Residents Defeat St. Paul's Bond Referendum

Overwhelmingly vote no to issuing bonds to demolish Main Building and Ellis Hall.

More than 4,400 residents answered the single question Wednesday - whether or not they wanted the village to float serial bonds in the amount of $3.75 million to fund the demolition of the Main Building and Ellis Hall.

According to Brian Ridgway, 3,290 residents (194 paper ballots) voted no while 1,120 (53 paper ballots) voted yes.

With the bond defeated, demolition is "unlikely" since the village "will not have funds available to proceed with the removal of the structures," according to the latest edition of Village Facts.

"Thanks to the residents for saving St. Paul's," Mayor Don Brudie said late Wednesday.

Lines formed early outside of the Field House as the polls opened at noon, with dozens of people showing up as soon as the doors opened.

Peter Negri, president of the Committee to Save St. Paul's (CSSP), told Patch that the numbers speak for themselves. “It's a clear indication of how the residents feel about this building," he said. "I'm just thrilled that people finally had a chance to voice their opinion."

Negri, who was celebrating at Walk Street with the many folks who have been campaigning for preservation, added, "The real work starts now. Our goal is to have the village consider, seriously, our proposal. This is a mandate to do something. We can't just sit back."

Trustee Andrew Cavanaugh, another proponent of preservation, added, "Those of us who are commited to the preservation of this historic, iconic structure are gratified by the strong show of support of our neighbors and friends. The task of preservation, though, has only begun. Now this board of trustees needs to work proactively with the Committee to Save St. Paul's and others to prepare a viable operational and financial plan that will permit the village to enjoy the maximum benefit it can from this irreplaceable resource."

Francine and Mark Ryan, founders of the Eastern Property Owners for Saving St. Paul's, explained that the bond was defeated because they were able to do two very important things. The first was that they gave village residents reasons to care about saving St. Paul’s by getting everyone involved – from high school students to senior citizens. The second was that they utilized communication tools to “get the facts out.”

“Garden City residents, it turns out, had a deep wellspring of affection and emotional attachment to St. Paul's,” Francine said. “We just needed to remind them how important it is to the village and their future.”

