After reading an article in Newsday about a three-year effort to restore iron and stone gates leading to a historic estate in Muttontown for $63,000, Kingsbury Road resident and former Garden City Historical Society president Brian Pinnola was amazed his own village board won't approve an $11,300 to fix the damage caused by Hurricane Irene to the St. Paul's roof and clock tower.
"Sixty-three thousand dollars was paid for this restoration in the forward-thinking, preservation-minded, responsible community of Muttontown," Pinnola said.
Driving north on Route 106/107, one can see the gates on the west side of the road, at the corner of Muttontown Road and Route 106. The gates mark the entrance to what used to be the Knollwood Estate, a turn-of-the-century Gold Coast estate now known as Nassau County's 550-acre Muttontown Preserve.
Pinnola added, "The sole reason the village did this was because it's an aesthetic eyesore."
Quoting Muttontown mayor Julianne W. Beckerman, Pinnola said, "The center of the village should never have been an eyesore … We didn't do it for the short-term, we did it so the village will be left with something for years to come."
"Imagine that, they spent $63,000 to repair these estate gates," Pinnola told trustees. "Meanwhile, here in Garden City we have an irreplaceable edifice known as St. Paul's. It's irreplaceable due to the construction costs, materials and the construction techniques that were used. It's a village asset that could be put to a good use such as the one proposed and is still waiting for an answer from the village by the Committee to Save St. Paul's and the Garden City Historical Society.
"Strangely enough the village illuminates the architecturally distinguished façade of St. Paul's so passerbys can see this and admire it," Pinnola said. "However we have this huge blemish on the building - the damage to the clock tower and roof from Hurricane Irene. When are we going to repair the damage caused over five months ago to the roof and clock tower of St. Paul's?"
According to mayor Don Brudie, an outspoken proponent of preserving the builidng, the item will appear on the Feb. 2 village board agenda. This would mark the fourth time trustees would vote on the issue. The item was first voted down at the Nov. 3 meeting when it was an addendum from deputy mayor John Watras to a motion trustee Dennis Donnelly made and again as its own motion at the Nov. 17 meeting.
The same scenario played out at the Dec. 1 meeting too when the village board once again voted against the expenditure. Trustee Andrew Cavanaugh moved the item; mayor Brudie, deputy mayor Watras and Cavanaugh voted in favor of the repairs while trustees Brian Daughney, Donnelly, Laurence Quinn, John DeMaro and Nick Episcopia voted against.
The Feb. 2 village board meeting will take place in the Garden City Village Hall board room at 8 p.m. All residents are encouraged to attend.