, with keys being provided to the Glasco Fire Department, the Town Police, Diaz Ambulance, the school district and any other emergency services that were deemed necessary.
The children of Bishops Gate residents would continue to have bus service to the Riccardi School.
The conveyance would also be subject to homeowners on each side of the property to be donated agreeing to our plan. As a note, I personally met with each homeowner. They have preliminarily given their approval, as long as (1) there would not be any drainage issues onto their respective property due to the road being put in, and (2) that screening (some type of trees or shrubs) be provided along their property lines abutting the proposed road.
My question to each Saugerties school board member is why has this not been acted on, when in fact it involves the safety of our children?
I had been asked by George Heidcamp not to go public with our concerns that the school board was dragging their feet on this issue. He did not want to give anyone any ideas as to what they could possibly do at the Riccardi School. He was right. There are a lot of unstable individuals in this world. Why provide information that will give them food for thought?
George feels that we have been waiting long enough. With the lack of any action by the current school board, and especially in view of those recent national events, we need to shine some public light on this issue as an impetus to get things moving. I concur. People have a right to know why the board president has failed to act for so long on this serious issue, and it’s our responsibility to point it out.
Mr. Heidcamp has informed me that when he was still on the school board, the current school board president, Bob Thomann, said to him, “You and Jimmy Bruno are friends, right”. George responded, “Yes, we are.”
Mr. Thomann’s response was something like “Isn’t this political?”
I can assure Mr. Thomann and each school board member that there is absolutely no recognition being sought or any political agenda being pushed but that this donation of land from Timbest to the Saugerties school district is being done solely for the purpose of the safety of our children.
Aresolution passed on 6/14/16 by the school Bboard requesting a recommendation from their attorney as to how to proceed with the proposed donation of land from Timbest.
In closing I am formally requesting the following:
What was the recommendation of the attorney?
If there was a recommendation, why has it never been acted on?
An explanation from the School Board president as to why he has not made any attempt to date, to contact me and let me know of any questions or concerns that he, the School Board’s attorney or other School Board members may have.
A resolution had been passed by the School Board authorizing up to $10,000.00 being spent for attorney fees to make sure that the donation of land along with everything involved was legal. So, since the $10K is taxpayers’ dollars, I am requesting a copy of any recommendation that the School Board’s attorney made to the Board regarding this issue.
Thank you very much for your time, consideration and anticipated cooperation in the above matter. I would be more than happy to discuss this in more detail or provide any information that you may reasonably need. Please free to call me at 399-8577 or e-mail me at email@example.com.
James J. Bruno