Frank Scarangella April 28, 2011 at 03:49 AM
borrowing money to distroy a LANDMARK" only in nassau county" IDIOTS.......this is the highest taxed county in the world because of things like this.. restore this beautiful peice of history and find a use for it. they distroyed a beautiful land mark the sanford white disigned garden city hotel and built those ugly hotel and condos in their place.
Mr. Robert Orosz April 28, 2011 at 12:51 PM
Democracy has spoken but at what future cost to the overtaxed paying public. It has just been reported recently that Nassau County IS NOW the highest taxed county in the nation averaging about 72+ percent above the national average. Over the past 18 years the village has spent millions of taxpayers' dollars on studies pertaining to the possible use and the maintenance of the St. Paul's building. NOW WHAT???? WELCOME TO THE MONEY PIT.
Michael Horn April 28, 2011 at 12:55 PM
I am relieved to know that so many people share a desire to preserve a building that is both beautiful and representative of our history. We now need to make efforts to use the builing for some productive purpose rather than letting wind, rain and time destroy what we all think worth preserving. While I stood on that very long line last night, waiting to vote, the people around me were speaking about what their homes were worth 40 years ago and everyone agreed it was such a small and insignificant amount. If we spend to make St. Paul's usable now, I am sure in another 40 years it will seem an equally small sum to ensure we continue to maintain such a treasure.
Mark Krawiec April 28, 2011 at 12:57 PM
Congratulations to all Garden City Residents who voted to save St. Paul's. Anyone who has ever watched PBS's documentary on the short-sighted destruction of NYC's Penn Station knows architectural masterpieces once lost are lost forever. St.Paul's is Garden City's Parthenon, our Eiffel Tower, our Taj Mahal. We must preserve our cultural heritage. We are skilled enough to renovate and smart enough to create sound economic viability for this irreplaceable building. I applaud my fellow neighbors for thier patience and long term aspirations for St. Paul's especially at this point in history when the dark cloud of austerity hangs over the economy. Deeply Grateful, Mark Krawiec, Wellington Road.
Joe Mohen April 28, 2011 at 01:48 PM
The Old Penn Station is linked in Garden City to our Old Garden City Hotel, in that they were both designed by the same architect, Sanford White. We could have purchased the Old Garden City Hotel for less than $2MM and we declined to do so, and robbed future generations of their heritage. It is clear that a super majority of residents favor preservation of the main St. Paul's Building. I went to St. Paul's and I know that place. It does not have to be a money pit.
Bradley Cherney April 28, 2011 at 02:04 PM
Fantastic! I as a member of the last all boys graduating class of 1989 and some of my best memories were of my days walking the halls of Sancti Pauli! I would love and dream that one day they re-open the school again! Bradley Cherney
frank kiernan April 28, 2011 at 03:11 PM
Now we know why the sales of KoolAid are going up so fast. Garden City is the new Brigadoon! Frank Kiernan
Robert Alvey April 28, 2011 at 03:43 PM
I simply am not willing to spend nearly $4,000,000 of our much needed dollars to demolish the building. Now, or ever. Mark Twain and Teddy Roosevelt were alive when the building was constructed. It has a lot of history for Garden City. Let a non-profit group now get the official go-ahead to really start raising money rather than blocking them! Book May 21 and I'll come for a visit! Regards, "Mark Twain"
bill shillalies April 28, 2011 at 04:26 PM
This is agreat day for St,Pauls and for all those who have walked the halls! Garden city people did the right thing! THANK YOU!
Frank Scarangella April 28, 2011 at 04:35 PM
George Cleaver April 28, 2011 at 04:42 PM
No longer can it be said that WE are a "VOCAL MINORITY". This is fantastic news and thank goodness the vote was overwhelming. Now lets put our efforts immediately to a purposefull use of this landamark building.
Jack O'Niel April 28, 2011 at 05:12 PM
That's all well and good George but make sure you're donating your money to the cause and not mine. The best thing that could have happened was the Avalon deal and you guys screwed it up because of the evil over-55 renters that would have ruined your town (because I didn't live here then I say "your town".) Now we have an old building that nothing will likely every be done with. This is just like the Lace Mill in Patchogue and it will eventually fall down due to neglect, fire or weather conditions. When that finally happens something will be done. Until then this issue will fade away.
Jack O'Niel April 28, 2011 at 05:14 PM
Dennis Mega April 28, 2011 at 05:41 PM
Ok. So now what will be done with St. Paul's. For 15+ years no one could come up with a plan to effectively utilize the structure to which all could agree. Will we now continue to watch St. Paul's deteriorate and, then, eventually crumble into dust? The village is back to "square one" with no viable plan for it's future. We'll probably continue debating this issue forever with no resolution. Great.
GCTransplant April 28, 2011 at 08:52 PM
There were many viable plans for St. Paul's over the years, but our town's NIMBY culture dominated to destroy many of them. I voted "no" last night because history actually means something to me. We should be proud to live in a village with architectural gems rather than the innumerable towns throughout LI littered with strip malls. The key word for the future is COMPROMISE. It is time politicians and leaders in this village swallow their pride and work together to find a viable solution so we can utilize St. Paul's. It's not rocket science.
George Cleaver April 29, 2011 at 01:34 AM
I couldn't have said it better GC Transplant, we need more compromise and a more folks with a positive attitude than the people that can only be negative.
Dianne Fleming April 29, 2011 at 07:44 PM
BRAVO and BRAVA to all those involved in saving one of the last grand historical buildings in Garden City, for it's beauty, irreplaceable historical value and future use by GC residents. From the Committee to Save St. Paul's and the GC Historical Society to the rest of those who helped because they treasure what makes their village unique , your energy and dedication is profound. Obviously GC was behind you, and now looks forward to enjoying it's usefullness and refurbished beauty. Having lived by the St.Paul's facade for 55 years, I thank you. Dianne Fleming
Peter J. Tomao May 01, 2011 at 01:11 PM
It's easy to vote no but very hard to build a concensus to actually do something. I am a preservationist but I am also a realist. For 15+ years the village has looked for a concensus without success. The vote means only that we continue to own a beautiful white elephant without any viable use. While virtually every resident would like to save the building, it is unlikely that a bond issue or tax increase to pay for preservation would pass a referendum. While the saga continues, at least our children have beautiful fields for healthy sports.
michael huntington May 02, 2011 at 08:59 PM
Thank you to all of the residents of Garden City for saving St. Paul's. As Mr. Shillalies said, you did the right thing. My Grandfather (Poly Prep) played football on those fields before going off to WWII. My father was a student at St. Paul's during the 1960's. I attended the school from 1987 until the greedy Cathedral closed and sold it to pay off their debts - 2 years before graduation - forever robbing me of a high school diploma bearing the name of the school that we loved for 3 generations. This school has a rich history. The criminals at the Cathedral closed it. Now you have saved it. I pray the day will come when the school will re-open. I also pray that those who closed and sold St. Paul's will someday be held accountable for their actions. Thank you again.
Robert Reid May 05, 2011 at 03:01 PM
To all the people that want to tear down St. Pauls and put up a parking lot, there are plenty of towns on Long Island that don't have Historic Landmarks, and you can tell by looking at them. I suggest you move there.
Frank Scarangella May 05, 2011 at 03:32 PM
Robert Reid May 05, 2011 at 04:22 PM
Frank - "Vacume" is spelled "Vacuum". Now who is the BOOB??
Frank Scarangella May 05, 2011 at 04:42 PM
Frank Scarangella May 05, 2011 at 04:43 PM
Robert Reid May 05, 2011 at 05:00 PM
Frank - "Intellagent" is spelled "Intelligent", I'll call the moving company.


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