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Hospital Parking At Old Nyack High School

12/11/2019 Update: The Nyack School Board voted 5-1 on Tuesday night to approve a two year lease of the baseball field on Midland Ave as a temporary parking lot while Nyack Hospital completes work on a new parking garage across the street.


Nyack Hospital has asked Nyack Schools for a two year lease to build a temporary parking lot at the southwest corner of MacCalman Field, the former Nyack High School still owned by the school district. The parcel is currently being used part of the year as a little league baseball field. Nyack Hospital wants to put a parking lot which will hold up to 100 cars for visitors and patients while they build a permanent parking garage across the street on hospital property.

Baseball Diamond At MacCalmanField

The baseball field at MacCalman field is at the corner of Midland and Haven Court, across the street from Nyack Hospital.

The lease agreement will run a minimum of 18 months and can be extended to two years if the hospital runs behind schedule building a new parking garage.  Nyack Schools will receive between $215,000 and $260,000 depending upon when the lease is terminated by Nyack Hospital. There’s a hard stop at 24 months to this arrangment, as stipulated in the contract: “Under no circumstances shall the initial term and any extended term of the License total more than two (2) years after the date the Hospital commenced use of the Licensed Area.”

To read a Q & A which covers frequently Asked Questions about the arrangement, visit NyackSchools.org. To read the contract and leasing agreement between Nyack Schools and Nyack Hospital, click here.

The Citizens to Save MacCalman Ballfield argue against leasing the ballfield to Nyack Hospital because it is used by the Nyack Valley Cottage Little League. Nyack resident Joe Rand thinks leasing the property can be a win-win-win for the neighborhood (which has frequently complained that hospital employees and visitors monopolize all of the on street parking); the hospital (which will be able to offer parking to patients and visitors during construction) and the school district (which may net as much as $260,000).

It’s a ballfield today. What will it be tomorrow?

by Citizens to Save MacCalman Ballfield,  Amy Anthony, LiseLotte Fleming, Tina Guarasci, Charlotte Jack, Andrea Jordan, and Nina Petricone

Little league ball games. Softball practices. Food Truck Festivals. Community green space. Do any of the above things sound like a parking lot?

Montefiore-Nyack Hospital wants to lease an active ballfield, owned by the Nyack School District, and convert it into a parking lot. The Board of Education will consider Montefiore’s parking lot contract at its Tuesday, Dec. 10 meeting, 7:30 p.m., at Upper Nyack Elementary, 366 N. Broadway. We must attend and tell the Nyack BOE to vote NO!

The MacCalman ballfield is a jewel of our village, located at the corner of North Midland Avenue and Haven Court, on the same property as the old Nyack High School.

It is used by Nyack Valley Cottage Little League for team games and practices. It is used by Nyack Middle School softball and lacrosse teams and primary grade soccer, lacrosse and football teams. It is used as a community gathering place for events like the annual MusicWorks’ and Nyack Red & Black Club Food Truck Festival. It is a community recreational and meeting place for neighborhood families. It is a draw for families moving to Nyack, buying homes and investing in our community.

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What it is not: A good place to park up to 100 cars.

MacCalman ballfield is some of the only open green space we have in the village, aside from Memorial Park. It is so important to the Nyack village government that it designated it a “permanent recreational easement” in its 2016 update to the Nyack Master Plan.

Montefiore-Nyack Hospital CEO Dr. Mark Geller has said on several occasions that using our ballfield as a parking lot is the ONLY option. Yet he has never revealed what other options were considered.

To believe this is the only option is outrageous. Hospitals in other communities shuttle their employees from remote lots. Has Montefiore considered leasing space from the vacated Nyack College? What about the expansive parking lots at the Palisades Center Mall? How about the former Nyack College seminary on 9W in Upper Nyack? Even the former bank near Walgreens has 30 unused parking spots and is within walking distance of the hospital. One citizen reached out to the Oak Hill cemetery to inquire about an option for the hospital. What has Montefiore done except look at our ballfield and see an easy land grab?

Montefiore presented the idea for the parking lot at the BOE’s January 2019 meeting. Montefiore representatives told the BOE the lease would be temporary, up to two years. The ball field would be used as a parking lot while Montefiore constructs a parking garage its property along Sickles Avenue.

At the end of the lease term, Montefiore would remove the parking lot and build a “state-of-the-art ballfield.” READ MORE.

This is a HUGE win for the community

by Joe Rand

The proposal to temporarily lease one of the Nyack Valley Cottage Little League baseball fields to Nyack Hospital seems like a remarkably good deal for the school board and the community. Here’s why:

  1. It’s a “license,” not a “lease.” A license is a MUCH lesser form on occupancy that affords a much weaker array of rights to the licensee (like an inability to holdover at the end of the term). And it’s strictly limited to 2 years on the outside, with increased financial payments when it goes beyond 18 months.
  2. It requires some serious financial payments to the board: $125,000 as a lump sum (paid over 2 installments) plus $60,000-$90,000 per year paid monthly. That’s a lot of money.
  3. It is strictly limited to two years. The license ends at that point, no right to extend. The school board could literally go on the site in two years and start towing cars if they needed to.
  4. The hospital then has the obligation to rebuild the field, restoring it to its original condition (but as a grass field rather than a baseball field). Indeed, the hospital has to put up a $250,000 bond to ensure the work gets done — that is, even if they flake, the school board can then seize the bond and do the work themselves.
  5. We need to recognize that a hospital provides a public good, and try to accommodate Montefiore Nyack if possible. They need more parking, which means they need to build a new structure. But they’re going to lose significant parking capacity during the construction, and providing them with the short term lease of the field seems like a reasonable way to realize the longer-term goal of increasing their parking (and getting hospital parking off the nearby streets). I know that opponents think that patients and visitors should just shuttle from offsite locations, but it just  doesn’t seem workable to force already-stressed sick people and their families to park almost a mile away in Upper Nyack to get to the hospital.

This is a HUGE win for the community.

I understand people have been skeptical, afraid that they might get sold out. I am completely sympathetic to those concerns, and would not support this proposal if it meant a permanent elimination of a park I have personally used dozens of times.

Because this is actually a good deal, I am calling on the Nyack Village Board to speak up now in support of this smart proposal. We elect them to show political leadership, and calm the fears of the community when people get worried about changes that can get misrepresented and misunderstood. I want to know where my friends Mayor Don Hammond and trustees Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, Marie Lorenzini, Louise Parker, and Donna Lightfoot Cooper stand on this, and I will be disappointed if they oppose something that’s in the best interests of the hospital, the school district, and the community. I’m looking forward to hearing what they have to say.

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I agree that the agreement should be more specific about the park that will be built in two years, to ensure that it is far better than what we currently have. And I think that community pressure should be wielded not to oppose the project but rather to advocate for a better park to help compensate those neighbors who are going to be inconvenienced during the two year parking lot period.

The meeting is Tuesday night at 7:30pm at Nyack Elementary. We should all show up at the meeting to support it.

 

Nyack Schools Q&A on Leasing the MacCalman baseball field

Nyack Schools has created a Q & A on their website to answer questions about this deal. Here are a few of those questions and their answers.

Q: Why does the hospital need to use this field for parking?

A: Representatives from Montefiore Nyack Hospital attended the public portion of the January 15, 2019 Board of Education meeting to request use of the field on the grounds of the Old High School for use as a temporary parking lot. Hospital representatives explained that parking in the vicinity of the facility has been a longstanding problem for residents, visitors and employees. In an effort to improve the street parking situation the Hospital would like to construct a state-of-the-art and environmentally viable new parking garage. The garage would be located solely on the Hospital campus and is planned to accommodate Hospital visitors, employees and others. During the time of the 12-18 month construction period, the Hospital requested use of the nearby field to set up a temporary parking lot for patient and visitor parking.

Q: What portion of the field is under consideration for use by the hospital?

A: The area proposed as a temporary parking lot is the smaller field on the grounds of the Old High School located at 131 North Midland Avenue. The area has a small softball field.

Q: What is the timeframe for use of the field for parking, should the Board of Education enter an agreement?

A: The term of the agreement under discussion would be for a period of not less than one (1) year and up to eighteen (18) months. While not anticipated, there would be a significant fee increase during any extended term of the agreement not to exceed six (6) months. Under no circumstance would the term of the agreement be extended beyond this timeframe.

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Q: I understand that Little League teams and other recreational activities take place in this area. What will happen if they are displaced during the period of construction?

A: A committee comprised of Board of Education members met with representatives of the Nyack/Valley Cottage Little League to discuss this issue. The Board of Education is permitting the Little League to make use of a newly installed ballfield behind Valley Cottage Elementary School. The walking track and MacCallman Field are not being impacted and would remain accessible.

Q: Will the field be restored back to a grass field?
A: At the end of the term of the agreement, the hospital would return area to the District in substantially the same condition it was prior to the agreement.

It’s a ballfield today. What will it be tomorrow? — cont’d

Sample plans of the parking lot were shown, with a valet booth, gates, fence, tree plantings, and nothing that seemed “temporary” although that word was used a lot. The presentation also included sample plans for a new ballfield. The proposed lease the BOE will consider on Dec. 10 says the ballfield would be restored to a field, not a ballfield. So we would lose the ballfield FOREVER!




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No one talked about a state-of-the-art ballfield since that January meeting. Instead, residents became aware in September of a newly constructed ballfield at Valley Cottage Elementary. That’s also when Nyack Valley Cottage Little League learned about the field, and was asked to no longer play on MacCalman field. No wonder no one from the Little League feels they can speak up about this parking lot idea. Not only were they provided a field to remedy a situation that didn’t yet exist, they rely on the district to use district-owned fields.

We asked BOE president Michael Mark who paid for the Valley Cottage Elementary ballfield, if it was us, the taxpayers, and the question went unanswered.

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Superintendent Dr. James Montesano also told teachers and staff at his Superintendent’s Day before school started in September that the new Valley Cottage Elementary ballfield was constructed to replace MacCalman, which will become a parking lot for Montefiore-Nyack Hospital. Several staff say this was presented as a “done deal.”

It’s important to note that no details about the proposal had been shared in an open setting since the January 2019 meeting until this week. Something that affects a large neighborhood and community had ZERO public input. The lack of transparency is astounding to residents who have been stymied when asking questions this year.

Lawn sign distributed by the Citizens to Save MacCalman Ballfield.

Citizens have been told “don’t worry about it” by BOE members and also “what’s the big deal?” and “what a sweet deal” from people who don’t live near the field (the agreement would give the district potentially several hundred thousand dollars). The BOE has not said what it will do with that money or what it will do when the income goes away in two years.

The details were made available publicly on Dec. 5, 2019, in the license agreement that will be heard on Tuesday. That’s almost a year from when Montefiore came to the BOE with the parking lot proposal. No public input was gathered during the process that is now a 34-page legal document between Montefiore-Nyack Hospital and the BOE.

The BOE has also not told us why we they are acting as agents for a corporation. What else is for “sale”? Maybe something you’ll care about even more?

Transparency IS a big deal. Taxpayer and community input is a big deal.

None of that happened.

It’s a ball field today. What will it be tomorrow?

Lack of transparency extends to the Montefiore as well, and to Dr. Geller who has on numerous occasions said the hospital wants to be “a good neighbor.” Dr. Geller promised residents he would have a community forum to discuss the ballfield plan. To date, no forum has ever been scheduled. Dr. Geller promised this forum in person, in media interviews, in emails as recently as October, and in a letter sent to some residents in September.

Montefiore is a multi-million dollar corporation that does not pay taxes due to its non-profit status. Even if the district contract is “iron clad” and stipulates hefty fines for going over a lease term of two years, Montefiore may consider it just the cost of doing business to pay the fine and continue to use the ballfield as a parking lot. Leadership changes, too. In two years, we may have newly elected BOE members and maybe even a new superintendent. Lawyers are deft at revising contracts!

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It is important to note that Montefiore has not submitted a single plan to the Village of Nyack for the parking garage. The construction timeline is unclear. Concerns regarding traffic safety with another active driveway on North Midland and environmental impact of converting a ballfield to a parking lot haven’t even been explored.

Montefiore doubled-down this week, and instead of having a forum with residents to discuss the plan or concerns, its Public Relations department emailed hospital employees who are also residents of Nyack School District. The memo asks them to attend the BOE meeting, anticipating community opposition, and speak in support of the parking lot. This is an incredible ask and also not neighborly: pitting neighbor against neighbor.

One of the key points of the memo that asks hospital staff to argue for the parking lot is that it will benefit the “fragile patient population.” But this is a nonsensical argument. If you’ve ever taken a family member or friend to the hospital for treatment, you likely drop them at the door and then go find parking.

Nyack must not allow this to happen!

To look at a ballfield and consider it for a parking lot is crass and not at all neighborly.

A parking lot does not serve the students of the district or our community. It serves ONLY Montefiore.

Montefiore can find another way. No duration of time to use our ballfield for a parking lot is acceptable to our district families and our students.




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